Escape the Crowd with these 7 Denver Speakeasy Choices 

Photo courtesy: Retrograde

Photo courtesy: Retrograde

Secret Doors, Old-school Cocktails are all the Rage

If slipping into bars through freezer doors or bookcases sounds like fun, plan an evening at one of Denver’s speakeasies and step into the Prohibition era. On Jan. 16, 1920, alcohol was banned in the U.S., but that didn’t stop people from creating their own bars that were hidden from police. Today’s speakeasies are much less controversial but just as fun. For a taste of the past, try a few of the modern-era hideouts.


Retrograde – North Capitol Hill

An ice cream shop on the front where you can enter the bar through the freezer door. Once inside you will find a cozy bar with twinkling lights and a friendly atmosphere. They create specialty cocktails based on flavor preferences. They allow you to give the bartender your favorite alcohol and favorite drink and they create a special cocktail tailored to your tastes. This is a must see in downtown Denver. 


Green Russell – Larimer Square

Follow the signs that point you down a set of stairs to a door that says, “Wednesday’s Pies.” Head into the (fully functional) pie shop, tell the hostess you’re looking for Green Russell, and you’ll be escorted through another door that leads to this bar. Inside you will find traditional 1920’s rules that include no cellphones. Expect bar food that goes above the norm and updated takes on classic cocktails.

Photo courtesy: Williams and Graham Website

Photo courtesy: Williams and Graham Website

Williams and Graham – LoHi

Head inside the Williams and Graham “bookstore” and give the staff your name to add to the waiting list. Eventually, one of the bookcases will swing open and you’ll be taken to your spot inside the bar. Arrive early because this exclusive bar has only seven tables.


B&GC– Cherry Creek

This bar is in the Halcyon Hotel and to find the entrance to the bar, you'll need to head down the alley between Second and Third avenues. Look for a sign that says "Stair 3" and a golden doorbell. It helps to have reservations.


The Cruise Room - LoDo

Dipping into a bit of history, the Cruise Room opened its doors the day after Prohibition was repealed. They still serve their popular martinis and other 1920’s-style cocktails. To get in, head into the main lobby of the Oxford Hotel, go past the Urban Farmer Denver steakhouse and you’ll find the Cruise Room on your right.

Ste. Ellie – Highlands

If you head through the inconspicuous glass door to the right of Colt & Gray’s entrance and take the stairs down to the basement you will find a sister bar to Colt & Gray’s. Here, you can find food that ranges from oysters to deluxe burgers and specially crafted cocktails.


-          Jamie Mills