What Time Do They Stop Selling Alcohol In Colorado?

Disclaimer: This content provides information about the legal sale of alcohol in Colorado and its respective operating hours. Please note that these regulations are subject to change, and it’s always advisable to confirm with local authorities or establishments for the most up-to-date information.


As the sun sets over the beautiful Rocky Mountains, many Coloradans start thinking about winding down with their favorite beer or cocktail. But what time do they have to wrap up their happy hours? Here, we’ll explore the statutory limits on selling alcohol in Colorado, including the different restrictions imposed on retailers, bars, and restaurants throughout the state.

The Liquor Laws of Colorado

Colorado is known for its progressive attitude and laid-back lifestyle, but when it comes to liquor laws, there are a few rules in place. Understanding these rules ensures you won’t find yourself holding an empty glass when craving that refreshing drink.

Hours of Operation – Serving vs. Selling

Before jumping into specifics, let’s clarify some terminology used in interpreting Colorado’s liquor laws:

  • Serving: Refers to providing alcoholic beverages directly to customers within a licensed establishment.
  • Selling: Refers specifically to retail stores that sell packaged alcohol products like beer, wine, and spirits.

While serving alcoholic beverages generally has lenient timing restrictions depending on local jurisdictions and licensing agreements, selling is regulated more stringently statewide.

General Sale Hours for Retail Stores

Across most counties in Colorado, packaged alcohol can be sold from 8 am until 12 midnight every day except Sunday (more on that later). These standard retail sale hours provide ample opportunity for those who prefer enjoying their drinks at home or hosting gatherings without worrying about running out of libations before closing time.

Now you might think: does this mean I can pop into my nearest liquor store anytime between 8 am and midnight to buy my favorite drink? Well, not so fast. Keep reading to find out some sneaky exceptions to this general rule.

Exceptions – Special Considerations

While Colorado generally adheres to the 8 am to midnight liquor sale window, there are a few exceptions and additional nuances that you should be aware of:

  1. Sunday: On Sundays, retail sales start at a later time compared to other days of the week. You’ll have to wait until noon before you can make your purchase. This may seem like a minor inconvenience, but remember, it’s still better than having no access to alcohol at all on Sundays!

  2. Local Variations: Some local jurisdictions might enforce stricter regulations based on their unique demographics or community values. For instance, small towns or conservative counties may limit Sunday sales further or reduce weekday hours.

  3. Local Option Elections: Believe it or not, voters in certain areas have the power to dictate how late retail stores can sell alcohol within their jurisdiction through special elections called Local Option Elections (LOEs). Liquor store owners and enthusiasts closely follow these elections since they significantly impact business hours based on public demand.

  4. Dry Towns: It’s also important to mention “dry towns” as an exception in Colorado liquor legislation. A dry town is a place where alcoholic beverages cannot be sold legally within its borders due either by law or local ordinance instituted by residents’ vote.

Understanding these quirks ensures that your plans aren’t foiled if you’re thinking about buying alcohol during unusual times—it’s always better to be informed!

Legal Hours for Bars and Restaurants

Now let’s dive into the operating hours for bars and restaurants serving alcohol throughout Colorado—after all, socializing with friends over drinks is often best done outside our own four walls! However, it’s worth mentioning that local licensing authorities hold significant influence over liquor service hours, so do check with specific establishments ahead of time.

Standard Hours for Alcohol Service

Under Colorado law, bars and restaurants can serve alcohol statewide from 7 am until 2 am the following day. This means you have ample opportunity to get your fill of craft beers or beautifully crafted cocktails during the designated hours.

Nevertheless, remember that local jurisdictions might tweak these standard timings. For example, some cities may have restrictions on late-night sales due to concerns about noise or potential disturbances in residential areas.

Time Extensions – Early Birds & Night Owls Rejoice!

Early risers, rejoice! If you’re an unabashed morning person seeking a mimosa or Bloody Mary with brunch, certain establishments are licensed to start serving alcohol at 6 am instead of 7 am. This is particularly convenient for those looking to take advantage of the weekend’s lazy mornings while leisurely sipping their favorite libations.

And what if you’re a true night owl? Well, there’s good news for you too! Some establishments can extend their service hours until 4 am, two whole extra hours to enjoy your drink and hold onto that delightful buzz before calling it a night. Confusion sometimes arises with this variation since official licensing authorities often use phrases such as “late-night permits. ” But don’t worry—it just means more time on the dance floor or engaging in spirited conversations without worrying about last call!

Wrap Up Those Happy Hours!

Colorado has its own particular approach when it comes to the legal sale and serving of alcohol throughout the state. Knowing what time they stop selling alcohol will ensure that you can plan your evenings accordingly without any frustrating surprises.

So keep in mind:

  • Retail stores generally sell packaged alcohol products between 8 am and midnight, except on Sundays when they open at noon.
  • Local variations may affect liquor store operating hours based on unique circumstances within specific jurisdictions.
  • Bars and restaurants typically offer alcoholic beverages from 7 am until 2 am, but local authorities may adjust these hours.
  • Early risers can enjoy alcohol service as early as 6 am in select establishments, while night owls might find places that extend their serving time until 4 am.

Now you’re armed with the knowledge of Colorado’s alcohol regulations. So whether you prefer to enjoy a drink at home or alongside friends at your favorite pub, you won’t have to worry about finding yourself out of sync with the state’s legal hours.

Why not raise a glass and toast to being informed—cheers!

Table of Contents

  1. The Liquor Laws of Colorado
    • Hours of Operation – Serving vs. Selling
  2. General Sale Hours for Retail Stores
    • Exceptions – Special Considerations
  3. Legal Hours for Bars and Restaurants
    • Standard Hours for Alcohol Service
    • Time Extensions – Early Birds & Night Owls Rejoice!
  4. Wrap Up Those Happy Hours!

FAQ: What Time Do They Stop Selling Alcohol In Colorado?

  1. Q: What is the legal drinking age in Colorado?
    A: The legal drinking age in Colorado is 21 years old.

  2. Q: What are the general hours for alcohol sales in Colorado?
    A: Typically, alcohol can be sold Monday through Saturday from 8:00 AM to 2:00 AM and on Sundays from 8:00 AM to midnight. However, it’s important to note that specific hours may vary by location and county restrictions.

  3. Q: Until what time can I buy alcohol at a liquor store or supermarket in Colorado?
    A: Liquor stores and supermarkets usually stop selling alcohol at midnight Sunday through Saturday. Keep in mind that some individual establishments might have earlier closing times, so it’s advisable to check with your local store for precise information.

  4. Q: Can I purchase alcohol after closing hours at bars or restaurants in Colorado?
    A: No, bars and restaurants must cease serving alcoholic beverages by 2:00 AM Monday through Saturday and by midnight on Sundays. It is illegal to sell or consume alcohol beyond these specified hours.

  5. Q: Are there any exceptions or extended hours during special occasions or holidays?
    A: Yes, there are a few exceptions during certain holidays like New Year’s Eve when the sale of alcohol can be extended until 4:00 AM on January 1st. Nonetheless, these extended hours may not apply universally across all counties or establishments within Colorado, so it’s essential to confirm with the specific venue you plan to visit.

  6. Q: Is there anywhere I can buy alcohol past the normal cut-off times?
    A: No, once the legally permitted selling hours come to an end, you cannot legally purchase alcoholic beverages until sales resume at their designated times the next day.

Please note that liquor laws can change over time, and individual municipalities or counties in Colorado may have additional regulations. It’s always advisable to verify the alcohol sales hours with your local authorities or the specific establishment you plan to visit.