Where Everybody Knows Your Name: Pearl Street's Best Bars and Breweries

When visitors from afar think of Pearl Street they most likely call to mind a row of buildings where they can get their Shop on, fine dining, and silly street performers set against the backdrop of the Flatirons. The first thing that pops into a Boulderites head when they think of Pearl Street is quite different: Bars and Breweries. Boulderites love their beer and live music, which means that local pubs on Pearl are always serving the best libations and booking the funkiest local bands.

Our list ensures that you can explore a wide variety of bars. From the chic and elegant to the downright dirty, gritty, hole-in-the wall type, there's something for everyone on our list.

Speaking of "hole-in-the-wall", the top spot on our list goes to the Pearl Street Pub. This bar is relatively small, quaint, offers great drink specials, live music, and pool tables. The atmosphere is lively but laid-back and on any given night you'll meet 20 somethings all the way up to 50 somethings.

In the mood for local beer? Try the Walnut Brewery or Mountain Sun for some of the best microbrews in town and delicious food that goes far beyond pub-grub.

Looking for a more elegant atmosphere whilst you get your drink on? SHINE Restaurant and Gathering Space provides just that with its classy cocktails and gourmet food.

So shop, take in a show, and dine on Pearl but don't neglect the bars and breweries where everybody is sure to know your name ( well, by the end of the night at least) and the beer is forever flowing. Cheers!


Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place
Photo courtesy of SHINE Restaurant and Gathering Space

Locally owned and operated by three spunky and innovative sisters, SHINE Restaurant and Gathering Space offers the perfect venue for building community, mingling, getting down to some local music, or just relaxing with a much needed cocktail at the end of the day. Their event room boasts a stage and hardwood floor with plenty of space for dancing. Local music can be seen on weekends and many of SHINE's delicious alcoholic concoctions can help you to relax and get your groove on. This venue is an elegant and swanky alternative if you're wanting something a bit more refined than the pub or club atmosphere.

Recommended for Pearl Street Mall's Best Bars because: For a more elegant feel, SHINE offers up beer brewed in-house and yummy cocktails.

Hope's expert tip: For an elegant alternative to pubs and clubs style dancing.

Read more about Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place →

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 Pearl Street Mall's Best Bars because: The Biergarten has a lively, funky atmosphere perfect for an intimate dinner or a large group of soccer fans.

Hope's expert tip: Be sure to try the Beirgarten's amazing pretzels and check their music line-up for great acts throughout the week and weekend.

Read more about Bohemian Biergarten →

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.

Recommended for Pearl Street Mall's Best Bars because: West Flanders Brewery offers yummy pub-grub, fresh microbrews, and is right in the mix of Pearl Street's shopping and events.

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

Read more about West Flanders Brewery →

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 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.

Recommended for Pearl Street Mall's Best Bars because: Excellent food and a exceptional selection of beer and spirits earns The 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 →

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 Pearl Street Mall's Best Bars because: Karaoke, awesome drink specials and some of the best margaritas in town earn Tahona a spot on our list.

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.

Read more about Tahona →


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 Pearl Street Mall's Best Bars because: The West End offers patio seating with views of the Flatirons, awesome drink specials, and cool events.

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 →

The Walrus Saloon

The Walrus Saloon offers a unique, subterranean feeling in the heart of downtown Boulder. With live music, killer drink specials, and Reggae night you're sure to have a ball at The Walrus. A variety of local DJs frequent the Walrus to bring you the best of their jams and the open floor allows for plenty of room to get jiggy-wit-it. Weekly Reggae nights invite you to let out your inner Rastafarian featuring eclectic artists from all over the world, including the Sudan, Ghana, and Zimbabwe. So lively up yourself, Bob Marley style, and dance to the rhythms of the Walrus.

Recommended for Pearl Street Mall's Best Bars because: The Walrus is known for it's cheap drink specials, funky music, and fun atmosphere.

Hope's expert tip: Be sure to stop in for Reggae Night.

Read more about The Walrus Saloon →

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.

Recommended for Pearl Street Mall's Best Bars because: Live music, yummy Irish carbombs, and a unique atmosphere ensures Conor O'Neills a spot on our list.

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 →

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 6 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 Pearl Street Mall's Best Bars because: Delicious microbrews, seasonal ales, and fun events put Mountain Sun at the top of our list.

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

Read more about Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery →

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 Pearl Street Mall's Best Bars because: "The Pub's" lively atmosphere, weekly live music, and cheap drink specials earn it a spot at the top of our list.

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 →


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