It had been a decade since I last went bar hopping in downtown Colorado Springs and wow, has the downtown changed. On a Friday night the sidewalks were full of revelers.
We started at Brooklyn’s on Boulder, one of downtown Colorado Springs’ newest hot spots, but you wouldn’t know it from the front of the building; there are no neon lights, no band posters hanging on the window. In fact, the first thing we saw was a line of nice ties. Yes, men’s neckties.
We went inside and knocked on the door marked “Employees Only.” A dashing man in a suit opened it and ushered us inside. Brooklyn’s is a modern day speakeasy that’s owned and operated by Lee’s Spirits, a maker of fine gin. All drinks at Brooklyn’s are made with Lee Spirits’ gin.
The prohibition style, low-lit speakeasy was buzzing with an early evening crowd. The bartenders here are artisans who aren’t afraid to light things on fire. My martini was divine.
Our next stop was across the street and couldn’t be more different than Brooklyn’s. Super Nova is an arcade bar. Rows of vintage arcade games line the walls; think PacMan, Street Fighter and Qbert. The one problem here was that the bar music was so loud that we couldn’t hear the tunes from arcade games we played and hearing the sounds these old machines make is part of the nostalgia-filled fun of playing them.
After Super Nova we walked around Colorado Springs for awhile. It was First Friday so stores were open late and some were serving wine.
We stopped for a while to watch a bluegrass band that was set up on the sidewalk. They were actually quite good.
We ended up at Ritz Grill, a place we’d visited on our first weekend trip to downtown Colorado Springs in the early 2000s. The place was packed and we managed to score the last two seats available at the end of the bar. The best thing here were the Voodoo Chicken Tenders – delicious.
Our next stop was based on the advice of our bartender, who had told us about a brand new watering hole called Bar K. We jumped in an Uber car, although after our short ride we realized we could have walked.
This place had the most engaging and entertaining bartenders we ran into that evening and very good cocktails. It has a modern feel, yet comfy ambiance. They also have a lot of Colorado spirits and craft beer available.
Our last stop of the evening was Shuga’s Restaurant & Bar on the recommendation of a bartender at Brooklyn’s. It was very good advice. Shug’s is eclectic and original – the perfect place for a late night drink. We ordered cocktails and beer cheese soup, but the bartender insisted that we also try their popular spicy Brazilian coconut shrimp soup and brought a bowl on the house. It lived up to the hype and I will ordered a bowl should I find myself at Shuga’s in the future.
The night ended with an Uber ride back to Manitou Springs where were were staying at the Cliff House at Pikes Peak.
We were very impressed with the nightlife in Colorado Springs. It’s a city that’s embraced the craft culture with gusto; craft food, craft beer and craft spirits. If you haven’t visited lately, it’s time to go.