Boulder's Cheapest and Most Exciting Happy Hour Options: Drink Up, Get Happy

Happy Hour. Two words that conjure images of frothy beers accompanied by sliders, wine paired with chocolate, while people all over the country breathe a sigh of relief after a long day of work. Boulder, often touted as one of the healthiest and happiest places in America, offers more than its fair share of happy hours where you can sit on a patio in the bright Colorado sun, sip your beverage, and stare at the magnificent Boulder skyline. 

Topping our list is The Dark Horse for it's fanciful atmosphere, outdoor seating, and reasonably priced happy hour specials that change daily. This local favorite is known for its tricycle races, scrumptious pup-grub, and laid-back feel sure to help you relax.

For something more upscale but still local, venture to Fate Brewing Company where the beer flows like water and the food is known to be some of the most delicious in Boulder. 

Southern Sun and Upslope breweries are two joints you won't want to miss during happy hour. They offer local craft beer and atmosphere's perfect for talking with co-workers or friends after a long day. 

With our list as reference, your happiness is about to get a significant boost! 


The Lazy Dog Sports Bar

The All-American sports bar and grill offers up burgers and fries with a side of Football and, on the late night, dancing. Friday and Saturday nights offer live music from local and national bands. Their downtown location with a rooftop view is a spacious venue for dancing while marveling at the twinkling lights of Boulder. A hang-out for people of all ages, but you will generally find a younger, pup-crawlin', crowd later in the evening. Music genres range from bluegrass and classic rock, to punk and indie rock, so you are sure to hear a tune perfect for tappin' your toes.

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. If you're a little rusty on your Lord of the Dance skills, the bar also offers classic rock to rock your body.

This local brewery offers some of the best refreshments in the area and is perfect to visit after a long hike at Chautauqua Park. One of their most popular beers, the Colorado Kind Ale, is dry hopped deliciousness and should be paired with one of Southern Sun's massive burgers or, our favorite, the grilled cheese. Hot wings and BBQ wings are a staple at this joint, as well as the delicious $1 tacos every Wednesday night. Choose from vegetarian or beef and eat late into the night since tacos service goes on well past pumpkin hour. Perfect place for a late-night snack.


For a relaxed and salt-of-the-earth environment, try Backcountry Pizza and Tap House. With more than 50 beers on tap, gigantic pizzas, and scrumptious pasta concoctions that will satisfy any Italian craving, this local dive is a favorite for beer and pizza lovers alike. The Chicken Parmesan and Meatball Sub are both excellent options for those who like traditional Italian, and for those who'd like to go the more adventurous route, The Hot Mob: ham, salami, pepperoni, lettuce, tomatoes, provolone, and Italian dressing. Our personal favorite, the Nediterranean, blends pesto & red sauce, pine nuts, garlic, roasted red peppers, artichokes, kalamata olives, feta to create one of the most hearty and mouthwatering pizzas in the west.

Running from 5-6:30pm and offering a Super Happy Hour Sunday, Sushi Zanmai provides delicious sushi and drinks at a dramatically reduced price. This high-energy sushi bar and Japanese restaurant transforms a simple meal into an adventurous spectator event. Watch as flashy Japanese chefs prepare your meal hibachi style or at the sushi bar. The contemporary setting is spacious and designed in neutral tones,natural woods, and traditional Japanese face-masks line the walls. Karaoke adds to the boisterous atmosphere. As an added bonus, the service is exceptional; hot towels are served at the beginning of each meal in true Eastern fashion and the service staff are knowledgeable as well as enthusiastic about the menu options. Be sure to ask about their delicious dumpling appetizers and start off with warm miso soup.

The ambiance of Fate Brewing Company is that of laidback elegance and taste in more ways than one. Their food is designed to perfectly pair with their libations and an open, cheerful atmosphere makes this Boulder restaurant perfect for getting together after a long day, birthday parties or intimate dinners."But what about the food?" you might be asking. Fate's fare leaves nothing to be desired and blends bistro-style American cuisine with a bit of international flair. Check out the descriptions for some of our favorite dishes.Chicken 'N' Biscuits Smoked brisket, red eye gravy, fresh buttermilk biscuits. FATE-a-RITO Scrambled eggs, potatoes, peppers, pork green chili, cheese, sour cream, fresh salsa, choice of brisket, pork shoulder, bacon or smoked sausage.

The Walnut Brewery

A favorite after-work hangout, this spacious microbrewery is located in an historic warehouse a block from Pearl Street Mall. Multiple television sets broadcast sporting events so you can don your jerseys a cheer with a beer in hand. 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 brick-oven pizza, smoked chicken enchiladas, and brown ale-battered smoked fish and chips to follow. 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.

Bramble and Hare, one of Boulder's favorite farm-to-table bistros, boasts a $5 happy hour menu complete with a variety of fresh and delicious small plates. Mac & Cheese, Lentil Fritters, and Grilled Cheese are just a few of the hardy menu items. For drinks, you'll have your choice of wine or liquor. Happy Hour runs from 5pm-6pm and, don't forget, that Bramble and Hair is one of the few Boulder spots open late. Other menu items to try if you stop by during regular hours include the Farm House Soup, Seafood Ragu with Capers, and, for dessert, the delectable banana split.

Boasting one of the most generous happy hour's on our list, BRU serves up $3 16oz and $5 22oz glasses of select beer. Not to mention Chicken Wings, Cheddar and Corn Fritters, and a variety of other nibbles for dirt cheap. Some not-to-be-missed ales include the Obitus American Brown Ale and the Rigley Red Rye. Located in East Boulder, BRU's atmosphere is warm, charming, and slightly hole-in-the-wall while still retaining it's elegance and class. A small patio invites drinkers to loaf and enjoy the Colorado sun during the spring and summer months. BRU also participates in several fun events throughout the year, including American Craft Beer Week during which BRU runs special pricing on most of their delicious beer and food.

The Dark Horse Bar and Grill

Popular culture is the theme of the decor at this popular landmark. Movie memorabilia, big screen TV's, pool tables, air hockey, foosball, and video games dominate the space. A wide assortment of microbrews is available. The typically American menu includes burgers, sandwiches, fish and chips, and Tex-Mex. The Avocado Burger is sure to satisfy, especially if it's washed back with a pint of local beer. Pool tables are available after who've downed a few pints and finished off your pub-grub. Speaking of pub-grub, did we forget to mention the Jiffy Burger? Aptly named, instead of ketchup or mustard this burger offers Jiffy Peanut Butter as it's condiment of choice.


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