Favorite

Drink 2005 

Welcome to the inaugural Independent Drink guide

click to enlarge e6c5_drink-17019.gif

Drink 2005 Contributors: Kathryn Eastburn (KE), Sara Gallagher (SG), John Hazlehurst (JH), Kara Luger (KL), Aaron Menza (AM), J.N. Nail (JNN), Aaron Retka (AR), Gina Schaarschmidt (GS), Rebekah Shardy (RS), Matthew Schniper (MS), Carrie Simison-Bitz (CSB), Bettina Swigger (BLS)

Copy Editors: Wendy Schlosberg, Wayne Young

Inside this convenient and comprehensive guide you will find a multitude of the more than 130 bars, taverns and pubs that festoon Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas. In addition to the individual establishments listed, this section showcases a handy grid detailing bars by select categories as well as a karaoke guide and descriptions of places in town that our esteemed writers deemed worthy of expounding upon.

We've tried to cover as many places in town as humanly possible; still, a few are bound to fall through the cracks. If you happen to notice that we haven't covered your favorite drinking hole, please drop us a line to let us know and we will include them in future guides.

The bars are arranged by name, in alphabetical order, and organized by area of town.

At the risk of sounding like a liquor ad, always drink responsibly. If you get schnockered while out and about, call a cab. Or better yet, get your boyfriend (or girlfriend) to call a limo.

Cheers.

click to enlarge Tonys colorful Cody is always ready with a drink. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Tonys colorful Cody is always ready with a drink.

Kara Luger

Assistant Editor

Drink coordinator

Tony's 311 N. Tejon St., 228-6566

Ah, Tony's. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Is it your wonderfully full bar, your snappy and sexy staff? Or perhaps it's your live music and drinkskipoos, your superb jukebox featuring everyone from Neil Diamond to Operation Ivy? It's probably your array of fried foods, but who's to say? Granted, their weekly Poker Night creates such a draw that it's hard to get into the bar, but that's a piddly complaint. One thing is for sure: Tony's has developed a massively dedicated clientele, ranging from CC kids and hipsters to post-work suits and crusty trucker sorts. Dedication doesn't come easily, so visit Tony's downtown to see how they keep 'em coming. --KL

LIVE MUSIC, POKER NIGHT, JUKEBOX, TV, DRINK SPECIALS, FOOD SPECIALS

Wayfarer British and Irish Pub

520 S. Tejon St., 633-3300

click to enlarge Heather mixes it up at the Dublin House. - CREIGHTON SMITH
  • Creighton Smith
  • Heather mixes it up at the Dublin House.

One of the most fun things about the Wayfarer is saying it. The name just rolls off the tongue, and if you've partaken of the particular Irish liquid cheer they offer, feel free to add as many "-erers" to the name as you'd like. With a pretty lovely selection of Irish and English beers on tap, including Smithwick's as well as the ubiquitous Guinness, the pub can indeed help you out with the ber-syllabic pronunciation. They've also got darts for the missile inclined, a weekly pub quiz, karaoke and live bands throughout the week. Add to that the cozy, dark wood interior and the fact that their jukebox has Flogging Molly, and you just might think about adding an "O'" to your name and moving in. --AR

DARTS, LIVE MUSIC

Dublin House 1850 Dominion Way, 265-8820

The Dublin House is a scene straight out of a beer commercial. With Mardi Gras beads strewn about and a drunk armadillo hanging from the ceiling with a Bud Light in its clutches, the Dublin House has frat party appeal. In one room, a lone acoustic guitarist plays John Mayer covers to a handful of semi-swooning ladies. In the other (smaller, but somehow not-much-standing-room only) room, a fiesta of pool tables, music, drinking, drinking, drinking and pick-up lines abounds. The Dublin House is highly recommended for the North-end crowd that doesn't want to endure dancing or the drive down to Rum Bay. -- SG

POOL TABLES, FOOD

Navajo Hogan Roadhouse

2817 N. Nevada, 632-5490

The Hogan may be going through an identity crisis, but at least they've got good tunes. Sure, the bouncers have been known to perch menacingly atop speakers while cracking their knuckles and there are posted signs stating that they won't serve water on show nights. But, thanks to music promoters Soda Jerk Presents, they feature the best indie rock, hardcore, hip-hop and emo this side of Castle Rock. The bar also has blues, jazz and rock bands play, so maybe they will prove that one venue can be everything to everyone. -- SG

click to enlarge Like a beacon in the night: The Navajo Hogan. - CREIGHTON SMITH
  • Creighton Smith
  • Like a beacon in the night: The Navajo Hogan.

