Denver’s Wash Park neighborhood is not a part of town typically associated with anything “divey” but the area does play home to one of the city’s best dive bars, Candlelight Tavern. The signature feature here is clearly the vintage neon sign over the faux brick exterior, a piece that looks more like a marquee than a more typical standalone vertical sign. In keeping with the classy name of the bar, the sign reads “Cocktails” and “Fine Food” in what is now an only semi-ironic testament to the food inside. While Candlelight Tavern isn’t serving any multi-course meals, they do offer one of the best dive bar hamburgers in the city and one that goes for a paltry $6 during happy hour.
Long-time residents of Denver will no doubt remember Candlelight Tavern a little rougher around the edges than it presents itself today, thanks to a string of updates, refreshed ownership and a fairly major overhaul to the space in 2013. And while some of the roughness has been smoothed out, the no-frills atmosphere remains intact. The wraparound, 360-degree space adds to the unique nature of the Denver dive bar, the bar counter in the center of the action just as it should be. The space doubles as a sports bar, offering all of the typical TV packages and serving as Denver’s de facto Detroit Lions backer bar.