Run For The Roses

Thursday - Sunday: 5pm - 2am
  • Thursday - Sunday: 5pm - 2am
  • Mon - Wed: Closed

After a long day of the hustle and bustle in the nation’s mile-high capital of Denver, it’s easy to walk into any of the hundreds of breweries or dispensaries for a little something-something to ease the pain. But when you need a little pep in your step and feather in your hat, you Run For The Roses.


BY: Ben Hitch Contributing writer

Denver seems to have become a metropolis almost overnight with neighborhoods being flipped upside down by new construction and a continual migration of outsides flocking like the salmon of Capistrano. And whether your side is with the old or new, Run For The Roses is a taste of the new nestled in a bit of the old. Located under, yes under, the Dairy Block of downtown Denver (LoDo neighborhood), RTFR is seemingly a time capsule focused on the finer things of life and especially the cocktail. 

To get to your vice and/or refined snack, you’ll essentially need to pull out One Eye’d Willy’s treasure map to find the back alley entrance. And where the “X” tends to mark the treasure, look for the number 4 positioned above the doorway to begin your journey to elegant cocktails of yesteryear. Maneuver a few lefts and rights to the elevator and find the button that takes you to the deep underground. Out of the lift walk the long corridor to the beautifully etched glass of roses beckoning your lady friend’s “do it for the gram” photo. And when you make it to the betting gate and luminescent Run For The Roses remember to please ask nicely to enter.

RFTR highlights the best of the past and provokes the mystery of the future with classic cocktails, rare spirits, and elevated snacks

Run For The Roses cocktail offerings are a mile high above the rest. There is a rotating menu of seasonal libations and the best game of 52 card pickup you’ll ever play (the cocktail menu is a deck of cards). You can’t really go wrong with your choice, but the Alaska, El Diablo, and Tequilla Collins are tantalizing. And as Run For The Roses has the history of the Kentucky Derby running through its veins, there is a plethora of bourbon forward cocktails and bottles occupying the shelves.

The basement lounge has exposed ceilings, big brick supports, mushroom cap lights on the bar with jazzed teal leather stools, and a vibe that doesn’t question your second round. The flavors and execution of the cocktails will undoubtedly sweep you off your feet making your descent into the cropping of tufted loungers and couches favorable. And if you’re lucky enough to plan an evening in advance, while rolling deep, the Garland Room awaits with a rose decorated fabrics, a private record collection, and Shinola Audio record player to set the tone you and your friends want.

So when your shirt is ironed, pants creased, and the palate demands something better than a craft beer, Run For The Roses is where you need to be. RFTR highlights the best of the past and provokes the mystery of the future with classic cocktails, rare spirits, and elevated snacks (butter-poached shrimp cocktail, caviar, and banana splits). Take it upon yourself to find this underground lounge and as they say, “Let it Ride.”\


Tim The Toolman Taylor is from Denver

If you happen to be in town during the Derby, RFR is where you need to be

It ain’t no lie, the Mile High City is exactly 5,280 ft above sea level

Pre or post, head down the block to Mercantile Dining and Provision for dinner