POOL TABLES, FOOD, LIVE MUSIC

Overtime Sports Bar & Grill 2809 Dublin Blvd, 531-6032

Sports bars should have an enormous projection HDTV, twenty TVs bordering the room for other games, great food, great people and lots of seating. Overtime has all of these, and they also have pretzels at the bar. SCORE! The owners are friendly and maintain a small-bar feel with the banners, jerseys and hockey sticks hanging from the wall (Overtime even has its own jerseys). This is where Avalanche fans come to watch the game in droves. It is the perfect bar for cheering or booing, but just make sure to get there early. Although the seats are plentiful, they fill up fast. -- SG

VIDEO TRIVIA, GAMES, DRINK SPECIALS, PRETZELS

Pikes Peak Bar 7770 Drennan Road (in the airport), 550-1900

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And sometimes you want to go where you'll never see a familiar face and where you can watch Homeland Security in action. Located conveniently before the security checkpoint inside the Colorado Springs Airport, the Pikes Peak Bar is a people-watching gem. Sure, you'll pay $7-$10 for a drink there, and yeah, you've got to pony up for parking and OK, it's not the most handy location for those who won't be shortly airborne. This is the quintessential bar in a vast, universe-y sense of the word, though -- a necessary watering hole for the frightened and annoyed, a way to drench phobias and deal with the stress of travel. Sometimes seven bucks is a small price to pay for that. --AR

click to enlarge Overtime bartender Scott concentrates on pouring a - rainbow shot. - CREIGHTON SMITH
  • Creighton Smith
  • Overtime bartender Scott concentrates on pouring a rainbow shot.

TV, LUGGAGE CARTS

Il Vicino 11 S. Tejon, 475-9224

The consummate Colorado Springs experience requires sitting on Il Vicino's patio drinking a Wet Mountain IPA (brewed in-house) during Springspree, watching the city go by. For those who prefer a climate-controlled environment, Il Vicino's bar is perfect, but beware, the bar is dangerously close to the chef's station, which makes it nearly impossible to avoid eating one of their gourmet wood-oven pizzas, such as their Bianca: spicy oil, mozzarella, capocollo ham, portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, rosemary, goat cheese, gorgonzola and fresh tomatoes. You can choose from one of their 14 pizzas, build your own, or choose one of their other Italian fare options to go with your World Beer Cup-winning beverage. -- SG

AWARD-WINNING MICROBREWS, PATIO, FOOD

Benny's 517 W. Colorado Ave., 634-9309

Benny's is the first stop of the C. Springs Dive Bar Trinity. For all the martini snobs, a dive bar means sincerity and character, not amateur drinker high jinks. Betty, the bar matron, is legendary. With jokes to make a sailor cringe and serious ass-kicking ability when needed, she is also extremely friendly. Benny's is also the best adult playground in town. Pool tables, foosball, darts, video games, a fabulous country jukebox and a shuffleboard table make this place a drinker's pilgrimage. --AM

click to enlarge Greg Kopchak (left) and John Blower party on at - Bennys, - while bar matron Betty shows a little leg. - SUNNIE SACKS
  • Sunnie Sacks
  • Greg Kopchak (left) and John Blower party on at Bennys, while bar matron Betty shows a little leg.

GAMES, JUKEBOX, DARTS, POOL TABLES, TV

Dutch Mill Tavern 503 W. Colorado Ave., 471-3370

There are many reasons to frequent the Dutch Mill Tavern -- inexpensive drinks, two pool tables, a dart board and a very friendly bar matron are a few. The best reason, though, is the jukebox. One dollar earns you FIVE songs. Not even cheap-ass bars offer such a deal. Rocking out to Cinderella's "Nobody's Fool," followed by Beenie Man's "Be My Lady" then AC/DC's "Hells Bells" thrown in with Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," topped off with Johnny Cash's "Ride This Train," is truly a great night for one dollar. --AM

JUKEBOX, POOL TABLES, DARTS

Laura Belle's 734 N. 19th St., 630-7600 The second station of the C. Springs Dive Bar Trinity is Laura Belle's. Laura Belle's would definitely be the Father (read: King) as it has a larger-than-life Elvis statue next to the stage. Good acoustics, a wraparound lounge-style bar, three pool tables, foosball, darts, a jukebox, and all the mullets you can count guarantee a night of serious fun. With sporadic hip-hop and reggae DJs, Laura Belle's has the potential to be the hippest of the hip on the West Side. --AM

POOL TABLES, GAMES, JUKEBOX, LIVE MUSIC, GIANT ELVIS

click to enlarge Il Vicino patrons Jennifer and John Hole prepare for an - award-winning brew. - CHRISTIAN A. MANZO
  • Christian A. Manzo
  • Il Vicino patrons Jennifer and John Hole prepare for an award-winning brew.

