Come for the traditional English pub cuisine, stay for the whiskey at Pint's Pub, a cathedral of single malt.

Get thirsty in almost any large city in America and you can grab a drink in an English-style pub, but that doesn’t mean its the real deal. Most of these are poorly-made knockoffs; what a pub looks like in the imagination of some corporate marketing team. They’re almost always dripping with polished wood and bright brass, a ubiquitous Irish stout on draft, and a few commonly found bottles of Scotch above the bar. But every now and then, after some patient prospecting, you might discover a treasure. That’s what happened when I ran across Denver’s Pint’s Pub, a gold mine for whisky-lovers.

Founded in 1993 by Denver local Scott Diamond, the Pub is a popular lunch and happy hour spot. They’re known for their English-style pub grub and house-made cask-conditioned ale. But a closer look reveals that Pint’s Pub has one of the best Scotch whisky selections in the world. So when those in the know seek out that elusive dram that’s been sold out for years, here is where they will likely find it.

Pint’s Pub features over 275 single malts from 200 different distilleries, and many of these are quite rare. To navigate this whisky list, look for an “LS (lost still) or SS (silent still) stamped to the right of the selections. “Lost stills” are distilleries that have closed or been demolished since 1945. “Silent stills” are “mothballed,” meaning they are currently not producing whisky but may again one day.

A few rare Scotch whiskies at Pint's Pub. Photo by Clint Lanier.

Drams of whisky at Pint’s starts at $10 per ounce, but depending the liquid’s rarity, prices-per-pour top out north of $1,000. You could sip a 25-year Hillside single malt, an exquisite and rare expression from the famous Eastern Highland distillery founded in 1897, for $300. Or, break the bank with a bucket list pour of a 27-year single malt from the Ben Wyvis Distillery. Ben Wyvis produced a limited number of bottles in its 12 years of operation between 1965 and 1977 and commands a $1,000 price.

My buddy and I splurged on a 16-year Glen Mhor for $100. Stamped LS on the menu, Glen Mhor is one of the Lost Stills that operated from 1892 to 1983 in the Scottish North Highlands. We spoke in hushed tones as we sipped, afraid to wake the spirits of the men who so long ago created the liquid in our hands. The whiskey itself was a beautiful golden caramel with a sweet aroma with hints of vanilla, brown sugar, and allspice. The taste was rich and smooth, with raisins, cinnamon, and clove that finished creamy with a lingering taste of fig and burnt sugar. It was simply delicious.

A place like Pint’s Pub is more than just a simple pub or bar – to call it that dismisses its actual value. It is a library, of sorts, or maybe an archive, but one of histories, memories, and tastes. It is a museum preserving the craft of our forefathers to be discovered by the connoisseur, studied by the curious, and experienced by the newcomer. If you fall into any of these three categories, this is a must-visit destination in Denver, so loosen your purse strings and indulge in some of the most sublime single malts you might never have the chance to try again.

Visit Pint’s Pub 221 W 13th Ave, Denver, CO 80204, (303) 534-7543

Clint Lanier is a professor in the English Department of New Mexico State University. He is also the co-author of Drunken History, Bucket List Bars: Historic Saloons, Pubs, and Dives of America, and Craptails: the World’s Worst, Weirdest, and Most Disturbing Drinks. He has also written about spirits and travel for The Huffington Post, Fodors, Eater, and