This past summer, I got myself a Denver Passport and did not come at all close to taking advantage of all it had to offer.
The program, which is also offered in Boulder, Fort Collins and other cities around the country, costs $20-25 and gets you two-for-one select drinks at a couple dozen participating bars and restaurants. All you have to do is show the bartender or server your passport and get a stamp (it’s a one-time-only deal at each place).
As it turns out, it’s a lot of drinking and dining out in one season. And when you’re having two drinks at each bar, it’s a bit much to visit a bunch of passport locations in one night.
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, I only managed to use my Denver Passport 11 times, and it’s literally my job to try new bars and restaurants.
So, now that the Winter Warmer Passport is on sale, I feel I should offer some advice on how to make the most of the program.
First, here are the participating Denver bars and restaurants
One strategy: Hit them in groups
A fair number of them are clustered together so you can hit two or more in one outing.
If you’re going to go this route, I suggest using your passport to treat someone — or use it to get a drink for you and a drink for a friend, then split the cost of one. Otherwise, it’s a whole lot of drinking.
Here they are, color-coded by proximity or, in the case of the light blue dots, the lack thereof.
Another strategy: Go by cost
Google has price ratings for most of these places, and while I scoffed at a couple designations, you can use them as a loose guideline.
One tactic would be to start with the most expensive places — the places you might not normally drink without a discount to soften the blow to your wallet.
Or you can start cheap and work your way up.
Here they are color-coded by Google price group.
- For one, don’t forget to tip. And I mean tip properly. When you’re calculating what you’ll leave for your bartender or server, include the price of the drink(s) you’re getting for free.
- And don’t forget to eat. If you’re trying all these new places, you might as well try the food. Plus, it’ll help keep you going for more than one round.
- Use the passport at least once a week. There are more than 30 destinations on there and the passport is good for about 17 weeks. If you can visit one or two places per week, you’ll be on pace to get to them all.
- Don’t drive. Duh.
The Winter Warmer costs $20 and is good Dec. 1 through March 15. Order one at thepassportprogram.com/winterwarmer.