Boulder's Best Watering Holes: Bars, Beer and Bourbon! Oh, My!

Choosing the 10 Best bars in Boulder is like trying to choose the best restaurants in New York; a laborious task which requires much research to get it right. Luckily, this well-researched list (and by "researched" we mean that we drank and ate our way through pretty much every bar in Boulder) narrows it down so that you're sure to make the right choice in watering hole, whether you're visiting or living the dream right here in the Frontrange.

Boulder prides itself on unqiue, fresh, and flavorful microbrews, but that doesn't mean that the Boulder bars neglect other families of alcohol. On our list, you'll not only find the best beer in town (and Colorado, for that matter) but you'll also find your one-stop-shop for bourbon and well-whiskey specials.

Perched atop our list, and rightfully so, is the West End Tavern. Patio seating offering stunning views, filling pub-grab, and an exceptional beer selection and nightlife, make this the place to be. 

Bringing up the rear, you'll find the The Walrus Saloon and Mountain Sun. These local favorites boast pub-grub done right, cozy yet vibrant atmospheres, and put you right in the thick of downtown Boulder.

Consider this list your Boulder Drinking Bible when you visit-Heck, we even suggest you make it your goal ( nay, your mission) to drink, dance, and eat at every spot. Cheers to that!


The Attic

The Attic offers excellent pubfare, dancing, and karaoke every week. Local bands keep the atmosphere hoppin' and a hardwood dance floor, offering seating during the day, is cleared for all of your dancing escapades in the evening. Take a break and enjoy their free pool tables or grab a drink at their ornate and fully stocked bar. Famous for The Fat Albert, ask for this purple concoction that packs quite a punch if you need a little encouragement getting to the dance floor. A variety of music is represented at this Boulder favorite, so you the dancing machine within you is sure to be satisfied.

Recommended for Downtown Boulder's Best Bars because: Delicious and reasonably priced food, fresh and unique brews, and exceptional service earn Southern Sun a spot on our list.

Hope's expert tip: Karaoke and dancing are the highlights of this local favorite.

Read more about The Attic →

The Walnut Brewery

A favorite after-work hangout, this spacious microbrewery is located in an historic warehouse a block from Pearl Street. Multiple television sets broadcast sporting events. The drink menu features handcrafted brews, including root beer, ales, and stouts. The menu features Asaigo-artichoke cheese dip and tomato basil quesadillas to start and such delectables as Smoked Sock-eyed Salmon, Chicken Fried Chicken and Waffles, or Cod Fish and Chips. For the main event, some of their yummy brews include, the Special Dark, Indian Peaks Pale Ale, Old Elk Brown Ale, and St. James Irish Red Ale. For happy hour, try their Loaded Mashed Potato Balls or finger-licking Pug Wings. The quintessential hang-out watering hole, Walnut is the place where everybody knows your name...and what you're drinkin'.

Recommended for Downtown Boulder's Best Bars because: This "Cheers" style bar makes you feel like you're one of the locals but the beer is what earns Walnut Brewery a spot on our list.

Hope's expert tip: Grab a pint of Indian Peaks Pale Ale and wash down one of the Walnut Brewery's savory, brick-oven pizzas.

Read more about The Walnut Brewery →

West Flanders Brewing Company, conveniently located on Pearl Street, opened in September of 2012 and has been making a name for itself with the local scene ever since. The Lion Heart Stout, Triple Lutz Belgium and Angry Monk are three of our favorite nectars due to their uniqueness and flavorful embodiment of their own particular beer category. The Angry Monk leans toward a Belgium, but we wager you'll find it to be in a category all its own. What's more, this brewery makes for the perfect large party location, offering a large event space upstairs that overlooks all of Pearl Street's hustle and bustle. Also, be sure to indulge in a Beer Flight: West Flanders 6oz samplings of four house beers for only $10. The perfect way to explore their variety and share with friends.

Recommended for Downtown Boulder's Best Bars because: West Flanders offers fresh and evolving beers flavors, excellent sampling options along with a pub feel on the first floor and event space up-top.

Hope's expert tip: Be sure to indulge in The Angry Monk and a delicious beer pretzel.

Read more about West Flanders Brewery →


Bohemian Biergarten is a new, hip, and unique bar in downtown Boulder featuring German-style food, beer, and atmosphere. The main room and bar area offers long, picnic style tables which allow for large groups to eat, drink, and be merry. Speaking of eating, the Biergarten serves hardy, delicious German food such as a verity of sausage and meats and beer pretzels. Need a rowdy place to watch soccer? The Biergarten, true to its European heritage, shows soccer games all season with plenty of fans to celebrate or cry with. Biergarten is also located in the heart of downtown, in close proximity to entertainment and shopping.

Recommended for Downtown Boulder's Best Bars because: The Bohemian Biergarten offers European style beers, a variety of evening entertainment, and German-style food in an exciting atmosphere.

Hope's expert tip: Be sure to check out their offering of live music and stand-up comedy throughout the week and weekend.

Read more about Bohemian Biergarten →

Tahona's living and young atmosphere makes for the perfect drop-in spot of a Friday or Saturday night or, if you're wanting to relax, a great option for grabbing a weekend lunch and a refreshing margarita. Boasting a wide variety of exotic tequilas and offering some of the most unique margarita blends you've ever tasted, Tahona is your one-stop shop for Mexican Cuisine, drinks, and late-night dancing. For "Infused Fridays", Tahona offers up a mix of Hip-Hop, Reggae, and Funk from an eclectic mix of DJs. Their dance floor is intimate and right next to the bar so you can stay hydrated with ease.

