Bar Trail 

A neat shot of Springs sip spots

Whether it's to blow off steam with your workmates, appreciate a drink with your significant bother, or to meet someone new (good luck, champ!) you'll probably be thinking of heading out for a drink at some point.

Go ahead, you can do it. And we can help.

For the oenophile

Swirl Wine Bar (717 Manitou Ave., #102, Manitou Springs, swirlismybar.com): Operated by a sommelier, Swirl seeks unique wine labels unique to town. You can sample by 2- or 6-ounce pours, or hit the bottle. It's not a huge list, but it's a tight one.

2South Food + Wine Bar (2 S. 25th St., 2southwinebar.com): Thanks to an impressive, high-tech wine storage system called the Pod Bar, you can sample more than 60 wines by the glass before you commit, which is easy to do in this lovely atmosphere.

The Blue Star (1645 S. Tejon St., thebluestar.net): This takes fine dining to that next level, boasting a cellar with around 800 bottles, plus a killer half-off wine night — featuring roughly 75 percent of that list — on Sundays.

Summit at The Broadmoor (1 Lake Ave., broadmoor.com/summit): Seriously, have you seen that giant wine-wheel thingy behind the bar, that looks like some high-tech torture rack? If that's the display alone, just imagine the quality of what spills out of its bottles.

Make it a margarita

José Muldoon's (5710 S. Carefree Circle, 222 N. Tejon St., josemuldoons.com): Offers 10 specialty margaritas, including the Pama, made with pomegranate liqueur. Get a taster tray to try four samples.

Crystal Park Cantina (178 Crystal Park Road, Manitou Springs, crystalparkcantina.com): The Fighting Sue margarita is a beauty, with Sauza Silver, fresh house mix and lime juice cut by a small pour of Pacifico beer. It's only $5 during daily happy hours.

The Loop (965 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, theloopatmanitou.com): From 16 house specialties, get the Skinny Margarita, concocted with Tequila Partida, lime juice and agave nectar for big, boozy notes upfront and a nicely not-oversweet finish.

La Rosa Southwestern Dining (25 State Hwy. 105, Palmer Lake, larosasouthwesterndining.com): From its extensive house tequila list, go easy with the House Margarita, made with fresh lime juice, Dulce Vida agave nectar and organic Dulce Vida blanco tequila, which ages at the bar inside a small oak barrel.

Whispering 'whiskey'

The Principal's Office (1604 S. Cascade Ave., poativywild.com): Consider this a joint nod to Ivywild sister outfit The Blue Star, as both tend to do gorgeous things to our beloved local Distillery 291 whiskey.

Bourbon Brothers Southern Kitchen (13021 Bass Pro Drive, bourbonbrothers.com): Building upon what consulting chef Victor Matthews started at his Black Bear Restaurant and Bourbon Bar, the new Bourbon Brothers stocks upward of 125 bourbons for neat sampling.

Urban Steam Coffee Bar and Café (1025 S. Sierra Madre St., urbansteamcoffee.com): The promotion of Whiskey Sour Wednesdays, where Bulleit Bourbon sours are $6, speaks to some of Urban Steam's intentions.

Head to a hipster dive

Triple Nickel Tavern (26 S. Wahsatch Ave., triplenickeltavern.com): Who cares if Brother Luck Street Eats has classed up the adjoining space with fancy food? Luck's diners join the cool kids next door, where Odell's Cutthroat Porter on nitro is almost a disconnect from the otherwise everyman offerings.

Shuga's (702 S. Cascade Ave., shugas.com): PBR patronage rubs elbows with those in for the famous lavender blossom martini or creative concoctions like the beet-infused-vodka and ginger-lemon Beet Down. That there are "crappy beer of the week" and "pretentious beer of the week" specials, says it all.

Zodiac Venue and Bar (230 Pueblo Ave., zodiacvenue.com): Once again, craft beers co-headline with crap beers (let's be honest) so that everybody's welcome to the party. And at Zodiac, with its many live performances and superlative staff, there usually is a party.

Tony's Bar (311 N. Tejon St., moving across the street in June, tonysdowntownbar.com): Somebody scream, "Schlitz!" Wet your whistle Wisconsin-style in a pre-, post- or primary party at this delectable dive. Chew cheese curds and sip some session suds with each squeak between your teeth.

Supernova Bar and Arcade (111 E. Boulder St., supernovabar.com): It's the Springs' first bar/ arcade, sporting an array of vintage arcade games next to screamin' deals like $3 wines, wells and domestics at weekday happy hours.

West-side walkin'

Motif (2432 Cucharras St., motifwest.com): Open Thursdays through Saturdays, this swank jazz bar does basic cocktails and a handful of beloved Colorado craft beers by the bottle. The ambiance is everything, though from the small-plate menu, the shoestring white truffle fries topped in shaved Manchego are reason alone to visit.

Upstairs at La Baguette (2417 W. Colorado Ave., 577-4818): Again just Thursdays through Saturdays, address your appetite for absinthe, served here with elegant, slow-drip water fountains, ornate glassware and slotted spoons for sugar dilution. Find some exclusive Polish beers, too.

503W (503 W. Colorado Ave., 503w.co): The gorgeously overhauled former Dutch Mill Tavern now boasts one of the better beer lists in town, which includes around 20 craft beer bottles plus high-end bombers. Fine spirits will also be found.