Murphy's Tavern 2729 N. Nevada Ave., 634-9196

The last stop of the C. Springs Dive Bar Trinity is Murphy's. With only a jukebox, a pay phone, and a video machine nestled so far in the corner as to be inaccessible, Murphy's is a place to concentrate on drinking and chain-smoking. The semicircle bar lets all patrons see each other while angled mirrors allow for sly machinations. Super-sexy bartenders and Ron, the hyperactive sexy leprechaun, make the experience worth a hangover from hell. --AM

JUKEBOX

Royal Tavern 924 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9916

One of the joys of a heavy drinking habit is stepping out of your comfort zone and mingling with strangers who you have nothing in common with save a damaged liver. The best place in Manitou to do this is the Royal Tavern. Experience the grittier side of the Manitou populace while shooting pool, making eyes at the bartender or just downing some domestic suds. Close quarters, cool paintings of dogs and cats boozing it up and a decent jukebox make this bar a must for any Manitou pub-crawl. --AM

POOL TABLES, JUKEBOX

Elephant Bar Restaurant 7585 N. Academy 532-0032

The problem with Elephant Bar is that it's a chain -- one of dozens of cookie-cutter establishment, all run by some soulless California Corporation. The great thing about Elephant Bar is that it's a chain -- with inventive, kid-friendly dcor, 25 entrees under $10, a surprisingly well-stocked bar, and prompt, friendly, efficient service. The dcor ... well, it's Trader Vic's as re-imagined by Donald Trump, leavened with a little Hollywood cool. If you're a downtown snob, take a trip to the Elephant Bar, and find out just why all those smug Republicans like Briargate so much. --JH

click to enlarge Elvis has left the building  and hangs out at Laura - Belles. - CREIGHTON SMITH
  • Creighton Smith
  • Elvis has left the building and hangs out at Laura Belles.

GAMES, TV, DRINK SPECIALS, FULL MENU, BIZARRE DCOR

Bristol Brewery 1647 S. Tejon St., 633-2555

There's nothing better than drinking right from the source. Pulling a stool up to the counter at Bristol is like being nursed by your mom. Large steel tanks loom over a friendly, micro-informed staff and the best shuffleboard table in town. Master Brewer Jason Yester assures an ample stock of favorites: Laughing Lab Scottish Ale, Mass Transit, Beehive Honey Wheat, and Red Rocket Pale Ale. The brewery crew boasts even more creativity through their Edge City series, which currently highlights a Pinon Nut Brown (brewed with 55 lbs. of pion nuts -- a must-try beer), a Black India Ale, and a Chocolate Cream Stout (conditioned with real cacao nibs). Cheers also to Bristol's Tucker Mitchell for the unique, wood-aged Belgian Skull and Bones series. --MS

SHUFFLEBOARD, FREE PRETZELS, LIVE MUSIC, SMOKE FREE, DRINK SPECIALS

Sam's: The World's Smallest Bar

22 N. Tejon St., 473-0678

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Sam's is the smallest bar on earth. With four stools, and an occupancy of five, the place is cozy and intimate. Glass windows onto Tejon Street's bar row allow "big-screen viewing" of the bizarre courting rituals and barbarous fighting habits of the town's most notorious boozers. Ask the regulars about the lady who fought the light pole, lost the battle and rode away in an ambulance. --AM

WORLD RECORD HOLDER, FULL BAR, TV

click to enlarge Murphys bartender Tomi serves a thirsty St. Patricks - Day crowd. - CREIGHTON SMITH
  • Creighton Smith
  • Murphys bartender Tomi serves a thirsty St. Patricks Day crowd.

