Wet your whistle and get a taste of the Old West at one of these five historic bars in Colorado. 

1. Buckhorn Exchange - Denver 

Buckhorn Exchange

Waiter Matt Carroll, center, talks with customers about the mounted animal heads at The Buckhorn Exchange, which is located at 1000 Osage St. in Denver, in 2005. Photo by David Bitton

A history that dates to 1893 does not make this Colorado’s oldest bar, as is often mistaken. But the Buckhorn does own the oldest liquor license. If only walls could talk. That’s the thought when surveying the collection of 100-plus guns.

2. Buffalo Rose - Golden

When the joint reopened in 2019, it was a celebration of 160 years. There have been several starts and stops since 1859, when Colorado’s oldest bar opened in a building that hosted the likes of Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. But the Buffalo Rose has refused to fade.

3. The Minturn Saloon — Minturn

The walls are covered with photos and autographs of the major clientele since the 1970s: skiers. They warm up with the time-honored dish of duck breast, just as the railroaders did in the early 1900s. The saloon is the terminus of the Minturn Mile, one of the best-known, out-of-bounds runs from Vail.

4. Mint — Silverthorne

10_05_21 mint00685.jpg (copy)

The 150-year-old Mint building in Silverthorne. Christian Murdock

Recently, condos and a hotel and one of those fancy food courts have been under construction around an old building that looks out of place. For more than 150 years, the Mint has survived the changes. Blue River Parkway is its fourth location, following miraculous transplants from other posts around Summit County. It’s now a grill-your-own steakhouse.

5. Silver Dollar Saloon — Leadville

From behind the mahogany bar that was freighted via covered wagon in the 1870s, from behind that copper register still in use, the friendly local might show you the spot on the floor cracked in a way to resemble the face of “Doc” Holliday. He was a regular, known to have lived across the street. There’s another spot marked on the floor, said to be where the fights went down. Listen for the ghosts as you enjoy your wings.

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(2) comments


I've only been to the Silver Dollar Saloon and it was like stepping back in time. Really cool place.

Northern Star

Before the casinos Central City had four saloons that were historical. The Glory Hole and the Gilded Garter as well as the Tollgater and Gold Coin.

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