Recommended for Downtown Boulder's Best Bars because: Tahona offers unique margarita infusions, dancing on the late-night, and fresh Mexican Cuisine for a trendy and exciting atmosphere.

Hope's expert tip: After hours, Tahona is transformed into a mini-club complete with DJ and plenty of room to dance the night away.

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This high-energy bar is a favorite of sports fans, especially on football weekends. Live, local music gives this pub its signature hole-in-the-wall, "where everybody knows your name", feel. Best of all, Boulder "regulars" abound but newcomers are always welcome, making a visit to this one-of-a-kind pub the perfect way to mingle with the locals and get a true feel for the Boulder way of living, drinking, and dancing. Often down below the street floor, you can find people swaying their hips as they cozy up in the nooks and crannies of this unique bar. And, as is typical of Boulder, local musicians are there to help you dance the night away.

Recommended for Downtown Boulder's Best Bars because: Pearls Street pubs multi-level bar layout boasting pool tables and an intimate stage area for bands, makes this cozy spot a must-visit.

Hope's expert tip: Snuggle into this cozy pub with a pint of local beer, exceptional pub grub, and plenty of pool tables to keep you busy for hours.

Read more about Pearl Street Pub →

The Grateful Dead are alive and well, at least as a decorative motif, at this tie-dye styled brewpub that features some of the best beer in the region. For a kick, try the coffee-inspired Java Porter. Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will appreciate the well rounded menu, affordable, food featuring high-quality pub fare. So, wanna know more about the beer? Mountain Suns beers have won numerous Gold Medals at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver and is consistently ranked among the best brewpubs by Boulder locals. For a blast of hops, just ask for "the dank", also known as Mountain Sun's Colorado Kind Ale.

Recommended for Downtown Boulder's Best Bars because: Traditional and hardy pub grub, a laid-back but still exciting atmosphere, and some of the best microbrews in Colorado fixes Mountain Sun in our top five.

Hope's expert tip: Don't miss Mountain Sun's coffee-inspired Java porter!

Read more about Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery →

Conor O'Neill's

This lively and feisty traditional Irish pub is one of the most exciting ways to spend and evening in downtown Boulder. Lagers, Ciders, Ales, and Stouts abound, including Guinness on tap because what Irish pub is complete without it? In addition, several tasty micro-brews are available. Weekly live music is a staple at Conor O' Neills and includes slots for collaborative bluegrass pickin'. With plenty of space to dance, you'll be tapping your toes or doing an Irish jig. Connor O'Neill's also happens to serve one of the best Irish Coffees in town, made strong to put some pep in your step.

Recommended for Downtown Boulder's Best Bars because: Great bands, an electric atmosphere, and unique decor makes Conor O'Neills a not-to-be-missed bar.

Hope's expert tip: Grab a Guinness and sit back for some of Boulder's local bluegrass pickers.

Read more about Conor O'Neill's →

Claiming to serve cocktails with "passion, not pretense" the Bitter Bar is an elegant, albeit slightly trendy, bar located just off of Boulder's famous Pearl Street Mall. Tucked away on Walnut, Bitter Bar offers patio seating for some sunbathing during the day and invites you to bask in the soft glow of outdoor lighting in the evening. From plush booths for snuggling with your honey or gossiping with friends to community tables perfect for standing or sitting while enjoying the company of a large group, the Bitter Bar is a wonderful space for a Girl's Night Out or for celebrating a special event. Not to mention, their macaroni and cheese is to die for and they make a mean Old Fashioned.

Recommended for Downtown Boulder's Best Bars because: The Bitter Bar offers a hip yet classy vibe, an extensive scotch and whiskey collection, along with inventive dishes and mingling spaces.

Hope's expert tip: Bitter Bar boasts one of the best Happy Hours in town. From 5pm-8pm, guests can sip on $5 cocktails and $4 draft beers whilst nibbling on marinated olives and cured meats.

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West End's motto of "Definitely Not Your Daddy's Tavern" rings true. Take in a beautiful Rocky Mountain sunset or enjoy an evening under the stars on the cozy rooftop patio at this popular and local spot. The interior is comfortably designed with brick and natural wood. The menu burgers, wings, and other traditional pub fare are exceptional. But let's get to the exciting parts. The West End prides itself on turning its staff and patrons into beer geeks by featuring unique and rare craft beers. Need something with more punch? This tavern-done-right features the largest bourbon list in Colorado including 75 varieties and 4 single barrel bourbons.

Recommended for Downtown Boulder's Best Bars because: Beer brewed to perfection and paired with fresh food, cool events, and exceptional service earn Avery the top spot on our list.

Hope's expert tip: Enjoy a swig of bourbon from the West End's extensive list, which just happens to be the largest and most comprehensive bourbon collection in all of Colorado.

Read more about West End Tavern →


Meet Hope Gately

Hope Gately should have a bumper sticker proclaiming "Not a Native...But I Got Here as Fast as I Could!" A transplant from the Midwest, Hope has fallen in love with Colorado's mountains playing...  More About Hope