People come to the Mile High City to get high … for us, that means hitting a rooftop bar while the weather is still warm and fine. Blending elevated cocktail programs with panoramic views, here are the seven best rooftop bars in Denver. (Ehen you factor in the rooftop, you’ll probably be drinking at an elevation of at least 1.001 miles, you death-defying drinker, you.)
Arguably one of the best, most lively bars in Denver (rooftop or not), Avanti Food & Beverage sits on the west side of I-25 in the lower Highlands with a sprawling second-story rooftop that overlooks downtown Denver. The rooftop layout spans three areas: one complete with lounge couches, another roofed with open sides, and the last a bleacher-style seating. Simultaneously casual, elevated, and fun, Avanti hosts a modern-day food hall with 7 different food options (pizza, poke bowls, etc.) and the beverage program at their two bars rocks over 20 draft beers, all the wines, and craft cocktails.
The industrial RiNo marketplace that is The Source has sprouted a hotel next door and on the rooftop of that hotel, you’ll find The Woods (we love the idea of saying, “Let’s go to The Woods”). Enjoy beer-based cocktails created in collaboration with New Belgium Brewing surrounded by panoramic views of both the mountains and 5280 skylines. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and craft cocktails, The Woods is a full-service bar and beer garden that makes you feel like a member of the underground (or should we say overground?), elite, modern architects circle.
Mixing rooftop with poolside is a recipe for orgasmic summer cocktailing. Enter: Elevated. This panoramic bar atop Cherry Creek’s Halcyon Hotel (one of the only downtown spots with a rooftop pool) is only open during the summer and will close in late September/early October, so hurry. Eight stories up, the sleek stone bar is accompanied by veiled cabanas and a craft cocktail menu that features light summer drinks, such as the Flying Tiger (black tea, Maker’s Mark, lemon, cream soda, and peach bitters). Fuel up with elevated fare bites like tater tots with truffle aioli and Wagyu beef corn dogs. Bring your floaties.
Death & Co. Garden
Death’s garden is shockingly bright, vegetative, and full of refreshing spritzers. It’s also on the mezzanine level of The Ramble Hotel. Death & Co. opened The Garden as an alfresco, warm-weekend gather place that juxtaposes the moody and rich D&C bar downstairs. The menu is pared down with twists on iconic hot-weather cocktails like the French 75, Mai Tai, and the Badlands (blanco tequila, ancho chile, papaya, carrot, and orangerange). Sip and soak in the sun beneath restored wooden beams wrapped in green ivy. Keep in mind, there’s a view but it’s far from panoramic. We suggest starting your evening at The Garden and once a table opens downstairs, bringing the night inside and moving to the dark side.
Nestled beneath the “Olinger Mortuaries” sign billboarding the lower highlands is an open-concept rooftop bar operated by Linger, winner of The Manual Award’s Best Restaurant in Denver. Weather permitting, this mortuary-turned-eatery opens its rooftop for a diverse wine, beer, cocktail, and small bites menu pulling from inspiration around the world. Pair a Green Tea Collins with spicy pork belly buns overviews of the Highland Bridge. Linger’s rooftop cocktail menu also features standard rooftop potables, including frosé, sangria, and frozen margaritas.
Do not underestimate the power of an intimate open-air rooftop. El Five (a stone’s throw from Linger) swaps frantic bar energy for a sedated, luxe vibe that is as intoxicating as its cocktails (just look at this drink). Housed in a top-floor penthouse, El Five centers on Spanish and eastern Mediterranean small plates and drinks that pair well with the unrivaled sunset views overlooking LoHi and downtown. Rich and romantic, an evening at El Five feels like you’re visiting a foreign city, looking down from above.
Billing itself as Denver’s “highest” open-air seasonal rooftop, 54Thirty is raising the roof, literally, sitting higher than Mile-High City (5,280 feet in elevation) at 5,430 feet — that’s 1.002 miles for those keeping track. On the rooftop of Le Méridien Denver Downtown, 54Thirty is focused on mood and cocktails. Sure they have bites, too, but with a craft cocktail named #Thatviewthough (Tito’s Vodka, chamomile tea syrup, lemon, and princess yum yum), this high spot is not f***ing with the classics. Which is why you’re here reading. Because the best rooftop bars have two things: killer cocktails and killer views. We just got lucky that 54Thirty has an Elevated Beats DJ Series and high-rollers ambiance.
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