Hungry and mobile after midnight, it used to be that Denny's, IHOP and Waffle House were all that came to mind. Now the city's relatively flush with options, with expansion all the time. And though you might have to catch the kitchen on a Friday or Saturday night (all hours listed are likewise for the weekend), at least you're only eating Moons Over My Hammy if you want to.
Alchemy (2625 W. Colorado Ave., alchemypubcolorado.com) loves to play, evidenced up front by its tagline, "Not just a pub." Cocktails trend toward the modern, with a limited menu kicking in at 10 p.m. and staying until around 1:30 a.m. Look for pretzels made by the geniuses at Wimberger's Old World Bakery & Delicatessen; salmon smoked to order, served with lavender and honey; and a spinach-mushroom-artichoke dip. Yeah, science!
Alfonso's Mexican Food
It's not uncommon for a meal at Alfonso's Mexican Food (1022 S. 21st St., 575-9289) to end with the line, "Why don't we eat here more often?" The rice is fluffy, the refried beans deeply flavored, and the staff cares that you get what you want. So, until 2 a.m., you can go big with the Don Pancho — a three-foot monstrosity of meat, guacamole and beans — or keep it simple with a smoky adobada torta, perfectly situated on a chewy telera roll. Drink the incredible red-pepper sauce if you love that feeling of rising panic (or just have a death wish).
The Cheese Grill
Scott Clark says he may not expand his hours until mid-April or so, but after that, The Cheese Grill (26 E. Kiowa St., tinyurl.com/nqcdt96) plans to be cooking until 3:30 a.m. There's a base menu of melts (for instance, a Cordon Bleu served with a side of Chardonnay punched up with butter and garlic) and mac-and-cheeses (like a carnitas mac made with Hatch chiles), but Clark's got random creations up his sleeve at all times. Watch out for the fried Snickers and marshmallow wontons next to vanilla-bean ice cream.
Green Line Grill
Some of the best burgers around can be yours until 3 in the damn morning. That's when Green Line Grill (230½ Pueblo Ave., greenlinegrill.com) shuts down the fires for the last time, meaning no more El Reno-style onion burgers. But before then, owner and chef Bobby Couch cooks onions to their maximum before smashing them into a custom beef blend seared on high. They're messy and perfect, and with sweet mustard slaw on the side, there's never a reason to sleep.
King's Chef Diner
Probably the king of late-night chef-ery, from its location at 131 E. Bijou St., King's Chef Diner (cosdiner.com) until 4 a.m. pumps out plate after plate of specialties like The Grump: "a mound of hash browns, [choice of meat], grilled yellow onions, shredded cheese, another mound of hash browns, two eggs all stacked up then smothered in our homemade country gravy and topped with more shredded cheese." Expect a rocking radio, lively crowds and killer green chili.
The Point Sports Pub & Grill
Though you're more likely to already have been drinking at The Point (1545 S. Eighth St., thepointsportsbar.com) than going there especially for eats, you won't be sorry if you do. (As long as it's before 1:30 a.m., that is.) The menu runs the gamut of bar food — from hot jalapeño dip to a double mushroom-Swiss burger — but the portions, like a vinyl-record-sized chicken quesadilla, are impressive. Watch for the specialty days, like fish tacos on Fridays.
The Rabbit Hole
The Rabbit Hole (101 N. Tejon St., rabbitholedinner.com) says last call for food comes around 1:10 a.m., but until then you can dance with diversity. Will it be the orange-honey duck wings or the blackened tofu sticks? The bacon-wrapped rabbit meatloaf or the chicken chicharrónes? One option is to save mental energy and just buy the butcher block for two, "covered in meat — rabbit, chicken, game meats galore," writes one Yelp user. "It's a carnal dish, meant for sharing."