The history of Denver, as it relates to drinking, extends to the city’s first permanent drinking establishment. The city’s first saloon opened its doors when Denver was still considered a frontier town. At that time, the location had already gone through the gold boom and had developed into a goods and supply hub for miners who had money to spare. Within its first 50 years as a city, Denver welcomed more than 400 saloons. Drinking has been a large part of Denver’s unique culture ever since.
A handful of Denver’s original historical drinking establishments still stand. For instance, the Buckhorn Exchange, founded in 1893, holds the distinction of being issued the state’s first liquor license. The bar was erected to serve migrant railroad workers, but exists today as an iconic Denver landmark that is a National Historic Landmark. A total of five American Presidents have dined at the Buckhorn Exchange, where they were given the distinct pleasure of being seated among the bar’s 575-piece taxidermy exhibit.
Gone are the days in Denver when one could only legally consume alcohol via a doctor’s prescription. Today, the city ranks fifth in the United States among the number of craft breweries per capita. There are currently approximately 15 craft breweries per 500,000 Denver residents. The numbers increase significantly each year. However, the older historical establishments retain the allure of their history.
If you are interested in finding out more about the drinking history of Denver, along with more recent and delightful microbrewery discoveries, please contact us to schedule a Denver Microbrew Tour, where our seasoned professional tour guides will entice you with interesting beer trivia as you sample local offerings.