Any roundup of west-side watering holes should probably start with Front Range Barbeque (written up in our restaurants section), where the symbiotic relationship between ribs and roots is manifested in the best ways possible. Its comfortable patio hosts local bluegrass and blues heroes on some evenings, but it's a good place to chill virtually anytime.
If jazz is more your speed, check the live music schedule at Motif (2432 W. Cucharras St., 635-5635, motifwest.com), which promises a hip, contemporary and pretty cost-effective night out. Just be aware: It's typically open Thursday through Saturday only, and reservations are recommended.
A block away at Thunder & Buttons II (2415 W. Colorado Ave., thunderandbuttons.com), the offerings include rotating craft beers and some friendly hospitality. From there, it's just a short crawl to Meadow Muffins (2432 W. Colorado Ave., 633-0583), which captures the classic feel of the west side with intentionally random, but eye-catching decor.
Closer to downtown, there's Benny's Restaurant & Lounge (517 W. Colorado Ave., 634-9309), where the line of choppers parked outside guarantees a good time inside, and the Dutch Mill Tavern (503 W. Colorado Ave., 471-3370), which guarantees a true local-tavern experience.
Now if, by chance, you've ventured into Manitou Springs, you'll have plenty of options. For wine drinkers, there's Swirl Wine Bar (717 Manitou Ave., 685-2294, swirlwineemporium.com), which tied for first as Best Wine Bar in the Indy's most recent readers' poll, and Mona's Wine Cellar (733 Manitou Ave., 685-0277, monalisafondue.com), where you can enjoy your tastings with a side of cheese or chocolate fondue.
Meanwhile, the Townhouse Lounge (907 Manitou Ave., 685-1085, thetownhouselounge.com), Kinfolks Mountain Shop (950 Manitou Ave., 685-4433, kinfolksmanitou.com) and the Ancient Mariner (962 Manitou Ave., 685-5503, tinyurl.com/ancientmar) are good bets for a microbrew, weekly live music, and a taste of the town's true personality.