Rendezvous Lounge 128 N. Tejon St., 632-1381

This trendy spot is the newest addition to the downtown martini bar scene (now there's a phrase that would have been unutterable five years ago!). The dcor is Miami-meets-Manhattan glamorous, with a large bar area and a cozy area with moveable sofas that was christened "the grotto" at a recent visit. Plus they have those trippy lights that change color every couple of seconds. Just as it advertises, Rendezvous is all about the 'tinis, and well they should be, since they boast more than 200 vodkas, all of which are described in the glossy cocktail menu complete with tantalizing photos of scantily clad women. It's a nice little package -- and it will be fun to watch it grow. --BLS

SPECIALTY VODKAS, MARTINIS, CIGARS

Wines of Colorado 8045 West U.S. Highway 24, Cascade

(Past Manitou, through Ute Pass, left at the light), 684-0900

Famous for its Colorado Wine Burgers, and well known for consistent good quality, Wines of Colorado is an oenophile's dream in the Rockies. Open for almost eight years, and selling every day including Sunday, the restaurant's Tasting Room offers samples, gifts and bottles of the best wines Colorado vineyards offer. There are Pinot Grigios and Noirs, Chardonnays, Cabernets and more, plus hard ciders: pear and apple. Local wines mean local prices -- $4.75 buys a glassful with a meal, and bottle prices top out at an ber-reasonable $32.95. Singles, families and parties can sit and sip cozily indoors. Come May, the patio and creekside tables will be open. --JNN

OPEN-AIR TABLES, WINE TASTINGS, SALES EVERY DAY INCLUDING SUNDAY

click to enlarge The lion sleeps tonight at the Elephant Bar  and so - will - you, after a couple of drinks. - BRUCE ELLIOTT
  • Bruce Elliott
  • The lion sleeps tonight at the Elephant Bar and so will you, after a couple of drinks.

Keg Lounge 730 Manitou Ave., 685-9531

Mosey on over to Manitou and cozy in at the Keg Lounge for that neighborhood bar feeling -- even if you're not from the neighborhood. Check out their way-better-than-bar-food selections and a decent jukebox full of the classic rock that gives you warm fuzzies. Top that with great service and Alice In Wonderland-like bathrooms, and you'll see why the Keg is a must-stop on your way through Manitou or up the Pass. Tip: Try their Sunday special, a Mug-o-Mary for $2. --CSB

POOL, TV, VIDEO GAMES, JUKEBOX, FOOD

Cedars Jazz Club 3125 Sinton Road, 578-5744

Jack Kerouac and the Beat writers would be proud -- finally a hip jazz club in Colorado Springs. Cedars dimly-lit, elegant wine and martini bar charms the gourmet palate while the untouchably tight Alan Joseph Group spills jazz all over slick hardwood and plush couches. Divine cheese plates and other creations by chef Victor Matthews help temper a fine buzz. Antiques and youngsters alike scratch their chins over chessboards and local art exhibits invite patrons for a casual stroll around the attached OpticalReverb Gallery. There's no better establishment in which to high-roll or cut a rug. Cedars is so classy that you'll look good just standing inside. Now that's style. --MS

LIVE JAZZ, CHESS, OpticalReverb ART GALLERY

Tam O'Shanter Pub 300 W. Garden of the Gods Road, 266-8922

click to enlarge Dude, time and space doesnt bend at Bristol Brewing - its just the camera. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Dude, time and space doesnt bend at Bristol Brewing its just the camera.

Dave'n'Busters, step aside. Tam O'Shanter is like an arcade for adults, but with a sprinkling of neighborhood bar for good measure. With pinball, multiple arcade games, a dance floor, and of course, karaoke, it's a playground complete with cheap drinks. The omnipresent flashing alcohol advertisements and paraphernalia that adorn the walls pave the way for great drink specials. Some nights it feels like a UCCS bar, some nights a working man's retreat, and some nights a hipster paradise, but it always feels inviting. This place is by no means an authentic Irish pub, but it does capture a Cheers-y neighborhood bar feeling that warrants a return trip. --BLS

DRINK SPECIALS, GAMES, KARAOKE, FULL MENU, JUKEBOX

Old Chicago 7115 Commerce Center Drive, 593-7678

118 N. Tejon St., 634-8812

4110 N. Academy Blvd., 536-0633

Mmmmmmmmm ... beer. Homer Simpson would feel right at home at Old Chicago. With 35 tap beers and 110 beer choices in all, you could kill a lot of time sampling, choosing favorites and taking their World Beer Tour (which also earns you prizes). Happy hour happens twice (4 to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight) Monday through Friday and includes drink specials to delight all beer- and wine-lovers, not to mention discounts on select appetizers to soak up the brew. Best of all, you can actually have a conversation at Old Chicago, and your best bet is to do it over a pizza or their kickin' wings. Mmmmmmmmm ... wings. Plus they have a loo that Marge Simpson would be proud to squat in. --CSB

