Boulder is a quaint city known for its majestic Flatirons, world-class rock climbing, road biking, and foreword thinking, environmentally conscious residents. For someone new to Boulder, or maybe for a long-time resident who prefers the comforts of home, it might not be immediately obvious that Boulder is also home of one of the best happy hour selections in the country. From Mexican-American restaurants to pub-style breweries, Boulder just about has it all. Usually my friends and I can’t seem to settle on just one restaurant for happy hour. Luckily, many of the restaurants that offer great deals during the typical 3-6pm happy hour are in the heart of downtown Boulder, most within a few blocks of the Pearl Street pedestrian mall. This makes visiting one, two, or if you’re feeling adventurous, even three restaurants easy.


On the west end of Pearl Street there are more than a handful of upscale restaurants that offer great, affordable bites during happy hour. The Mediterranean Restaurant, or the Med as locals call it, is one of my favorite spots to visit for happy hour. With an extensive list of tapas (including their mouth-watering buratta al tartufo and bacon-wrapped dates) and a house-made sangria for $4.50, the Med is a perfect first stop on a happy hour tour. If the wait for a table is too long for your liking then try Brasserie Ten Ten across the street. This French restaurant offers an array of hor d’oeuvres and delightful boissons.

If you’re craving some comfort pub food, try the happy hour at the Attic just next door. They offer some of the cheapest drafts in town—just $2.50—as well as great daily drink specials from 3-6pm. On a warm, sunny day, I love to visit the rooftop deck at another pub nearby, the West End Tavern. Their unbeatable views of the Flatirons and their $1 off extensive draft list are hard to resist on a Colorado summer afternoon.


With a happy hour that starts at 3pm and goes until close everyday, Boulder Café is also worth mentioning. Right on the corner of 13th and Pearl Street, Boulder Café is dead center of the pedestrian mall, so if you’re lucky enough to get an outside table there will be no lack of entertainment, from street-performers to people watching.

Café Aion, though it is a bit of a walk or a short bus ride from downtown, is one of the best happy hours in Boulder. They offer their ‘cerveza del dia’ for $3 and their perfected specialty drinks and sangria for $5. If you happen to find yourself around the Hill area during happy hour (or anytime on Tuesdays) treat yourself to one of Café Aion’s tapas (my favorite is the fried cauliflower) and their New New York.

And to wrap up a day of happy hour hopping, one must stop at Mateo Restaurant Provencal, a fine French restaurant on the corner of 19th and Pearl Street. With fresh varieties of cheese and cured meats from Cured, Mateo serves a very affordable and completely irresistible artisan cheese tasting and charcuterie. If you can’t decide between the two, then you can order the plateau provencal for an assortment of meats, cheeses and tapenades. Grab a spot at the community table, relax on the back patio or enjoy a $3 off glass of wine at the bar during Mateo’s happy hour.