East-side talkin'

Frankie's (945 N. Powers Blvd., frankiesbargrill.com): It's your sports stop for lamenting epic meltdowns (and celebrating victories) and a favorite watering hole for Peterson Air Force Base folk. Keep in mind Frankie's Too at 7376 McLaughlin Road in Falcon, um, too.

The Cow Pub & Grill (5885 Stetson Hills Blvd., 465-1704): Every night of the week has its draw: Cornhole Tournament Mondays with a $100 cash prize; Beer Pong Tuesdays with $200 up for grabs; and the stellar $14.99 deal on Sundays where you get bites and bottomless Bloody Marys or mimosas until 1 p.m.

Rhino's Sports & Spirits (4307 Integrity Center Point, rhinossportsbar.com): With more than a dozen styles of wings on its big bar menu, Rhino's makes a case for dining while drinking. Find cornhole and beer pong nights, poker, pool and darts, and also UFC fights on the array of giant TVs.

Club Q (3430 N. Academy Blvd., clubqonline.com): You'll just have to go to find out how Sexxxy Saturdays (yes, I did mean to type all those Xs) differ from Wet Wednesdays, Fusion Fridays and Turnt Up Tuesdays. But suffice to say, this beloved LGBT party bar is the place in town to dance and let the night "drag" out in style.

Copperhead Road Honkey Tonk Saloon (3330 N. Academy Blvd., copperheadroadbar.com): This from its website: "Copperhead Road throws the wildest Saturday night parties in Colorado." Well, there you go. Beat that. You could also try open mic or line dance nights. Beware the "Lipstick Bandits."

BooDad's Beach House Grill (5910 Omaha Blvd., boodadsbeachhouse.com): BooDad's acts as our local volleyball hub, hosting Sand Pits Beach Volleyball league play in the warm months. The restaurant boasts a commendable beer list and Cajun-inspired menu.

True north

Back East Bar & Grill (9475 Briar Village Point, backeastbarandgrill.com): Rumors are true that Back East just took over what used to be the 1st & 10 Sports Bar & Grill in Monument; look for an opening sometime in May. At this home base, hit up weekly live music or game nights but also a right respectable beer menu.

Cleats Bar & Grill (6624 Delmonico Drive, cleats.homestead.com): More than 20 big TVs here are constantly broadcasting some form of sport. But if you're a player, the pool, darts, poker, bingo and Golden Tee await your active attention.

Good Company Bar (7625 N. Union Blvd., goodcompanybar.com): Good Company probably boasts more karaoke per square foot than any other local bar (i.e., five nights weekly) and splashes its "sexy staff" all across its Facebook pages.

Dublin House (1850 Dominion Way, 265-8820): $2 Taco Tuesdays battle Wednesday's $4 Red-Headed Sluts and or Washington Apple Shots for Dublin House supremacy. It's sorta Irish, sorta sports bar, all-the-way accommodating.

Southern comfort

Hatch Cover (252 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., hatchcover.biz): "Fire means FIRE! No Refunds!" So it says on the menu, promoting Hatch Cover's 50-cent fire wings, made with both habañeros and Bhut Jolokia peppers. But you don't have to be a masochist to enjoy this bar. Wide and generous happy hours, plus gaming (including foosball), singing and sports viewing draw Broadmoor-area peeps in their casual clothes.

The Golden Bee at The Broadmoor (1 Lake Ave., broadmoor.com): No promise you'll find your sugar mama or daddy, just because you know there's money in the house (beers starting at $6.50/pint being just one piece of evidence). But the authentic English atmosphere is awesome, regardless.

Tejon Street clubs

Oscar's Tejon Street (333 S. Tejon St., oscarstejonstreetbar.com): Once adulthood delivers the sad realization that the world isn't really your oyster, it's best to head to a place like Oscar's for a giant plate of fresh oysters (on the 2-for-1 deal, Mondays through Thursdays until 7 p.m., of course), then suck 'em down with so much horseradish that you can blame your tears on that.

SouthSide Johnny's (528 S. Tejon St., southsidejohnnys.biz): Sweet potato fries! Sorry, I just blurted that out. Well, that's what we often drop in for, with a beer or cocktail. But the business crowd loves lunch, while the late-nighters love the regular live music, and bikers tune into the Sunday brunch.

Cowboys Night Club (25 N. Tejon St., cowboyscs.com): Some go for line dancing, but soon you'll be hitting Cowboys for its new 700-person, third-floor concert venue, coming in to replace the not-so-old bowling alley. Expect more than just country music, as Cowboys is as eclectic as it is expansive. And it's only one-fifth of the Colorado Springs Premier Night Clubs block-monopoly graciously brought to us by the Guadagnoli family.

Blondie's/Red Martini Lounge/Gasoline Alley/Mansion (Tejon Street, between Kiowa Street and Pikes Peak Avenue, csnightclubs.com): Here's the other 4/5 of the Guadagnoli empire, with each sporting its own brand, vibe, tone and fan-base. From dark and swank to loud and lit-up, peruse them all and find your fit, night-to-night or for the rest of your drinking days.

V Bar (19 E. Kiowa St., vbarcs.com): Technically just off the strip, the V Bar operates as a classy little cocktail lounge with a punk's heart and touch of counterculture. Martini Mondays (where they're half off) are awesome, while deejays keep other nights of the week equally lively and worthwhile. Make it your stop before or after the nearby Rabbit Hole. 

Hunting happy hour?

The iNDYScene app details daily deals at more than 100 local bars, as well as food, music and entertainment options. Download it through the Apple App Store or Google Play, or send a text to "77948" for a link. (Text and data charges may apply.)


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