Prohibition may be long over, but speakeasies in Denver are alive and thriving.
Speakeasies came about in the 1920s when the production and sale of alcohol were illegal. Entrepreneurs at the time sold and served alcohol in concealed basements with doors that only open with a secret password.
And because the owners needed to cover up the harsh taste of illegal homemade alcohol with various flavors, often sweet ones. In fact, cocktails such as the Bee’s Knees, the Last Word, and the Mary Pickford were invented during this time.
Over the last few years, Denver has been quickly gaining a reputation for its craft beer and craft cocktails. Luckily, there are quite a number of hidden bars and speakeasies in Denver to sip these unique creations.
Of course, the secrecy and the “hiding from police” elements of traditional speakeasies is now gone, so fans of these places sometimes call them neo-speakeasies.
Here are 12 speakeasies in Denver worth checking out.
The Best Speakeasies in Denver
These secret bars are hidden in basements, alleyways, and in shops selling anything but alcohol. Read on to find out what they’re all about, how to find them, and how to get in.
Given its hidden location (behind The Halcyon Hotel), hush-hush membership requirements and lists, and period-appropriate décor and furniture, B&GC is often considered the most mysterious speakeasy in Denver.
If you do manage to make it inside, the ambiance is very retro; cozy, dark, with a dash of snobbery.
The interior design and even the menu harkens back to the Mad Men era (martini service and caviar, anyone?).
Reservations are strongly recommended because of the limited capacity.
Address: 249 Columbine St, Denver, CO 80206 | Reservations: 720-925-8598 (text only, no calls; no later than 3pm on the day you want to go)
Hours: Wed–Thu 5pm–10pm; Fri–Sat 5pm–11pm; Sun–Tue closed
How To Get In: Make your way down the alleyway between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, look for the door labeled “Stair 3,” ring an antique brass doorbell, and wait.
Classy cocktails behind a swinging bookcase?
And I guess many other people are onboard, because this speakeasy is said to be the most popular in Denver.
Williams & Graham is tucked away in a corner bookstore that looks nondescript to the casual passerby, except that they’re open at odd hours.
Handcrafted cocktails, carefully crafted spirits, hors d’oeuvres, entrees, and dessert are all served. You might want to try their Sazerac with crowd favorite Roasted Bone Marrow and their house brownie for dessert.
Reservations aren’t required but to ensure you have a seat; they only have 60 seats available.
Address: 3160 Tejon St, Denver, CO 80211 | 303-997-8886
Hours: Mon–Sun 5pm–1am
How To Get In: Go inside the bookstore, give your name to the staff to add to the list, and wait. One of the bookcases will swing open and you’ll be seated inside the bar.
Located in Colorado’s River North Art District (RiNo) neighborhood, Millers & Rossi is a speakeasy you can access through the Ohana Room, a tiki bar with tropical drinks and delicious food.
The house signature drink is a Smoked Old Fashioned, but the Watermelon Margarita is also worth trying.
Reservations are a must, especially when there are events.
Address: 3542 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205 | 720-257-5342
Reservations: Tock | Miller & Rossi
Ohana Room Hours: Wed–Thu 6pm–10pm; Fri–Sat 6pm–2am; Sun–Tue closed
Millers & Rossi Hours: Mon–Thu 5pm–1am; Fri 3pm–1am; Sat 1pm–2am; Sun closed
How To Get In: Enter through the Ohana Room, find the camouflaged door in their living wall, give your name to the doorman, and wait to be seated.
Larimer Square is Denver’s most historic block and now home to some of the best shops, restaurants, and nightlife. Green Russell is right in this block and is the perfect place to unwind after a day of shopping and dining out.
It’s recommended to show up early, though; they don’t accept reservations and only seat visitors on a first come, first served basis.
Follow their rules so you and everyone else can have a good time, especially the rule about no cell phones outside of a specialized telephone booth.
Since this is a “chef-driven cocktail joint,” expect both the handcrafted cocktails and the food to be a notch above the rest. Try their takes on an Old Fashioned with their BBQ Charcuterie board.
You can also try one of their thoughtfully curated whiskey flights (the Jet Setter gets you a selection from Taiwan, India, and Japan).
If you end up coming too early, you can try the pulled pork in Russell’s Smokehouse, which you’ll pass on your way to the Green Russell.
Address: 1422 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202 | 303-893-6505
Hours: Sun–Thu 5pm–10pm; Fri–Sat 5pm–12am
How To Get In: Go down a flight of stairs, through the lobby of Russell’s Smokehouse, talk to the hostess, and you’ll be escorted to the Green Russell.
Their astronomy-themed bar is more 1960s instead of 1920s Prohibition, but the secret door at the back of a fully-functional business preserves the speakeasy culture.
You’ll find Retrograde when you enter Frozen Matter, an ice cream shop that offers a selection of both classic and quirky flavors.
But don’t fill up on the ice cream; you’ll want to leave room for the house cocktails at Retrograde. You’ll want to try The Stuff (their take on pineapple rum), The Wicker Man (citrusy gin cocktail with lavender-hibiscus foam), or They Live (brown-butter fat-washed whiskey).
Or you can make it a bartender’s choice: pick a spirit, tell them what flavor you like and dislike, and any allergies or dietary restrictions you have. They’ll whip up a custom cocktail for you.
They only seat 35 people and there’s no standing room, so come early.