TV, JUKEBOX, POOL, PATIO, FOOD AND DRINK SPECIALS

click to enlarge Karen Darvill (left) and Lorena Jervis enjoy a glass - served - by Wines of Colorados Allison Wrote. - SUNNIE SACKS
  • Sunnie Sacks
  • Karen Darvill (left) and Lorena Jervis enjoy a glass served by Wines of Colorados Allison Wrote.

15C 15 E. Bijou St., 635-8303

The first martini bar in Colorado Springs, 15C is still arguably the best. Go down the alley to an unmarked door with a dim red light above it. Walk right into a mahogany beamed and paneled room. Find a table or sit on a leather couch. Relax, light up a cigar, nurse one of Mike's splendid martinis (a cosmo for you; Ketel One up, dirty, blue cheese olives for her), look around you, and wonder: Am I really as urbane and sophisticated as these people? No, but neither are they -- looks can be deceiving. --JH

TV

Southside Johnny's 528 S. Tejon St., 444-8487

If you like big, friendly, slightly smoky bars, with live music, affordable drinks, and a competent staff, Johnny's is for you. Try 'em on Friday night, when Martini Shot takes the stage -- it's an eclectic crowd where bikers, businessmen trying to be cool, young guys who are cool, and sloe-eyed hotties in skimpy tops all jam the dance floor. Don't wanna dance? Move to the back room, and watch Cece, bartender extraordinaire, make four Long Island Iced Teas in 30 seconds flat. --JH

DRINK SPECIALS, GAMES, POOL, TV, LIVE MUSIC, FULL MENU

click to enlarge Bill Phafoah lines up his shot at the Keg. - SUNNIE SACKS

Pine Gables Tavern 10530 Ute Pass Ave., Green Mountain Falls, 684-2555

For some real comfortable Rocky Mountain drinkin', climb the Pass to the Pine Gables Tavern. Leave your mark by doodlin' on a dollar bill and pinning it to the wall or ceiling of this homey place. A big stone fireplace anchors the main barroom and historic photographs line the dark walls. Pines Gables has all your favorite local bands playing live on the weekends; a buck will get you five classic rock tunes on the juke, which is interspersed with a bit of country and newer alternative. If you stay for one drink too many or the music makes your head pound, take advantage of the "drug store" behind the bar where Advil and the likes are for sale. Tip: When you leave, make sure not to fall in the lake! --CSB

TV, VIDEO GAMES, POOL, FOOSBALL, JUKEBOX, DRINK SPECIALS, LIVE MUSIC

The Golden Bee 1 Lake Circle Drive, 577-5776

Nestled beside the Broadmoor, peep inside the Golden Bee to experience its unique charm. Enjoy chilled pots of toothsome cheese on crackers while downing yards of Boddington, Harp and Guinness. They also serve choice port and scotch, and their full menu includes an excellent chicken pot pie. Other menu items include steak-and-kidney pie and delectable sandwiches on Cranberry Walnut Bread. Every detail of the place, from the brass rail in the foyer (which features glass cases of stuffed and mounted grouse and ermine) to the carved mahogany elegance of the main bar, makes the Golden Bee special. Since 1961, the Bee has offered harmony and bonhomie under the street -- chummy singalongs are featured nightly, and little bee stickers are tossed onto all who visit. --JNN

NIGHTLY SONGBOOK SINGALONG, FOOD

Chili's Grill & Bar 5807 N. Academy Blvd., 260-1788

click to enlarge Bassist Marc Neihof grooves in the Jana Lee Bigger - Band, - a regular feature at Cedars Jazz Club. - BRUCE ELLIOTT
  • Bruce Elliott
  • Bassist Marc Neihof grooves in the Jana Lee Bigger Band, a regular feature at Cedars Jazz Club.

