In Colorado, happy hour isn't just a time of day with food and drink specials. It’s not just an after work activity, or a chance to sit out on a Pearl street patio under a giant umbrella. To Happy Hour, is a verb; a bonafide activity and a deeply ingrained part of Colorado culture. In Boulder, it’s right up there with a hike up Sanitas, a stroll downtown, or an afternoon in Chautauqua Park. And for good reason. The specials are abundant, the culinary scene is cutting edge, and the craft cocktails and beer flow freely.
Below, our top 10 guide (in order) to Boulder’s Best Happy Hours, all of which are local, sustainable and very good options to fill that 4 to 7pm time period in your life.
1. West End Tavern A beer and whiskey tavern with a perfect west Pearl location and an awesome rooftop patio. A true Boulder staple.
Find it at: 626 Pearl Street. thewestendtavern.com When to go: Monday through Friday 3pm-6pm, Thursday through Saturday 9pm -12am, Happy Hour Wings All Day Monday The Special:
Food: Look for everything from a $1 pickle jar to $3 fries (+ fixings for $5), to deviled eggs, sliders and burgers from $4-5.
Drinks: Discounts on beer (draft and bottles) between $2.5 - $3.5, house wine for $4, strong signature cocktails for $5 and wells for $3.5.
Do NOT leave without trying: The “Not your Grandma’s Bourbon and Ginger” cocktail. It’s delicious, especially with a side of pickles.
2. Fate The semi-new, family-friendly east Boulder craft brewery, pushing the envelope with innovative beers.
Find it at: 1600 38th Street Boulder, CO 8030. One block west of Foothills Parkway on Arapahoe Road. fatebrewingcompany.com When to go: 3pm - 5:30pm Monday through Friday. Or when it’s snowing. The Special:
Food: Tons of options, from caramelized sweet potatoes ($4), to hummus ($4), fried pickles and tomatoes ($4), and rotating daily sliders ($4).
Drink: Delicious draft beers for $3.5, house wine $4, well cocktails $4.
Do NOT leave without trying: The Apollo Tsai, a hopped up honey wheat ale infused with Earl of Grey tea. One of our favorite beers in the world. It’s only available seasonally, so a strong runner up would be the Laimas Coffee Kolsch, or if you’re a fan of hops, the Moirai Coffee IPA.
3. Pizzeria Locale Incredible Napoletana style pizzas, baked with perfectly chewy crust, high-quality toppings and served unsliced as they do in Italia.
Find it at: 1730 Pearl Street, localeboulder.com When to go: Everyday between 4:30 - 5:30pm (it fills up so go early or make a reservation for a large party) The Special:
Food: $2-5 Small plates and appetizers between $2 - 5 and select pizzas between $5-8.
Drink: Beer, wine, a special cocktail called the Contratto Crush, and shots of espresso range between $1-4.
Do NOT leave without trying: The Diavolo Pizza. We prefer without salami, but either way, the smoked mozzarella is to die for.
4. Hapa You may not think Colorado and sushi go together, but this downtown restaurant is nearly always packed due to it’s creative rolls and affordable prices.
Find it at: 1117 Pearl St., hapasushi.com When to go: Monday-Saturday 2:30-5:30pm, Thursday-Saturday 10pm-Midnight The Special:
Food: Beginner rolls (pretty simple) are 2 for $7. Starters, including Hawaiian calamari and crispy fried ahi, are all half off.
Drink: Beer, Hot Sake, Fresh Fruit Infused Sake, Sake Cocktails and Well Drinks range from $2 - $3.50
Do NOT leave without trying: The Monkey Brain, a messy combination of tempura avocado, spicy tuna, crab salad, drizzled with Sriracha mayo and sweet soy and topped with green onions and a g-spot cocktail or purple haze sake. 5. Tahona A casual restaurant/bar on West Pearl with good food, strong margs and a fun late night vibe.
Find it at: 1035 Pearl Street, 303.938.9600, tahonaboulder.com When to go: Mondays: 4 pm-close, Tuesdays-Thursdays: 4pm-6pm, Fridays and Sundays: 3pm-6pm, Saturdays: 11:30am - 6pm The Special:
Food: All Sides/Snacks, including beet burger slider, spiced hummus and kale chips, $5 and under.
Drink: Local microbrews, $3, select cocktails (margs and moscow mules) $5, wine $6.
Do NOT leave without trying: If you’re into veggies, the beet burger is delish. Pair with a moscow mule and a side of garlic smashers and you’ve got dinner.
7. Corner Bar Located in Boulder’s iconic Boulderado Hotel, the Corner Bar is a favorite amongst locals, with consistent food and a historic atmosphere. Don’t miss the popular patio in summer months.
Find it at: 13th & Spruce in the Boulderado Hotel, cornerbarboulderado.com When to go: Everyday between 3:00pm - 6:00pm The Special:
Food: Select small plates, appetizers and salads are all %40 off.
Drink: Beer, wine and wells range from $3-5.
Do NOT leave without trying: If you’re feeling healthy, the flash-fried brussel sprouts are terrific. If not, the nachos are giant and cheesy. Pair either with a local microbrew.
8. Brasserie 1010 One block off Pearl, “1010” is another local favorite, with high quality French favorites in a European cafe-style setting.
Find it at: 1011 Walnut Street, brasserietenten.com When to go: Everyday between 3:00-6:30pm. Seating is limited to the bar. Get there early! The Special:
Food: Hors d'oeuvres from $3-6, seafood specials from $4-6, Fromage & Charcuterie, 6.75 each or 18.75 for 3.
Drink: Beer $3.25, wine $4, various cocktails $4-6.
Do NOT leave without trying: The Kir Royal or house Martini for just $6, with a fromage charcuterie, hericots verts (tempura fried green beans), or nicoise salad with tuna, olives and egg.
9. Da Gabi Cucina Definitely known as a local’s spot, Da Gabi is tucked within a small broadway shopping center, serving most of north Boulder’s residents. Over the years it has developed a great reputation and is typically crowded, especially during happy hour and in summer months.
Find it at: 3970 North Broadway (next to Lucky’s market), dagabicucina.com When to go: Everyday between 5:00-6:30 and all night on Tuesdays The Special:
Food: A huge selection of tapas from $3-8 each, including pizzas, pastas, polenta, cheese plates, veggies, seafood, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
Drinks: Beer, wine, sangria and cocktails range from $3-6.
Do NOT leave without trying: The fresh baked bread with balsamic is delicious, as is any pizza, sauteed button mushrooms and polenta. Pair with a tall glass of sangria.
10. SALT With one of Pearl Street’s best locations (long-time Boulderites may know it as the Tom’s Tavern building), Salt hits the mark on food, drink and ambiance, with a casual bar and patio upstairs, and a cool late(r) night bar downstairs.
Find it at: 1047 Pearl Street, saltthebistro.com When to go: Everyday between 3:00-5pm The Special:
Food: Various snacks, soups and burgers between $2-10
Drink: Beer $3-4, wine $4, cocktails between $5-6
Do NOT leave without trying: The Quinoa Burger and a can of Upslope (local Boulder brewery) beer.