Atmosphere

The Perfect Denver Bar

Mix one part ambience, two parts booze selection, garnish with some classic tunes, and you've got the quintessential local pub.

March 2009

Bar and Stools
The Thin Man
At a mere 14 feet wide, this cramped spot barely has room for a bar top and stools, but the expansive white-marble slab and high-backed seats give an old-school accompaniment to the bar's modern infused-vodka concoctions. 2015 E. 17th Ave., 303-320-7814

Food
The Cherry Cricket
How does a dive bar slinging burgers survive in chichi Cherry Creek North? The Cricket sells about 500 of its top-shelf pub patties a night to the students and suits who pack the bar looking for sports, beer, and beef. That's how. 2641 E. Second Ave., 303-322-7666

Jukebox
Gabor's On the Hill
Patsy Cline. Check. Joe Strummer. Check. Miles Davis. Check. A masterfully loaded jukebox in a world of preprogrammed bar music? Priceless. 1223 E. 13th Ave., 303-832-3108

Beer and Wine List
Jonesy's Eat Bar
This gastro-pub has a well-edited beer list, pouring nearly two dozen varieties of Colorado's finest brews, such as Oskar Blues' Gordon and Great Divide's Oak-Aged Yeti. And for the wine snobs in your group, the wine list's 16 by-the-glass options crush the standard "house red." 400 E. 20th Ave., 303-863-7473

Bartenders
My Brother's Bar
For more than 100 years, the bartenders at Denver's oldest-running watering hole have struck the perfect balance: serving drinks, taking care of regulars, and making newcomers feel at home with their quick wit. No wonder Beat-generation icon Neal Cassady ran up a tab. 2376 15th St., 303-455-9991

Cocktails
Steuben's
Forget the haphazard mixing of booze at most bars. At Steuben's, cocktails are crafted with a precision that is artful and, yes, intoxicating. Order the Old Fashioned. You'll thank us. 523 E. 17th Ave., 303-830-1001

Recession-Proof Happy Hours

Where: Vinestreet Pub and Brewery 1700 Vine St., 303-388-2337
When: Weeknights, 4-6 p.m.; 10 p.m.-close
You're Drinking: Pint of Illusion Dweller I.P.A.
The Incentive: "Recession Burger" special with fries, but no frills
Wallet Damage: $2.75 pint + $4.50 burger = $7.25

Where: The Corner Office 1401 Curtis St., 303-825-6500
When: All week, 5-7 p.m.; 10 p.m.-close
You're Drinking: PBR
The Incentive: Swanky environment meets cheap food and beer
Wallet Damage: $1 pint + $6 bucket of dogs and tater tots = $7

Where: Mezcal 3230 E. Colfax Ave., 303-322-5219
When: Weeknights, 10 p.m.-close
You're Drinking: Herradura Blanco margarita
The Incentive: Tacos cost a buck
Wallet Damage: $6.50 margarita + $1 taco = $7.50

Where: Marco's Coal-Fired Pizza 2129 Larimer St., 303-296-7000
When: Weeknights, 3-6 p.m.
You're Drinking: Glass of house red wine
The Incentive: Cheap pies that taste good
Wallet Damage: $4 wine + $5 pizza = $9