2890 New Center Point, 638-6200

At Chili's, you'll be greeted with the familiar chalk art and friendly staff, so no worries about the great unknown. On weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to closing time, they serve half-price wells, calls, drafts and classic margaritas. There are lots of other full-price margaritas to choose from too, like the rum-infused daiquiri cleverly disguised as a Reggae Sunsplash Caribbean Margarita. For food they serve free chips and salsa, $3 chips and queso, and yummy 50-cent wings. Happy hour brings a mix of people, including families that want to have dinner with their drinks on the cheap. --GTS

DRINK SPECIALS, FREE CHIPS, FULL MENU, APPETIZER SPECIALS, TV

Shuga's 702 S. Cascade Ave., 328-1412

It's that rare, special thing, a smart bar. Vintage-chic dcor, barstools with backs, and a vast white vinyl couch provide the setting; the players are clever professionals and sexy philosophers. Lucky red paper cranes soar through ample vertical space; on the wall, "In Vino Veritas" is writ large. Shuga's menu and libations are divine. Hipster owner Alexis and her individualistic, pretty staff serve Chocolate or Lavender Martinis, titillating liqueurs, and exceptional espresso at this elusively appealing, unique place. At their periodic parties, they play an ol' record player, show classic movies on the wall, and sometimes serve free desserts and champagne. --JNN

LIVE MUSIC, DJS, ALL-AFTERNOON HAPPY HOUR, FREE WIRELESS INTERNET, WORKING TYPEWRITERS IN BATHROOMS

Barracuda Bob's Neighborhood Cabana and Grill 13860 Gleneagle Drive, 481-6446

click to enlarge Hilary Moore (foreground left), Misty Tomisk (center) - and - Laura Ettinger enjoy their tinis at the cleverly hidden - 15C. - BRUCE ELLIOTT
  • Bruce Elliott
  • Hilary Moore (foreground left), Misty Tomisk (center) and Laura Ettinger enjoy their tinis at the cleverly hidden 15C.

Step into Bob's, and you've landed at your favorite beachside restaurant. The mood is casual, with a swordfish displayed above the bar, a hand-painted wall mural, free chips at the salsa and condiment bar and lots of happy tunes. The crowd includes Air Force Academy cadets and staff, and neighborhood singles and families. Bob's sports an impressive beer selection, including Red Stripe Lager and Guinness Stout, and wines from Australia and New Zealand. Their Cabana Coolers includes Mai Tais, Chi-Chis, several margaritas and tropical drinks. Happy hour is daily from 4 to 7 p.m. with specials on beer, wine and margaritas. --GTS

DRINK SPECIALS, FREE CHIPS AND SALSA, GOOD FOOD, BEACH ATMOSPHERE

Spike's Place at the Mission Inn Restaurant 6799 N. Academy Blvd., 598-3107

The Mission Inn has been on North Academy since the '70s. Now across the street from Freaky's north, the place still has a hacienda air that caters to neighborhood locals. Spike's Place, named after the former owner, is a hole-in-the-wall smoky bar with a big-screen TV tuned to sports, a fireplace, electronic darts and an original painting of Spike, depicted as an Old World bandit holding a can of Coors. Happy hours are weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m. with discounts on beer, wine and margaritas. Appetizers are basic Mexican fare -- if you want trendy neo-Mexican fusion, go elsewhere. --GTS

DRINK SPECIALS, FREE CHIPS, BIG SCREEN TV SPORTS, FOOD

V Bar 19 E. Kiowa St., 471-8622

The latest manifestation of that oh-so-retro-hip urban phenomenon, the martini bar, is perfectly expressed in V Bar. Small, narrow, dark and impossibly cool, V Bar is favored by people who are younger, more stylish and better looking than you. The martinis are expensive and wonderful, and the bartenders -- Curt, Michelle and Sarah -- are even better looking than the customers. --JH

click to enlarge Theres nothing like slow dancing with a motorcycle - man: Jeff Merret and Juli Swafford at Southside - Johnnys. - BRUCE ELLIOTT
  • Bruce Elliott
  • Theres nothing like slow dancing with a motorcycle man: Jeff Merret and Juli Swafford at Southside Johnnys.

