It’s football season in Boulder, and folks looking to attend the games are also looking to eat, drink, and be merry before the game even starts.

Many of these people will do so in a bar or restaurant, and we’ve found the five best places in Boulder to have a good time before a Buffs game.

1. The Dark Horse Bar and Grill

The Dark Horse is basically perfect. The drinks are reasonably priced, it has a good beer selection, the food is cheap and awesome, and there are enough TVs around to watch whichever game your heart desires but not enough where you feel like you’re in Buffalo Wild Wings. Not to mention, the staff is friendly and the place is huge, so it’s usually pretty easy to find a place to sit down, and the decor has not fallen victim to the scourge of modernity yet. The Dark Horse is also just a few blocks from CU’s campus and an easy stroll to Folsom Field.

2. Backcountry Pizza and Tap House

Backcountry Pizza has the best beer selection in Boulder, and this is not up for debate. They occasionally have Pliny the Elder, which is not super great in terms of drinking right before a football game but is considered one of the best beers in the world. (Personally, I do not believe this. Pliny the Elder is good, but vastly overrated. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA is a far better beer.)

They also have many obscure styles and breweries for the beer nerds out there. The food is as good as the beer, which given how much I just talked about the beer should say something. The only reason The Dark Horse is listed above Backcountry is The Dark Horse’s atmosphere allows for a little more rowdiness, which is necessary on gameday.

3. Pearl Street Pub & Cellar

Everyone who visits Boulder wants to go to Pearl Street, but the problem with visiting Pearl Street is most restaurants/bars are bougie and overpriced. Not so much with the Pearl Street Pub (simply “the Pub” for those “in the know”), which is one of the last true dives remaining in Boulder and far superior to its vastly overrated neighbor, the Sundown Saloon. The Pub is dark, tables are easily found, the drinks are cheap, and there are enough amusements around, like foosball, darts, and pool, to keep you occupied until it’s time to leave for the game. You can have whatever kind of time you want at the Pub.

4. The Sink

The closest to Folsom Field of all the options presented here, The Sink has excellent food and drinks, and you can amuse your friends there with anecdotes about how Robert Redford worked as a janitor there and Barack Obama ate there once while he was president. Your friends may have already heard these anecdotes, but tell them anyway. If you stop by there, let me know if you see my signature on the ceiling. It’s up there somewhere.

5. The Bohemian Biergarten

Also on (near) Pearl Street. If having a gigantic beer served to you by a person wearing lederhosen doesn’t get you in the mood for football, I don’t know what will.

What do you think? Are there other bars in Boulder that you like to visit before a Buffs game? Let us know in the comments below.

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