For the first time in team history, the Denver Nuggets are going to the NBA Finals. The series kicks off on Thursday, June 1, but tickets are really, really expensive. So there will be plenty of fans looking to watch the games, both home and away, in close proximity to Ball Arena, even if they aren’t actually inside. For them, we’ve put together his list of where to go.
Society Sports + Spirits
LoDo sports bars can sometimes be as two-dimensional as their big-screen TVs. But Society goes way beyond that with three enormous projectors, 28 flat-screens and four “sound zones” on multiple levels. The food menu includes chicken fried bacon, sandwiches on Texas toast, and wings, wings, wings. 1434 Blake St.; societydenver.com.
Nola Jane Restaurant & Bar
Pickle shots and po’boys are on the menu at Nola Jane, along with plenty of other Cajun and Creole specialties, like gumbo, fried okra, jalapeno hushpuppies, catfish, cornbread and shrimp and grits. A popular pregame spot, Nola Jane’s also boasts a rooftop patio which will have the games on TV with the sound on and a fun atmosphere. 1435 Market St.; nolajanelodo.com.
Rhein Haus and Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern
These two drinking halls share the same ownership and entrance, and both are great places to pre-party. Rhein Haus is the larger of the two bars, with two stories of house-made pretzels and sausages, bocce ball and 24 beers on draft from both German and craft breweries. Wally’s, which is more focused on sports, has darts, plenty of TVs and a friendly Midwestern feel. 1415 and 1417 Market St.; rheinhausdenver.com.
The Nuggets are probably not on the radar at Honor Farm, but you’ll get plenty of that at the arena or any number of local sports bars. Instead, you’ll find a haunted-themed bar with spooky hipster drinks, live entertainment (drag shows, burlesque, DJs, trivia) and delicious food from Meta Asian Kitchen, which holds down the back of the house. 1526 Blake St.; honorfarmdenver.com.
Located in the original Tivoli Brewing building (which dates to the 1880s), the new version of the brewery features plenty of lagers, along with all the bar food you can eat. Conveniently set across the street from Ball Arena, Tivoli was the site of some rowdy watch parties during the Stanley Cup Finals in 2022, and it will no doubt show the NBA championship games as well. 900 Auraria Parkway; tivolibrewingco.com.
The Pour House on Market
Looking to keep it simple? Then you’ll feel right at home at The Pour House on Market, where you can indulge in all the major sporting food groups — burgers, tots, nachos, chicken tenders and wings — along with relatively cheap beers, primarily of the macro variety. It’s a sports bar with a great location, just blocks from Ball Arena. 1410 Market St.; pourhousedenver.com.
Brooklyn’s at Ball Arena
Indulge in a Nuggets burger — cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, fried onions — or any other kind of burger, sandwich or salad at Brooklyn’s at Ball Arena, which is just across the parking lot from the stadium. A mainstay for many years of pre-gaming for the Avs, Nuggets and Broncos, it’s hard to complain about the location. 901 Auraria Parkway. brooklynsballarena.com.
Want to try something besides a sports bar? Then check out the unusual ambiance at Bao Brewhouse, a multi-concept spot that offers Chinese street food and craft cocktails and beer in its main taproom and a more upscale experience on the second story. After hours, Bao takes on a club-like feel with DJs and drink specials. 1317 14th St.; baobrewhouse.com.