LIVE MUSIC

Thunder & Buttons 2415 W. Colorado Ave., 447-9888

Twelve years ago, Thunder & Buttons was a great West Side bar and restaurant -- until it burnt down. For years, it was missed and mourned. A few months ago, it was rebuilt, restored and revived to be as good as new and maybe even better. Now it's comfortable, unpretentious, friendly, and a lot more affordable than its downtown counterparts (and for patrons it's a lot easier to find a parking space). Take advantage of happy hour, and you and a pal can each throw down a couple of drinks, share a monumental platter of cheese nachos, and still have a little change from a twenty ... if you're a really miserly tipper. --JH

DRINK SPECIALS, LIVE MUSIC, POOL, FULL MENU, TV

Jack Quinn's Irish Ale House & Pub 21 S. Tejon St., 385-0766

Full of soft wood, Jack Quinn's hanging glass lamps shine down on low comfy pub stools and "settles" (enclosed booths). Extensive scotch and whiskey selections and more than seven draught imports invite serious drinking. A thoughtful menu offers Lamb Stew, Corned Beef, Vegetable Boxty (puff pastry) and more. Tempting appetizers include Ballycastle Fish Cakes or The Ring of Kerry -- half price during happy hour. Meet friendly mates at this locally owned downtown pub. There's enough live music to please everyone: Irish rock (Big Paddy), zydeco, swing, Steve Hoke's Eclectica and more; also, traditional Irish dancing. There's never a cover charge at the Jack. --JNN

click to enlarge Hootin it up at the Pine Gables Tavern in Green - Mountain Falls. - SUNNIE SACKS
  • Sunnie Sacks
  • Hootin it up at the Pine Gables Tavern in Green Mountain Falls.

DRINK AND APPETIZER SPECIALS, FULL MENU, FAMILY-FRIENDLY ATMOSPHERE, KARAOKE, LIVE MUSIC, IRISH DANCING

Kimball's Wine Bar, 115 E. Pikes Peak Ave. (attached to Kimball's Twin Peak Theater), 447-1945

It's a tiny poster-decorated space reeking of popcorn, and though drinks are all served in plastic cups, film buffs will love the place. Bright, independent and inviting, Kimball's offers a cross-section of worldly, inexpensive wines ($4-$6/cup), two kinds of port, champagne and an all-Bristol draught beer selection for $3.50. Teetotalers can make rich, delicious choices from the espresso-filled DazBog coffee list, enjoy Josh & John's Ice Cream from next door, or have a $7.50 Panini Sandwich -- all during movie time. There is a two-drink maximum limit, and of course IDs are required, but the extra effort is worth it for the sheer pleasure of sippin' through showtime. --JNN

DRINKS, FOOD (BOTH CAN BE TAKEN INTO THEATER)

The Blue Star 1645 S. Tejon St., 632-1086

Proprietor Joseph Coleman is an exacting taskmaster, and has paid as much attention to creating the perfect bar as he has to creating the perfect gourmet dining room. The Blue Star's bar is awash in bold colors -- walls painted saffron, deep red and orange -- with blue highlights throughout. Brushed aluminum tabletops accent the high top tables and intimate corners provide comfortable spots to sit and sip. An extensive wine list boasts 600 bottles, ranging from $20 to $1,200, including ports, champagne and sparkling wines. Elegant and eclectic, this is a great spot for a quick dinner; the bar menu is more extensive and imaginative than any other in town. Best bet: Sunday night when bottles of wine are half price. --KCE

click to enlarge Bud kicks it ye olde style at the Golden Bee. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Bud kicks it ye olde style at the Golden Bee.

WINE TASTINGS, DRINK SPECIALS, DINING

Prime Time Tavern 230 Pueblo Ave., 632-5246

Red and black vinyl mingle in this spacious downtown tavern just off Wahsatch, giving it a Marvin Gaye kind of feeling. Adjoining the bar is the A Taste of Home restaurant, offering barbecue and wings. Friday nights, a DJ spins and the dance floor is packed. Most afternoons, well-dressed old-timers from the Elks Club across the street line the bar, telling stories and drinking beer. --KCE

DRINK SPECIALS, DANCING, DJ, RESTAURANT

Yukon Tavern 525 South Circle Drive, 475-0050

click to enlarge Shugas owner Alexius Weston, sittin pretty in her - go-go - boots.
  • Shugas owner Alexius Weston, sittin pretty in her go-go boots.

