If nothing else, 2016 was a good year for drinking — and for discovering the best new watering holes to do it in. We'll be toasting to 2017 at these 10 hot spots for months to come.
Must-order: With its jukebox, checkerboard floors, Spanish revival chandeliers and all, the successor to Sunnyside’s long-standing Subway Tavern sets the mood to go old school. Start with chipotle-ranch wings and classic potato skins, then move on to the heaping Mexican hamburger platter. Wash it all down with the house's horchata White Russian.
Insider tip: Owner Jesse Morreale was once a concert promoter, so perusing the mounted posters of shows gone by, from Björk to the Misfits, is worth the price of a drink alone. (Not that they’re costly — happy hour here runs from open to close.)
3759 Lipan St.; 720-255-2485
Must-order: Go for the gusto with a cucumber margarita or whichever exclusive seasonal beer the bar's pouring from collaborative partner Crazy Mountain Brewing Company, plus an order of bacon guac and a spicy shrimp tlayuda topped with chapulines.
Insider tip: Unlike its predecessors, La Güera's actually open by day for over-the-counter lunch service.
Must-order: This season, it's all about the Pray for Snow winter ale or the Breakfast Coffee stout. Come warmer weather, we have a crush on the Cucumber Crush that began well before this Oregon-based brewery opened a satellite here. Also, the steak nachos are pretty outrageous.
Insider tip: Drink well, do good — on Charity Tuesday Nights, 10 Barrel donates all the proceeds to a good cause.
2620 Walnut St.; 720-573-8992
Must-order: Loaded fries with a trio of dipping sauces are good, PB&J cookies are better, and sake Jello shots are best of all.
Insider tip: You should always be friendly to your server, of course, but especially here — some of them have got the pipes to turn your so-so solo into a dynamic duet.
2601 Walnut St.; 720-458-7006
Must-order: With 100-plus bottles of mezcal on the shelves on the one hand, and a staff well versed in the spirit on the other, this is a place to ask questions before making decisions — the bartenders will steer you right. But if you’re up for an adventure, try a cocktail that features raicilla, mezcal’s quirky Jaliscan cousin.
Insider tip: Stopping by for a nightcap? Don’t eat a huge dinner beforehand, because the snack menu, though small, is no afterthought. Think shrimp-mango ceviche and superb carne asada–topped tlayudas.
1294 S. Broadway; 303-997-5359
Must-order: We'd recommend the tequila- and Chartreuse-based Genius Billionaire Playboy Philanthropist on the name alone, but it's impossible to resist the Obey One — essentially a boozy float with vodka, cola, Galliano and house vanilla ice cream.
Insider tip: "Classic cocktail hour" runs Monday through Friday from 5–7 PM — when every drink's a double, be it a daiquiri or an old fashioned.
530 E. 19th Ave.; 720-600-6358
Must-order: The bar team puts a lot of thought into the cocktail of the day, so you can always count on something smart and stylish. And owner Jake Soffes shows equal care when making his decadent grilled cheese sandwich.
Insider tip: Hudson Hill doubles as a daytime coffeehouse, and Soffes pulls a mean espresso from his hand-built Bosco lever machine. Tea and pastries are available too.
619 E. 13th Ave.; 303-832-0776
Must-order: Both the frozen banana daiquiri and the I'd Buy That Drink a Drink (pictured) have been on the cocktail list since day one, with good reason. By contrast, the menu rarely reads the same twice, but we love what the kitchen does with both pasta and offal, so keep an eye out for them.
Insider tip: Come on Test Table Tuesdays for a prix fixe menu of dishes the kitchen's working on — for $45, you can give your two cents to the chefs.
4132 W. 38th Ave.; 720-728-8156