Cheap Denver date ideas in the age of “infla-dating”


Valentine’s Day is around the corner, but times are admittedly tough right now: a looming recession expected later this year, high inflation and surging prices for gas and even eggs.

Welcome to love in the time of “infla-dating,” a new buzzword for choosing cheap dates to keep finances afloat. But just because it feels like the world is ending (one silver lining: every generation has experienced that panic) doesn’t mean the search for romance should fizzle out.

Here are some Denver spots to take a date that won’t break the bank. (Pro tip: You can kick things off on the right foot with flowers beforehand. Trader Joe’s bouquets typically sell for as low as $3.99 at the Capitol Hill location at 661 Logan St. You’re welcome.)

Adelitas Cocina Y Cantina is located at 1294 S. Broadway. (Photo courtesy of Adelitas)

1. Two words: Happy hour.

It’s a tried-and-true first date. Meet at a bar for happy hour and stay until sparks fly (or leave as soon as “the ick” sets in).

Adelitas Cocina Y Cantina, 1294 S. Broadway, is lauded for daily happy hour deals from 3 to 6 p.m., including a $9 house margarita, $2 for chips and salsa and $2 tacos on Tuesday.

Angelo’s Taverna at 620 E. 6th Ave. offers a truly compelling happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close daily. What’s not to love about $1 raw house oysters of the day, $6 toasted ravioli and $2 off wines on tap?

River at 3759 Chestnut Place doubles as a bar and art gallery, so that’s two birds with one stone. Monday, score margaritas for $3 each from 6 p.m. to close. On other days, take advantage of the $5 negroni, whiskey sour and dirty martini or level up with the $6 Old Fashioned.

And, if the splurging mood strikes, there’s boozy boba. Enough said.

2. A solid dive bar never goes out of style.

Dive bars constitute the backbone of America. A date who turns their nose up at a well-loved watering hole? That’s the first red flag.

As it turns out, Denver is a treasure chest of dives. Try Don’s Club Tavern at 723 E. Sixth Ave. for a round of pool or to cozy up in a booth — just try to avoid making eye contact with the bras hanging above the shuffleboard table.

Stop by an ATM before hitting P S Lounge at 3416 E. Colfax Ave. Women are greeted with roses at the cash-only dive, and free house shots are handed out upon entry.

Other options include Bar Bar at 2060 Champa St. and Candlelight Tavern at 383 S. Pearl St.

DENVER, COLORADO - NOVEMBER 30: The Denver Art Museum on November 30, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)
The Denver Art Museum on Nov. 30, 2022. (RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

3. Going for a more refined vibe? Museum date it is.

Plan a date that coincidentally falls on a free or discounted day at a local museum.

Upcoming free days at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science at 2001 Colorado Blvd. include Sunday, Jan. 29, Monday, Feb. 6, and Sunday, Feb. 26.

Free days at the Denver Art Museum at 100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway take place on Saturday, Jan. 28, Tuesday, Feb. 14, and Tuesday, March 14.

At the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver at 1485 Delgany St., the first Saturday of each month costs a single penny for Colorado residents. Consider this motivation to get that out-of-state driver’s license finally changed.

Health care workers, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program beneficiaries and museum professionals can get in free every day.

Convivio Café in Denver is pictured on Jan. 11, 2023. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)
Convivio Café in Denver on Jan. 11, 2023. (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

4. Not a drinker? No problem. How about coffee instead?

If falling in love in a coffee shop is the vibe, then here’s good news: The Mile High City’s got plenty of options.

Pablo’s Coffee at 630 E. Sixth Ave. has it all. Grandfathers are probably catching up over coffee at nearby tables, while plants line the windows and art hangs on the walls.

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