South Broadway features one of the best drinking strips in the city. With a combination of some of Denver’s most iconic dive bars and a proper selection of new, more upscale restaurants and cocktail lounges, the area draws a mixed crowd. The blend of grungey music venues, chic dining rooms and crowded bars can keep the hungry and thirsty busy from sunup to sundown. During happy hour there is also an extraordinary amount of cheap beer and a vivacious collection of distinct and brilliantly incongruous characters.
When: Monday–Friday; 3–6 p.m.
Where: 151 South Broadway, Denver.
The Lowdown: Sobo 151 is a Czech bar that has been running for nearly two decades. The establishment features warm and experienced bartenders and a vibe that could only have been curated from years of service. The happy hour features free pool, $3.50 Pilsner Urquell and premium pints, $3 wines, wells and Bud Light, $2 Miller High Life, PBR and Rolling Rock. The spot also offers 31.41592% off appetizers (for all the math nerds out there). The Becherovka, a Czech spirit that long-standing bartender Petr Dunaj described as “tasting like Christmas,” is also not to be missed.
When: Everyday 3–6 p.m.; Sunday – Thursday 10 p.m.–close.
Where: 41 South Broadway, Denver.
The Lowdown: In addition to a more standard happy hour featuring $2 PBR, $3 wells, $4 draft beer, and $5 Jim Beam and Hornitos shots, the spot also has a late night pizza and beer special. Sunday through Thursday from 9 p.m. – 12 a.m. you can get a one-topping slice and any draft beer for a mere $5. Fat Sully’s is known for their huge slices, so the deal is particularly good for anyone who gets hungry late.
When: All day, everyday. Monday–Thursday 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Saturday noon–11 p.m., Sunday noon–9:30 p.m.
Where: 1 Broadway B-100, Denver.
The Lowdown: Each and everyday, the already affordable pan-Asian grill offers two-for-one beer, wine and sake from open until close. While there is no additional happy hour, the daily special is as good as anything in the area.
When: Daily; 2 p.m.–7 p.m.
Where: 140 South Broadway, Denver.
The Lowdown: The Skylark Lounge is a true Denver institution. Having opened in 1943, the space is filled with memorabilia from its 75 years in business. During happy hour you can get PBR or Genessee for $2.25, Shiner Bock, Budweiser and Bud Light for $2.75, $3.50 wells, wine and most craft beer, and $4.50 for some of the higher ABV draft selections. Also, its iconic upstairs pool hall is open Thursday to Saturday after 6 p.m.
Beatrice & Woodsley
When: Monday–Friday; 5–6:30 p.m.
Where: 38 South Broadway, Denver
The Lowdown: Beatrice & Woodsley has one of the most creative interiors in the city. The room is bathed in yellow light and filled with Aspens — and the sink situation is beautiful, albeit a bit confusing at first glance. The food is also brilliantly executed, and the cocktails are elegant and refreshing. During happy hour — served only at the counter — $6 will get you one of the specialty cocktails, hand-picked wine or one of their rotating small plates. For the particularly hungry, you can get three bites for $15.
When: Monday–Friday; 3–6 p.m.
Where: 3 South Broadway, Denver.
The Lowdown: Sputnik has become a favorite watering hole for the city’s vegetarians. While the spot certainly has a somewhat divey feel, the food and cocktails are anything but. During happy hour it offers $2 PBR, $3 wells and $5 wine, and an assortment of food specials including $2 fries, $3 sweet potato fries and $5.50 Frito pie. They also have some of the best-mashed potatoes in town.
When: Monday–Friday, 5–6 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 2–6 p.m.; Wednesday–Saturday, 9 p.m.–Close.
Where: 42 South Broadway, Denver.
The Lowdown: The younger brother of downtown’s ChoLon has been making quite the name for itself since opening in the cramped-yet-lively space on Broadway. Its happy hours, both traditional and late-night, offer an excellent chance to try the many creative dishes that explain the spot’s continued popularity. The drink prices are fairly traditional happy hour fare — $4 select drafts and sake bombs, $5 well drinks and house wines, and $8 signature cocktails — but the particular draw is the $2 off all small bites, including their legendary bacon cheeseburger shumai dumpling.
