For many people, the majority of sunny summer days are (unfortunately) spent stuck inside an office. If this sounds familiar, then you probably appreciate any chance you can get to soak up some evening rays while enjoying happy hour on one of the Mile High’s many rooftop bars.
The problem? You’re not alone. And after a long day at work, battling crowds in a noisy bar is likely the last thing you want to add to your to-do list. We feel your pain.
The solution? We scoured the city and found four rooftop bars where you can score happy hour deals on drinks and tasty eats in a relaxing, crowd-free atmosphere that’s sure to cure your work-induced blues.
Mercado at Dorchester Social Eatery
Where: 1448 Market St., Denver
When: 3 – 6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
The Low Down: You’ve probably walked by, or even been into Dorchester Social Eatery to enjoy late night cocktails in its large lounge area. But did you know that this restaurant, which opened last summer, is also home to an expansive rooftop patio (aka Mercado) where you can take in the views of downtown from your own personal cabana? It really doesn’t get much better than that.
And as an added bonus, Mercado’s menu was recently revamped to better fit the rooftop dining experience. Food from Chef Michael Nevarez (sous chef at Bones and co-owner of MiJo, opening later this summer in Avanti F&B) and drinks created with consultant James Lee from Bitter Bar are now available for your summertime enjoyment. During happy hour, score deals like any margarita or house wine for $5, $3 beers and the $5 taco & beer combo. Want more than one taco? Mercado’s globally inspired spins on this favorite are available à la carte. Get any of the tacos with protein like the butter chicken, cod, or churrasco beef for $0.50 off or take $1 off the two meat-free options: mushroom and fried avocado.
Where: 1575 Boulder St., Denver
Neighborhood: Lower Highlands
When: 3-6 p.m. daily and all night on Mondays
The Low Down: Vita opened in 2006, long before the Highlands became one of the hottest neighborhoods in Denver. Now, surrounded by restaurants that are teeming with diners by 5 p.m. most days of the week, this restaurant offers a welcome respite from the commotion.
Sip the afternoon away with two-for-one wines by the glass, $5 well cocktails, $3 drafts and $2.50 Budweiser and Bud Light bottled beers. Appetizers are also two-for-one, which means that you can easily make this happy hour into an affordable early dinner with eats like the indulgent baked brie ($14) and the savory duck confit chilaquiles ($12).
The Fainting Goat
Where: 846 Broadway St., Denver
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
When: 3-7 p.m., Monday-Friday; open-6 p.m., Saturday and all day on Sundays
The Low Down: This Irish pub’s rooftop isn’t the biggest in town, but somehow there always seems to be an open table when you walk in. And with limited seating, even when it’s full, the atmosphere is ideal for unwinding. Though pub food often gets a bad rap, The Fainting Goat manages to dole out eats that elevate your expectations.
At happy hour, select food items are just $5 so you can sample away on dishes like French onion dip made from scratch, a better than home-style sloppy joe and the perfect dish for summer, the plate o’ tomatoes with fresh heirlooms, fried green tomatoes and a heap of burrata. Wash it all down with $2.50 Coors Light and Shiner, $3 wells, $3 micro drafts, $4.50 Guinness, and $4 wines for a delicious and pretension-free happy hour.
Where: 2609 W. Main St., Littleton
Neighborhood: Old Town Littleton
When: 3-6:30 p.m., Monday-Friday
The Low Down: Do you live in the suburbs or are you just trying to avoid the chaos of rush hour traffic downtown? Head to Littleton where you’ll find Merle’s and its rooftop with unobstructed views of the mountains. Though it’s right across the street from a certain well-known local chain that also boats a rooftop patio, Merle’s offers a more peaceful, laid back ambiance so you can truly settle in and soak up some sun in peace.
The happy hour food menu includes choices like tuna poke ($6) and Caprese salad ($6), but the can’t miss item is the signature wings ($8.50/dozen). Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, these are available in both traditional mild, medium, hot and fire as well as more creative flavors like ginger teriyaki, Jamaican jerk and chipotle with agave nectar. These wings are among the best in town, and when you combine them with cocktails that range from $3 (for wells) to $5 (for stiffer drinks like the dirty bleu martini), you’ve got a recipe for an ideal happy hour experience.
All photos by Molly Martin.