By Davina van Buren

Published on March 9, 2017

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Photography by @AVANTIFANDB VIA INSTAGRAM

You may not think of Denver as a quintessential drinking town—after all, Coloradans are best known for being outdoorsy, fitness-loving types—but the Mile High City has an impressive roster of craft breweries, distilleries, and even urban wineries. And with the dramatic Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, you couldn’t ask for better views from the city’s many rooftop bars. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the newest, most innovative watering holes in town. From an 1800s foundry to a shipping container complex to sunny rooftop bars, Denver offers plenty of swoon-worthy spots to kick back and relax. Cheers!

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Avanti Food & Beverage

Located in Lower Highlands (LoHi), this unique food hall hall and bar is housed in a maze of modified shipping containers. Grab eats from seven vendors ranging from sushi to schwarma, then head for the pièce de résistance: a spacious rooftop bar with lounge areas and unbeatable views of downtown.

3200 Pecos St., avantifandb.com 

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Finn’s Manor

Similar to Avanti, Finn’s Manor is a collection of small dining stalls and bars, but the cocktails in this River North (RiNo) neighborhood spot are a bit more elevated. Whiskey connoisseurs will find their nirvana amongst the more than 160 varieties, and craft cocktail lovers have 16 rotating taps to choose from. Don’t miss the fun daily specials served in punch bowls filled with colorful fruit slices. Once you’ve secured a beverage, peruse the array of on-site food trucks offering Thai, Mexican, Jamaican, and Southern fare.

2927 Larimer St., finnsmanor.co

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Hudson Hill

This cozy Capitol Hill spot features a community table, lounge seating in rich leather, Navajo textiles, and plenty of live plants and herbs to brighten up the space. A gorgeous Douglas fir bar top juxtaposes the exposed industrial metal beams and brick walls. Hudson Hill’s menu is full of creative cocktails: Try the Green Hour, a bewitching concoction of tequila, coconut, mint, bitter orange, and a sprinkle of freshly ground nutmeg.

619 East 13th Ave., hudsonhilldenver.com 

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Departure Elevated

This sexy spot atop the Halycon hotel in the swanky Cherry Creek neighborhood is a must-visit for its signature dim sum cart service and hand-rolled sushi. An extensive spirits menu features globally-inspired cocktails, sake, and wines. Pair all this with views of the downtown Denver skyline, and it makes for an all-around glamourous time. After drinks, take a stroll through the stylish hotel to admire the impressive locally-curated art collection.

249 Columbine St., departureelevated.com 

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The Source

Housed in an 1880s foundry building, The Source is Denver’s first, beloved, and ever-evolving artisan food hall. At 26,000 square feet, it boasts several stop-worthy watering holes. Crooked Stave Artisan beer project specializes in sour beers; RiNo Yacht Club holds fort in the central bar serving wine, beer, and creative cocktails alongside small, tapas-style plates; and anchor tenant Comida serves up margaritas made with fresh juices and habanero.

3350 Brighton Blvd., thesourcedenverlcom

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Photography by RYAN DEARTH

Retrograde 

Want to drink like a local? This is your spot. An unassuming cooler door inside Uptown’s Frozen Matters ice cream shop leads to a hidden, futuristic speakeasy. A new spin on adult treats, the ice cream shop offers beer floats and spirit and ice cream pairings, while Retrograde serves up wine, beer, and specialty cocktails.

530 E. 19th Ave.

Note: They only have a FB page, no website

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Linger 

You’d never guess this trendy spot serving global street snacks in LoHi was a mortuary in a former life. The iconic Olinger Mortuary is now home to one of Denver’s best dining establishments. But the highlight of the experience is sipping cocktails on the rooftop patio. Order up a frozen chipotle-peach margarita or sangria rojo while taking in unforgettable views of the Denver skyline.

2030 West 30th Ave., lingerdenver.com 

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Photography by SARA TIMMER

The Way Back

You can’t go wrong with any of the imaginative drinks at The Way Back. And the skilled mixologists get bonus points for humor, as seen in the cheeky “Alternative Facts”—a custom concoction based on your personal preferences—or the “Sheep of Faith” (pictured), an earthy combination of beets, yogurt, and Woody Creek gin.

4231 W. 38th Ave., thewaybackdenver.com