Did it ever occur to you that you don't have to go to Boston, Dublin or Pueblo to find a cool neighborhood bar? You know, the kind that has eight pool tables, no karaoke, no live music, a kickass jukebox, old-school pinball, leatherette booths, drink specials galore, plenty of space for the regulars and a friendly welcome for newbies? Try the Yukon -- it's been at the same South Circle location for 28 years. And forget all the brunch specials -- hit the Yukon between 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday for the free buffet and the (not free but reasonable) "Build your own Bloody Mary Bar"! --JH

DRINK SPECIALS, FULL MENU, POOL Tables, TV, DARTS, GAMES, JUKEBOX

Blicks Brewing Co. 625 Paonia Street, 596-3192

Got funk? Increase your quota by sliding in the screen door of this microbrewery near Powers for a decidedly un-bar experience of sparse family room furniture, Dad's wooden bowl collection, Grand-Dad's antique bar, a calico cat and handmade brewskis aplenty. Tasty beers named for snowboarding maneuvers include radiant McTwist Scottish Ale and a rich, brooding Corkscrew Porter. Brewmaster Mike Blickenstaff invites you to fire up the onsite barbecue or hold your clan's next get-together under the parachute ceiling of this Everyman's comfy garage getaway. --RS

FAMILY-FRIENDLY, TV, HAPPY HOUR

Club Q 3430 N. Academy Blvd., 570-1429

It's raining men! Specifically, gay men! And lesbians, bis, trannies, straights and every other sexual preference out there. Club Q is the bar that welcomes them all with open arms and a little smoochy air kiss. The drinks are expensive, but once you have a few of them, you won't care anyway. Drag queens perform and host bingo, line-dancing classes are offered, and the food is great. For the more low-key, pool tables and darts take up the back of the spacious club. Check out their Web site, www.clubqonline.com, and see what activities and drink specials are featured for every night of the week. --KL

WIRELESS INTERNET, NONSMOKING, DANCING, GAMES, KARAOKE, DRINK AND FOOD SPECIALS, POOL, STRIPPERS, DRAG NIGHT

Red River Saloon 32 S. Tejon St., 955-5664

Third time's a charm. The tastes of the South and the sounds of Texas have landed right here on the Front Range. Finally: a spot on the Tejon strip for the closet cowboy in you. Break out the boots -- nothing beats country music and cheap beer. Martinis, cocktails, and wine are also available, at standard cost. Red River's clientele is a pleasant mix of ex-32Blueites and new honky-tonkers. This new Saloon still houses the best stage in town for live concerts. --MS

POOL TABLES, JUKEBOXES, LIVE MUSIC, DRINK SPECIALS

Irie Rasta Pub & Grill 315 E. Arvada St., 471-8561

Five months old and growing teeth, the Irie Rasta Pub & Grill comes live, direct and authentic from the island of Jamaica. Open 15 hours every day, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Irie Rasta serves Jerk Chicken or Vegetarian Callaloo Ackee (callaloo is a green leafy vegetable, like spinach, and ackee is Jamaica's national fruit; Callaloo Ackee can also be ordered with shellfish). Wicked Rum Punch is just $4; the signature drink Big Bamboo is a mix of rum, juice and vodka. Everyone is welcome and the place exudes happy, friendly feeling. As David, the chef, says, "All the dishes and drinkies are good and better than good. Are you feeling that now?" --JNN

LIVE REGGAE DAILY, WHENEVER THE PEOPLE CONGREGATE

  • Welcome to the inaugural Independent Drink guide

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Drink

  • Cheap pours

    Cheap pours

    Welcome to the Indy's 2010 Drink Guide, a product that surely would have been more fun to produce had my co-hort Bryce Crawford and I actually sampled all "the goods" about which we were writing.
    • Mar 4, 2010
  • Happy hours

    Happy hours

    We've endeavored to compile the happiest hours, most tempting temptations, and the answer to one of three questions we attempted to ask all of our city's sauce joints.
    • Mar 4, 2010
  • More »

Popular Events

  • A Global Perspective on US Health Care @ The Pinery at the Hill

    • Tue., Dec. 6, 7-8:30 a.m.
  • Bavarian Christmas Dinner and Auction @ Briarhurst Manor Estate

    • Wed., Dec. 7, 5:30 p.m. $75
  • "Britain’s Other Southern Strategy: Royal Governance in Occupied Georgia and South Carolina, 1778-1781" @ Penrose Library

    • Wed., Dec. 7, 7-8 p.m. Free
  • Hanukkah Fair @ Temple Shalom

    • Free
  • 11th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration @ Widefield Parks & Recreation

    • Tue., Dec. 6, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Free, donations of non-perishable food and clothes accepted
    • 1 going/interested

All content © Copyright 2016, The Colorado Springs Independent   |   Website powered by Foundation