Address: 530 E 19th Ave, Denver, CO 80203 | 720-772-7843
Hours: Sun–Wed 5pm–12am; Thu–Sat 5pm–1am
How To Get In: Go inside Frozen Matter, head to the back, find the walk-in freezer door, turn on the light switch, and wait.
Opened the day after Prohibition was lifted, The Cruise Room is the oldest speakeasy in Denver still in operation.
The interior features Art Deco décor preserved since they opened and a jazz soundtrack, making you feel like you stepped into the 1930s.
Order one of their classic martinis with oysters on the half shell, and let the ambiance take you back in time.
Address: 1600 17th St Denver CO 80202 | 303-262-6070
Hours: Sun–Thu 5pm–10pm; Fri–Sat 5pm–11pm; hours may change so call in advance
How To Get In: Head into the lobby of the Oxford Hotel, go into the Urban Farmer, and check in with the host/hostess. The Cruise Room is to your right.
7. Peaks Lounge
Located inside another hotel (the Hyatt Regency), Peaks Lounge is a cut above the rest of the Denver speakeasies on this list, literally: it’s on the 27th floor.
While the location, ambiance, and menu are contemporary, it’s unlikely you’ll ever find this bar unless you already know about it.
Have one of their Colorado cocktails (try The 27th Floor) and one of their small plates while you enjoy views of the Rocky Mountains and the lights of the Mile High City.
Address: 650 15th St, Denver, CO 80202 | 303-436-1234
Hours: Mon–Sun 4pm–11:15pm
How To Get In: Go to the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center and take the elevator up to the 27th floor.
Denver’s busy Union Station is primarily a transportation hub, but there are plenty of restaurants, pubs, and coffee shops to explore.
An unexpected treat is the Cooper Lounge, right up on the mezzanine overlooking The Great Hall.
Okay, so this isn’t really a conventional speakeasy in Denver, but it’s a quiet, hidden bar in the middle of a busy place.
You can have good food and creative cocktails in this modern, chic lounge while having a quiet conversation with friends or simply people watching by yourself.
Get here early and enjoy happy hour. Must-try cocktails include the Cooper Lounge Mai Tai and the Primrose Fizz, best paired with their antipasti board.
Address: 1701 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202 | 720-460-3738
Reservations: Tock | Cooper Lounge
Hours: Mon–Sun 4pm–12am
How To Get In: In Denver’s Union Station, make your way to the main floor of The Great Hall, head to the south side, and look for the Cooper Lounge desk.
Located on the sixth floor of the Thompson Denver hotel, Reynard Social is one of the newest speakeasies in Denver, boasting of a great view of Denver’s Lower Downtown (LoDo) neighborhood and the atmosphere of Aspen or Vail, without the four-hour drive.
It features a fully functional fireplace and a cozy seating plan, giving the ambiance of a modern chalet but in an urban setting.
Must-try cocktails include the Black Diamond and the Après Ski, best paired with the Wild Mushroom Fondue.
Reservations are highly recommended, and you can reserve a table right on their website.
Address: 1616 Market St, Denver, CO 80202
Hours: Sun–Thu 5pm–11pm; Fri–Sat 5pm–12am
How To Get In: Go to the Thompson Denver Hotel and take the elevator up to the 6th floor.
10. Five Nines
Despite self-describing as “This ain’t no speakeasy,” Five Nines is enshrouded in enough mystique to be essentially a modern-day Denver speakeasy.
Tucked away, deep inside Cherry Creek’s Clayton Members Club & Hotel, the ambiance is exclusive without being too pricey.
Cocktails that other customers have previously tried and loved include Road to Jerez and Pornstar Martini.
Address: 233 Clayton Street, Denver, CO | 720-245-6055
Hours: Wed–Thu 5pm–12am; Fri–Sat 5pm–1am; Sun–Tue closed
How To Get In: In front of the Clayton Hotel front entrance, walk past OAK Market, and just before the building ends, find a black door with a circular window and a sign with five golden nines
Another newcomer to the scene, Luci’s Shambles and Provisions is an intimate lounge described as “a dungeon of sin” (their words).
Cocktails (or as they call it, “shambles”) to try here include the Original Sin and the Black Dahlia. Pair them with the succulent beef tartare for a memorable night.
Address: 1553 Platte St Ste 110, Denver, CO 80202 | 720-420-9135
Hours: Wed 6pm–12am; Thu–Sun 6pm–2am; Mon–Tue closed
How To Get In: Come into Modis and take the stairs down to the basement
Run For The Roses offers a truly unique underground lounge experience, complete with classic and seasonal cocktails, as well as sophisticated nibbles, all in a chic yet cozy setting.
This is one of the hardest to find speakeasies in Denver, and some visitors are turned off by how difficult it is, but it’s worth the treasure hunt.
Address: 1801 Blake St Ste 10 Denver, CO 80202 | 720-573-9155
Hours: Thu–Sun 5pm–12am
How To Get In: Enter the Dairy Block through the alley on 18th Street, follow the mystical roses that lead to an elevator. Walk along the hallway until you see a betting window and check in with the host.
Visit a Denver Speakeasy Soon!
Denver is filled with memorable locations and experiences, and you can add visiting these speakeasies to your list.
We’ve come a long way from needing to evade the police, having to “know a guy who knows a guy,” and giving a secret password, but today’s speakeasies with a modern-day Prohibition concept offer an alluring sense of mystery and exclusivity that remains irresistible to today’s bar patrons.
Here are other trips you can take that allow you to experience tradition and history with enjoying alcoholic concoctions: