It’s one thing to drink hot cider and eat turkey or roast ham. It’s another thing entirely to dine on seasonal winter dishes in the comfort of a holiday wonderland.
Come Christmas, some of Denver’s best eateries, bars and hotels decorate with enough twinkle lights and garlands to make any Grinch’s heart grow three sizes. Plus, they pair the decor with special holiday eats and drinks that can warm a belly on the coldest winter’s eve.
Here are our favorite places to eat in Denver around the holidays, from a pop-up cocktail bar to Union Station.
1 Miracle at Avanti Wolf Bar
Since the first Miracle bar popped up in a New York cocktail bar, the festive holiday drinking experience has spread to major cities throughout the nation, including Denver. The annual shindig has appeared inside the Wolf Bar at Avanti Food & Beverage in LoHi for the past two years and returns again for a thrilling three-peat in 2019. The bar serves holiday-appropriate cocktails, both warm and cold, in Santa mugs, Hanukkah-themed highballs and more enviable glassware, inside a space strung with Christmas lights and all manner of ridiculous seasonal decorations. If Avanti proves too crowded, you can try your luck at the second location in Larimer Square.
3200 N Pecos St, Denver, CO 80211
2 Sippin' Santa
For a tropical spin on a holiday bar, head out to Arvada Tavern where Miracle’s sister pop-up Sippin’ Santa supplies guests with all manner of rum-based cocktails that merge the traditional warm fuzzies of the winter season with breezy, tropical, tiki vibes. Bring a group of friends to enjoy one of the pop-up’s punch bowls.
5707 Olde Wadsworth Blvd, Arvada, CO 80002
3 Rhein Haus
For an old-fashioned European Christmas celebration, head to this Bavarian-style restaurant in LoDo. With two bars and four bocce courts, plus all the steins of beer you can drink and pretzels you can eat, the restaurant provides good times all year round. But things get especially festive around these parts during the Christmas season, when the garlands and twinkle lights come out, and hearty bratwurst by the fire just seems so right.
1415 Market St #1706, Denver, CO 80202
4 Christkindl Market
If Rhein Huas doesn’t provide enough old country holiday feels for you, head outside to this traditional German holiday market. Wander among the gift sellers (and costumed characters like Krampus and the Christkind) while sipping on Glühwein, then warm up in the Festival Hall as you dig in to smoked salmon, pretzels and, of course, beer.
1515 Arapahoe Street, Denver, CO 80202
5 Cooper Lounge
The best Christmas decorations in town can always be found at Union Station. The historic landmark building lights up with red and green outside and a massive tree inside, along with garlands, lights, ornaments, and the works. Set on the train station’s mezzanine, the Cooper Lounge provides great views paired with excellent cocktails and classy bar bites. Stop by to visit Union’s resident Santa on Sundays leading up to Christmas then treat yourself to a snack and a drink above the beautiful rush of travelers below.
1701 Wynkoop St., Denver, CO 80202
6 The Brown Palace Hotel
The Brown Palace is famous for its annual Champagne cascade on Christmas Eve, when swordsmen sabre off the ends of bottles to pour a waterfall of bubbly down 6,000 glasses stacked two stories high in the hotel atrium. Whether you attend the event itself, enjoy dinner beside the glass tree the night before during the Champagne Cascade Dinner, or reserve a table at the annual Christmas dinner at the hotel’s Palace Arms restaurant, you’ll be assured a festive atmosphere complete with picture perfect Christmas decorations.
321 17th St, Denver, CO 80202
7 The Thin Man
This dive bar in City Park West is decorated with Christmas lights (or some variation) pretty much all year round, so if you’re itching for a festive spirit before other restaurants have bothered switching out decor (or days after New Year’s when the rest of town returns to normalcy) head over to The Thin Man for some craft beer and fries.
2015 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80206
This article is sponsored by Downtown Denver Partnership. To learn more about this year's holiday events in Downtown Denver, visit downtowndenver.com/winter.