A bar is a bar. Whether you’re in a sports bar, a cocktail lounge or a dive bar, while the ambiance might change, you can expect drinks, possibly a small menu of appetizers, and some kind of music (live or from a jukebox). However, these five historically significant bars in Denver offer drinkers more than just a place to throw a few back. They played historic roles in Denver’s story, and are worth a visit for the tradition they carry on in the Mile High City.
The Buckhorn Exchange
1000 Osage St.
Denver, CO 80204
(303) 534-9505

Denver’s oldest restaurant and bar, The Buckhorn Exchange has served food and drinks to patrons for more than 120 years. In fact, The Buckhorn Exchange is so historic it has the very first liquor license issued in the state of Colorado. A registered National Historic Landmark, happy hour is served from 3-6 p.m. every Monday through Thursday. While you’re enjoying some Rocky Mountain Oysters or Smoked Rattlesnake, choose from a large selection of wines , spirits and ales.

Ship Tavern
321 17th St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 297-3111

Opening its doors on August 12, 1892 in the heart of downtown Denver, The Brown Palace Hotel has hosted every United States president since Teddy Roosevelt (with the exception of Calvin Coolidge) as well as The Beatles. Ship Tavern is the hotel’s vintage-style pub. It sits over an artesian well that provides water for the hotel.  The Tavern is open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight with live entertainment Wednesdays through Saturdays starting at 8:30 p.m. Order anything from the finest wines to microbrewed beers at Ship Tavern.

The Cruise Room
1659 Wazee St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 825-1107

Located in Denver’s oldest hotel, The Oxford Hotel, The Cruise Room opened its doors the day after Prohibition was repealed in 1933. Known for its perfectly-concocted martinis and Art Deco design, The Cruise Room was renovated in 2012 to restore its 1930s charm and personality. With a staff of expert mixologists in The Cruise Room, cocktail aficionados are sure to have a wonderful time wetting their whistles at this historic Mile High City bar. Whether you’re out for a night on the town with friends or on a  first date, The Cruise Room serves up fantastic drinks in a stunning setting.

Related:  Top Bars With A Patio In Denver

El Chapultepec
1962 Market St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 295-9126

Also opening its doors when Prohibition was repealed in the 1930s, El Chapultepec is Denver’s historic dive bar. While Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Red Holloway, Plas Johnson, Charlie Rouse, and even President Bill Clinton (on the sax) have performed at The Pec, this place is as no-frills as a bar gets, which makes it so beloved in the local community. Hosting some of Denver’s greatest jazz musicians, good music and strong drinks are guaranteed at El Chapultepec. For those who find they had imbibed one too many drinks, order up some of The Pec’s famous chicken or beef tacos.

Nob Hill Inn
420 E. Colfax Ave,
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 860-7557

Local lore tells of a time when Bob Dylan visited Hob Hill Inn for a few drinks. Open since 1954, Nob Hill Inn on Colfax Avenue is another old Denver watering hole with lots of character and history. Located minutes away from the state’s Capitol building, this bar starts serving drinks every day at 8 a.m. for those who need some extra lubrication to power through whatever lays ahead of them. From state lawmakers and lobbyists to starving artists and the underemployed, all of Nob Hill Inn’s patrons are greeted with a hard bar stool and a cold drink.

Related: Top Bars In Denver For Day Drinking

A Denver native, Alli Andress has been a writer for over a decade. Over the course of her career, Andress has written about topics ranging from indie music, animals, health issues and the best of the Mile High City. Her work can be found on Examiner.com