Historians Ale House
When: Monday–Friday, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
Where: 24 Broadway #102, Denver.
The Lowdown: No summer is complete without time spent on the Historians rooftop. Their 40 taps, featuring mostly local selections, also help to make the venue one of the busier and more exciting locations in the area. The all-day happy hour features $2.50 drafts, $3 wells and $4 house wines — an incredible deal for those inclined to start early.
When: Daily, 4–8 p.m.
Where: 7 South Broadway, Denver.
The Lowdown: The Hi-Dive is one of the city’s great music dives. The space has fostered an enormous amount of local talent, as well as playing host to some impressive up-and-coming talent from all over. The bar has the distinct smell that can only come from years of bad decisions and delighted dancing. Their happy hour features $2 PBR, $3 wells, $4 New Belgium and $5 beers from Ratio and True.
When: Monday–Friday, 4–7 p.m.
Where: 8 North Broadway, Denver.
The Lowdown: The recently opened Canopy is a delight to the senses. The interior, featuring a layered mural by local celebrity Jaime Molina (aka Cuttyup), has one of the most distinct aesthetics not only in the area but in the city at large. With a focus on Prohibition era cocktails, sports television and house-infused spirits the space has a wide appeal. During happy hour you can get $4 you-call-its and $6 house cocktails including the lovely and refreshing take on the Aviation.
When: Daily, 3–6 p.m.
Where: 22 South Broadway, Denver
The Lowdown: The menu at Karma is certainly fusion. And while fusion risks being unsuccessful or overzealous, Karma’s food is reasonably adventurous without veering too far from the original charm. Its happy hour features $4 tapas — including the downright addictive pineapple cheese wontons — and $1 sake and two-for-one beer.
When: Daily, 3–6 p.m., 11 p.m.–Close.
Where: 76 Broadway, Denver
The Lowdown: While most of the places this list fall distinctly into either dive or upscale joint, The Hornet falls directly in the middle. The place is classy enough, with the middling fare being both delicious and affordable. The extensive happy hour features a variety of tacos ($3), pierogis ($6), a pupusa ($6) and some small chicken nachos ($6), amongst others. As far as drinks are concerned, $4 will get you drafts, wells and house wines.
Punch Bowl Social
When: Daily, 3–6 p.m.
Where: 65 Broadway, Denver.
The Lowdown: The massive interior at Punch Bowl Social features a full bowling alley, a sizeable bar and plenty of additional games and activities. It also has an impressive happy hour featuring great drink specials and a solid selection of food. You can get classic cocktails for $6, house wine and well drinks for $5, and “old man cans” — including PBR, Budweiser, Coors and Rolling Rock — for $2.50. Food-wise, the sriracha peanut fries ($7) — with hoisin, sriracha, garlic mayo, pickled chilies and crushed peanuts — is not to be missed.
Syntax Physic Opera
When: Daily, 4–7 p.m.
Where: 554 South Broadway, Denver
The Lowdown: Syntax Physic Opera is all about art. The place was designed with artists in mind, hoping to be a place where artists can kick their feet up, relax and practice their craft in the company of other creative individuals. In addition to the spot’s unconventional approach to comfort, the food is damn good, as is the happy hour. For drinks, you can get $4 wells, and $5 tap beers and house wines. The food has a particular draw, with $7 grilled cheese and BLT, $4 Navajo fry bread, $3 baked avocado and a $10 charcuterie board to get the imagination flowing.
When: Daily, 3–8 p.m.; Thursday – Saturday 11 p.m.–1 a.m.
Where: 270 South Broadway, Denver
The Lowdown: Of the many Illegal Pete’s locations the South Broadway version might be the best suited for summer. The bar serves both the inside and the patio — complete with misters and yard games — and the spacious outdoors is a perfect place to complete a bar crawl with some much-needed snacks. The happy hour features $2.50 drafts, $3.50 select domestics, $3 wells and $4 house margs. To celebrate the World Cup, the restaurant will also be extending happy hour to all games.
All photography, including featured image, by Alden Bonecutter unless otherwise noted.