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Parents’ Night Out: Where to Leave the Kids and the Best Places for a Night Out


Press Play Bar Entrance. Photo by Ashley Kay Mauer.

Back to school means the kids are off your hands during the day, and while we love them dearly there is no need to deny that the freedom can be a relief. Sometimes daytime coverage isn’t enough to maintain your sanity and you’ll still need the occasional evening or weekend to yourself after juggling homework, sports practice, and other extracurriculars.

When leaving your children with the neighborhood teenager isn’t right for you, there is Babysitters of Boulder. Their website is user friendly and all you need to do is fill out their new family registration and then submit a booking form regarding the number of children, their names, allergies, date and location, etc. You can receive better rates if you choose to become a member or they are good for one time bookings as well. All of the sitters are interviewed and certified by Babysitters of Boulder and their bios are available on their website so you can get to know them better.

If you want a larger pool of sitters to choose from or to interview and select a sitter yourself, care.com is the resource for you. The site allows qualified individuals to present themselves for candidacy and allows you to see their experience, their rates, reviews of their work, and even if they pass a background check. It has all of the information to help you pick someone who doesn’t feel like a random stranger but rather someone who you can trust.

If your children are attending a preschool, talk to their teacher about whether or not they babysit in their free time; many do and even if they don’t, they might know a teacher in another room who does. The beauty of this setup is that you already know they are trustworthy and get along with your children.

If your kiddos are between the ages of 7 and 12, you can take them to Kid’s Nite Out, which starts up again September 10 after a COVID closure. For just $12 your children can hang out with other kids their age and have the run of Paul Derda Rec Center in Broomfield; the only adults allowed inside the building are the event supervisors. Kids can use the rec center’s amenities like the pool, the climbing wall, the dance studios, the basketball courts, and more. Kid’s Nite Out is on Fridays from 7pm to 10:30pm.

If your kids are aged 5-12, they can be taken to Parent’s Night Out, also at Paul Derda. It is a similar program to Kid’s Nite Out in that children will get to use the center’s amenities, but the building will not be closed to adults and the activities will be selected for them. This program is from 5pm-8pm on September 25, October 23, November 20, and December 18. Check out their website for dates further down the road. Family pricing is $30 for residents of Broomfield and $35 for nonresidents.

If gym dates are your thing, you can hit two birds with one stone at a city recreation center. Most rec centers offer child care services for adults who are using the center’s facilities. You can drop off the kiddos and hit the pool, track, climbing wall, or whatever else you fancy for up to an hour and a half. The rec centers in Broomfield, Erie, Lafayette, Louisville, Thornton, and Wheat Ridge all offer this service. Each facility’s regulations regarding hours, registration, and fees vary; so be sure to check out your closest rec center’s policies before you go.

Once you know the kids are in good hands, it’s time to figure out how to spend your time away, and Colorado has no shortage of choices ranging from places to play, drink, or relax.

The Front Porch. Photo by Ashley Kay Mauerr.

If you haven’t been to The Front Porch in Denver, Wednesdays are always a fun night to stop by for flip night. On flip nights, you order a drink and the bartender flips a coin; if you call it correctly the drink is free! If it’s not a Wednesday, check out their website for their monthly name calendars that are resuming in August after a COVID closure. Three to five names are chosen for each day and anyone whose name is selected drinks free on that day. If your name’s spelling doesn’t match the version on the calendar, don’t worry, it still counts. If your name is uncommon you needn’t fret either, they have a black board in the bar where you can add your name to be considered for future name calendars. Just be sure you have a designated driver after you enjoy all those free drinks.

Lodo’s Bar and Grill in downtown Denver has specials all week long so it doesn’t matter what night you manage to sneak away from the kids. Who said Mondays have to be a bummer? At Lodo’s, Monday means an all day happy hour. Tuesdays feature trivia night and $4.50 pints from 7pm to close. If you are brave enough to bring the kids with you, kids eat free on Wednesdays as well as half off wine and $25 bottles from 7pm to close. Thursdays are flip night and Fridays double up with both a 3, 2, 1 happy hour between 2pm and 6pm and ladies night from 9pm to close. From 11am to 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays you can enjoy bottomless mimosas for $18. If these deals aren’t enough to tempt you, they also have rooftop seating and they accept reservations.

