There's no better way to get to know a town than through a rousing, booze-soaked bar crawl. But if an abject gutter-stumbler isn't your speed anymore, then Denver-based Local Table Tours can put a little class in your crawl by providing a cocktail-savvy guide to usher you through a tour of the city's most progressive bars.
The Cocktail Walking Tour makes liberal use of the happy hour concept: Starting off at 3:30 p.m., a small group (no larger than eight) begins their walking tour through either the historic LoDo or newly lip Highlands nabes, and which will eventually take them to three tasting and craft talks with expert mixologists. (This technically lasts about two hours, but ends up going on for as long as you can endure).The establishments we hit were all in a one-block radius of the trendy (and highly concentrated) Larimer Square section of LoDo.
In truth, the crawl is less about walking than it is about drinking and talking shop with a barkeep about the fine art of mixing cocktails. At the uber-chic restaurant TAG (pictured), our first stop, we felt like insiders from the moment we sidled up to the black polished stone bar and host Josh Smith doled out samples of gin from local small-batch craft distillery Leopold Brothers. As he swirled up our first 'tail – pouring the gin, squeezing the lime, and scooping out green chartreuse ice cream made in-house – he reflected on his job: "I like to think of myself as a cocktail mechanic." We drank to that. [$70, all-inclusive; localtabletours.com]