The Coolest Speakeasies in Denver: 5 Secret Bars In Denver You Shouldn’t Miss

These speakeasies in Denver, Colorado might be unassuming from the outside, but these secret bars offer old-time thrills in one of the state’s coolest cities.

Speakeasies in Denver

Tracking down the world’s best foodie experiences is one of our favorite pastimes here at Flavor the Globe. Whether it’s food, drink, or creation, taking a unique approach to dining or food entertainment is a sure way to reach our hearts. Well, the city of Denver has long been one of our favorite foodie destinations, and a big reason is the creative approach to dining and drinking in the city

Speakeasies in Denver have a storied history. These secret bars trace their history back to the prohibition era when bootleggers such as Omar D. Blair and George Morrison Sr. brewed and sold their own whiskey from secret locations in the city, always risking the threat of capture from state and federal agents.

During the nearly 14-years that prohibition lasted in the United States, Denver, particularly the five-points neighborhood, was a hotbed of illegal alcohol distribution. From moonshine to bathtub gin, homemade beer to vodka and bourbon, Denver speakeasies were the place to go for underground liquor.

While most of the original speakeasies in Denver have long since disappeared, these secret bars, which can be found only if you know how to look for them, still offer the thrill of adventure. Some of these unassuming shops have secret entrances or passcodes that you need to know before entering, others are hidden enough that you might need to know a few people to find them.

But if you’re looking for some unique drinking experiences in the Mile-High City, these Denver speakeasies offer a thrill with a side of flavor.

Green Russell

1422 Larimer St, Denver

Bartender creating a Smoke Daddy Cocktail at Green Russell Denver Speakeasy
Photo courtesy of Green Russell. Photo credit: Joni Schrantz

You won’t find the Green Russell Denver Speakeasy by looking for it from the street. This secret bar is hidden behind Wednesday’s Pie Shop off Larimer St. near 14th St.

This “chef-driven” neo speakeasy is the brainchild of chef Frank Bonnano, and it is as much a Denver foodie joint as it is one of the coolest cocktail bars in the city.

To access Green Russel, you’ll need to enter through the lobby of Russell’s Smokehouse, which serves up some of the best barbecue in Denver and make your way down a nondescript stairwell to the restaurant’s underground cocktail bar.

Once down there, you’ll need to tuck your camera away. There is no photography allowed at Green Russell, and to be fair, the dimly lit atmosphere that outlines raw stone walls lined with intricately framed mirrors and plush couches would be difficult to capture properly without a high-end camera.

Once inside, saddle up to the bar or tuck yourself mysteriously into a dark, corner booth, and enjoy a wide selection of cocktail choices from the expert bartenders on staff. You’ll find a plethora of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic offerings. I’m personally a huge fan of their signature “smoke daddy” cocktail which combines Vida mezcal, Wild Turkey 101, Angostura bitters, Giffard Banane Du Brasil, pineapple, Orgeat, cinnamon, and Angostura Bitters into a delightfully raw beverage with enough kick to tighten your cheeks. It’s one of those beverages where the experience of watching it being created is as enjoyable as the experience of drinking it.

Interested in learning more? You can check out their website here.


530 E 19th Ave, Denver

Retrograde isn’t your Grandfathers speakeasy. This hip and modern bar can be accessed via a secret entrance tucked into the back of the Frozen Matter ice cream shop in Uptown. Flick a light switch and you’ll be greeted by the staff of this funky Denver speakeasy.

This resto-bar has a revolving menu of creations crafted up by chef Michael Cooper. Keep on top of their Facebook page to see what is on the menu, because it is in a constant state of flux. Quality cuisine that includes glass noodle salad mixed with mango, peanuts, mint, basil, tomato, mango purée, and Thai chili along with heavier courses such as Pork ragú topped with pappardelle, basil, mozzarella, and a side of garlic bread are just a few of the dishes you might find.

The food is fabulous, but another big draw of Retrograde are their signature cocktails. These high-end spirits all run off of a Hollywood movie theme with a heavy leaning towards B-list movies such as Lavantula and Frankenfish. I always lean towards “They Live” not only because Rowdy Roddy Piper killed it blasting aliens in this early 1990s film, but also because the combination of brown butter fat washed Weller, Butchertown brandy, chai Cocchi, salted caramel, and Bogart’s Bitters is scrumptious.

The Cruise Room

1659 Wazee St, Denver

The Cruise Room Denver Speakeasy
Photo credit: The Cruise Room

Tucked inside the Oxford Hotel on Waze St. is one of the most luxurious and authentic speakeasies in Denver. The Cruise Room is the very first bar in Denver to open after prohibition ended in December of 1933. In fact, this Denver speakeasy opened the very next day.

The high-energy jazz, art deco ambiance, and signature martinis of The Cruise Room harken back to the vibrant post-prohibition days. It’s not just one of Denver’s best bars, it’s an iconic landmark in the city. It remains Denver’s longest-running bar and is a must-visit when in the city.

While you can nibble on small plates within The Cruise Room, it’s more of a bar than a lounge. Guests are more likely sipping on old-fashioned martinis and gin-tonics than fueling up for a night on the town. If you’re interested in enjoying a meal, McCormick’s Fish House and Bar is right next door.

You can book a reservation at The Cruise Room on their website right here.


249 Columbine St, Denver

If you’re looking for the most authentic of all of the speakeasies in Denver, look no further than B&GC nested in the basement of the beautiful Halcyon Hotel on Columbine St.

B&GC has been the go-to secret bar in Denver for the city’s rich and powerful since the years following the second world war. In true blue blood style, this Denver speakeasy turns its nose up at the ordinary and its dark and cozy ambiance offers just enough snootiness to let you know that you’ve arrived somewhere special.

This old-world bar has been revived from the remains of what was once the Cherry Creek Post Office. The elegance and prosperity of the day is evident in every corner of this drinking spot that remains a go-to destination for the city’s elite.

To access the bar you’ll need to access “Stair 3” via a nondescript bell. Once rung, a doorman will place you on the list. Or, to ensure your spot is ready for you, you can text them in advance at 720-925-8598.

Williams and Graham

Cocktail on a bar at Williams and Graham speakeasy in Denver Colorado
Photo courtesy of Williams & Graham. Photo credit: Joshua Lohmer

3160 Tejon St, Denver

Accessing this speakeasy in Denver is done through a non-descript bookstore, however, once you find and pull the secret book you’ll gain access to one of Denver’s best award-winning secret bars. Once inside you’ll be greeted with an upscale atmosphere set alongside a soundtrack that will keep your energy right in that sweet spot for as long as you stay.

Inside you’ll find a menu with more than 60 expertly crafted cocktails and a narrow but mouthwatering selection of food bites that included macaroni and cheese served with bacon jam and a lobster BLT sandwich.

While many of the Denver speakeasies are dim and raw, entering Williams and Graham is resoundingly cheerful. The casual elegance is downright charming and inviting. From the radiant smiles of the bartending staff to the warm comfortable smells of the kitchen, this is a Denver Speakeasy you won’t mind being caught in.

Interested in making a reservation? You can connect with them right here.

There’s More To Denver Than Meets The Eye

Denver, Colorado has a rich history of creative approaches to food and drink. I’ve written in the past about how dining was one of my favorite things to do in Denver with my kids.

While these speakeasies in Denver might not be at the top of my list when I’m traveling with my kids, I can inevitably be found at least one of these secret bars every time I visit the city.

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The best speakeasies in Denver

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