If you like old fashioned arcades, Colorado is home to a handful of bar arcades, or game bars if you will. Quarters Bar and Arcade is in downtown Longmont. Their space may be small, but they use it wisely to fit a variety of gaming options as well as a self serve tap wall. Their tap wall features 20 rotating beers, wines, hard ciders, and hard seltzers that you pour yourself and pay for by the ounce; there is nothing stopping you from trying them all. When you arrive, just check in with the front desk to get a wristband that you’ll scan to play or to drink, then check out when you’re finished to settle your tab.

1UP Arcade Bar (Entrance). Photo by Ashley Kay Mauer.

1UP Games. Photo by Ashley Kay Mauer.

1UP Arcade Bar has two locations in Denver, one on Colfax and one in Lodo, although it is worth noting that their Colfax location is larger and features more games. Be prepared, your ID will be checked at the door because this joint is strictly 21 and up. If pinball machines are your passion, they have you covered with 42 different machines at their Colfax location in a room dedicated strictly to pinball. They even host pinball tournaments on the 3rd Sunday of every month sanctioned by the International Flipper Pinball Association.

Press Play Bar. Photo by Ashley Kay Mauer.

Press Play Bar in Boulder is easy to miss with a small stairway leading to it tucked away on Pearl Street. If you can beat the bartender at rock, paper, scissors on a Monday night, your drink is free. Pool is free on Tuesday nights along with $5 PB&Js. Tournaments are hosted on Wednesdays in pinball, skeeball, and more as well as $3.50 drafts. If the arcade games aren’t enough to keep you busy, trivia is on Thursday nights from 8-10 along with $3.75 Jameson.

Lyons Pinball Sign. Photo by Ashley Kay Mauer.

While they don’t have a bar, Lyons Classic Pinball can still fulfill all of your pinball needs with over 36 well maintained machines and Oskar Blues is just next door if you do want a drink. This place recently fell under new management, but you can rest assured that Lyons is still home to the pinball machines you’ve known and loved on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in the evenings.

Have you ever been to a speakeasy? If you haven’t, aren’t you a little bit curious? Frozen Matter is an ice cream shop just off of Pearl St in Denver. (Yes, Denver. If you go to Pearl St in Boulder you won’t find this little hidden gem.) They are a microcreamery that offers flavors to accommodate people who are gluten free, vegan, or even dairy free. What isn’t immediately obvious is that a journey through the freezer door won’t take you to where the ice cream is stored but rather to Retrograde, a cozy little bar in the back.

Retrograde (Entrance). Photo by Ashley Kay Mauer.

When you enter Frozen Matter, find the light switch by the freezer door and flip it. Someone will come to check your IDs and escort you to a seat in Retrograde. While they do have a small selection of beer, this place is known for their cocktails and they are sure to have flavor combinations you haven’t tried before. Since the bar is small, it is best to get there early to avoid waiting, although ice cream can help you pass the time pleasantly.

Ace Eat Serve Sign. Photo by Ashley Kay Mauer.

Would you swear that your coordination improves rather than decreasing once you’ve had a couple drinks? Ace Eat Serve is a bar and restaurant with Asian cuisine, but the best part is that they have ping pong tables, or table tennis if you prefer. Once you’ve enjoyed some of their $5 whiskeys on Wednesdays or $5 daiquiris on Fridays, challenge your significant other or friends to a round of ping pong to put your alcohol influenced reflexes to the test.

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse (Entrance). Photo by Ashley Kay Mauer.

If you’re looking for a more relaxing atmosphere, Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is an option. This tea house was a gift to the City of Boulder from Dushanbe, where there is a sister tea house. The exterior is uniquely crafted with many windows and colorful, ceramic panels making it inviting even before you enter.

The interior is just as artistic and intriguing as the exterior. The ceiling has been painted with Persian art and there is a collection of statues in the center of the room called “The Seven Beauties.” They have meal options available and offer drinks to go, but if you have the time there is nothing quite like enjoying one of their unique teas in the tea house and soaking in the view and atmosphere. It’s a nice spot to slow down and catch up with your friends, family, or significant other.

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse Statues. Photo by Ashley Kay Mauer.

There is no more certain way to relax than by pampering yourself with a nice massage, facial, or soak at a spa. There are many options in Boulder such as The Spa at St. Julien, The Dragontree, Spavia, or Tru Skincare. If Boulder isn’t a convenient location, try the Mokara Spa in Broomfield, Hand and Stone in Westminster, or Holding Space Spa in Louisville. Appointments typically need to be booked in advance. The only stressful part is having to choose which treatment you want, or then again, why only pick one?

Wherever you leave the kids, or however you choose to spend your night out, we hope you enjoy your time away from your loveable, little terrors. Although, we’ll understand if you miss them while you’re away after all.

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