6 Hard-Core Bars Bringing Punk and Metal to Denver

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If you live in or have visited Denver, you should know by now that there are endless amounts of fun to be had and adventures to be seen in the Mile High City. However, there are also scenes perhaps less traveled by. Here at 303 Magazine, we’re here to bring every type of scene into the spotlight. This article goes out to the head-bangers, punk-rockers, metal-heads and anyone looking to explore those worlds. In Denver, we’re not only all about mountain adventures and cutsie food and booze spots — and these rock places are here to prove it. So, buckle up and take a dive with us into some of Denver’s hottest spots to enjoy hard-core drinks, bold gastropub grub and atmospheres that will have you head-banging on your way out.

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Where: 1618 E 17th Ave, Denver

Hours: Monday: 4 p.m. – 2 a.m., Wednesday – Sunday: 4 p.m. – 2 a.m., Closed on Tuesday.

The Lowdown: This horror-themed restaurant and bar will have you feeling spooky in all the best ways. Sip salutations among skeletons, ghouls, goblins and other freaky acquaintances. Play pool and get retro with pinball under the erie red lights. Indulge in the distinctive eats offered at The Crypt that parallel the bold flavor this spot brings to the Denver scene. While vegan items like Pakora Fritters ($7), Poutine ($7), Muffuletta ($9) and Falafel ($9) make up most of the menu, there are also mouth-watering options for all the meat-eaters out there. For the non-vegan eaters, delight in The Crypt Burger ($9), the fully loaded Double Crypt Burger ($12) or take a dive into the Crypt’s super-rich and cheesy French Onion Soup ($7). Pair your experience with one of The Crypt’s many beer options found either in cans, bottles or on tap. If you’re looking for a food and booze experience unlike any other, make a stop at The Crypt — if you dare.

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Where: 1967 South Broadway, Denver

Hours: Monday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.

The Lowdown: You might need to break out the neck brace if you’re heading to The Brutal Poodle. They don’t miss when it comes to hard-core punk and metal. One of the best things about this place is their embrace of “man’s best friend,” otherwise known as dogs! So, don’t be afraid to bring your four-legged friends with you as you eat, drink and head-bang your way through the day. The Brutal Poodle goes deeper than their A1 atmosphere. Their gastropub-inspired bites will have you doing the happy dance…and maybe head-banging with excitement, too. From the spicy jalapeño poppers known as Poodle Bites ($9) to the wildly over-the-top Southbound Defibrillator Signature Brutal Mac ($17), Brisket Sammy ($13) and more, the Brutal Poodle is serving up some major bar food that is definitely worth your while. Their insane beer and cocktail list won’t disappoint either. Grab your dog, head over to The Brutal Poodle and get ready to rock n’ roll! 

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Where: 227 N Broadway, Denver

Hours: Monday – Thursday: 3 p.m. – 11 p.m., Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m., Sunday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

The Lowdown: If you’re under 21, get outta here. This heavy hitter bringing true metal to the Denver area is no joke. Found just outside of Cap Hill in Denver’s Baker neighborhood, TRVE Brewing is the spot to unleash the metal in you. The bountiful flavors on tap offered at TRVE Brewing also pack a punch. Take a stab at the Mortal Spheres (6.8%), an IPA Hopped with Mosaic and Mandarina Bavaria, the Black Cascade (7.0%), a Black IPA Hopped with Ekuanot, Centennial and Chinook or the Ostara (5.7%), a mixed culture sour golden ale with dandelion, lemongrass and lemon peel to name a few. TRVE Brewing is also now Denver’s home to Music City Hot Chicken. For the fried chicken enthusiasts, this is heaven — there’s Nashville-style fried chicken right at your fingertips. For an experience and flavors that will have you singing on the way out, get on over the TRVE Brewing.

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Where: 5126 E. Colfax Ave., Denver

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. Closed on Monday.

The Lowdown: Slashers is always slinging the cocktails, horror movies and punk tunes you’ve been craving. For the hardcore metal goth heads, this spot is everything and some. Right on Denver’s famous Colfax Avenue, Slashers is hard to miss. When you walk through the doors, you’ll know you found the right place. The room is filled with a dark ambiance, deep red lights and black leather seats that scream punk bar. Would you expect any less from their cocktails? I hope not. Cocktails like the Psycho Cop NightCap ($16), made of bacon fat washed dark rum, cold brew liquor, full-fat coconut milk and salted vanilla brown sugar simple syrup, simply prove the point. Don’t miss the Mergers & Acquisitions ($16), Rhonda Calm Down! ($16) or Adrian’s Juicebox ($14). At Slashers, they’re not only delivering goth vibes and drinks to make you clammer, but they also often host fun events like trivia, comedy shows and game nights.  

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Where: 490 Santa Fe Drive, Denver

Hours: Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 1 a.m., Sunday: 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The Lowdown: Located in Denver’s Baker neighborhood, Black Sky Brewery is a place for munchies, malts and metal. From the atmosphere down to the drinks and music, this place is all metal all the time. Dig into gastropub munchies like Garlic Nubs ($8), Beer Mac N’ Cheese ($12), Vegetarian Red Chili ($7 – $9), Bacon Chicken Ranch Grinders ($14) and more. Or, take your pick of one of their radical pizzas like Hell Awaits ($14), with chicken, hot sauce, red onion and mozzarella, served with house-made ranch. Wash it back with one of the countless drinks offered at Black Sky Brewery. From original beers like the Petal To The Meta (4.7%) to premium beers like Lila’s Belgian Golden (9%) and cocktails as offensively good as Whore’s Milk ($8), Black Sky Brewery has so many great options to choose from. For a fun night of foolery, check out their events schedule for events like the Heavy Metal Flea Market and Harry Potter Trivia. Put yourself together and get your butt over to Black Sky Brewery for a night filled with punk madness, fun and drinks to keep you tipsy through the Uber ride home.

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Where: 3719 Walnut St., Denver

Taproom Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Kitchen Hours: Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

The Lowdown: Black Shirt Brewery, which became open to the public in 2012, is a kick-ass place to go for great beer and even better vibes. Located in Denver’s bustling RiNo District, Black Shirt Brewing Co’s foundation is their passion for brewing and great music that goes way back to when they were founded in 1999. Today, owners and longtime homebrewers, Jimmy and Karen Dodson, keep the passion alive every day. Their love for music can even be spotted throughout items on their menu like the Motley Crue ($18 – $27), a spent grain pizza with red sauce, a house cheese blend, roasted chicken, bacon, jalapeño, red onion, red pepper and black olives. You also won’t want to miss the Buffalo Soldier ($17.50 – $27), Al Green ($17.50 – $27) or the Four Horsemen ($19 – $28). Their extensive Drafts list includes the Windswept IPA (ABV 6.1%), Blue Flower Moon 2021 (ABV 15.2%), Slant Rhyme (ABV 4.5%) and, for the non-beer drinkers, a Cranberry Lavender Kombucha. At Black Shirt Brewing Co, you can find the best of both worlds — great eats, drinks and music. It’s common to find artists playing live jazz, rock or other genres. Next time you want to munch on flavorful bites, drink homemade brews and listen to great music, make sure to stop by.