In the world of beverages, there are certain pairing juggernauts that we’re all familiar with: wine and cheese; pop rocks and soda; tequila and regret; and, of course, beer and buffalo wings. Buffalo wing flavors are just as versatile and varied and beer varietals these days, so you can generally find a wing that suits your fancy.
Myself, I can’t stand having messy hands, so I tend to go with the dry rubs and avoid the wings slathered in spicy sauce. When I do eat coated wings, I can consume a restaurant’s entire inventory of wet naps with my incessant wiping and cleaning of my hands and mouth. It’s a fairly embarrassing display of neurotic behavior, so I save the sloppy stuff for takeout.
For those of you with a higher tolerance for food mess and a love of buffalo wings, here are several places in Boulder you should give a go to get your wing fix in your own backyard.
West End Tavern
While there aren’t any varieties, you can get a dozen or half dozen wings that locals love. If you’re looking to prove your love of buffalo wings or your gastrointestinal fortitude, West End has a Wing King challenge. If you can eat 50 wings in 30 minutes, you get your very own t-shirt, 50 free wings, and your name on their wall of fame.
Dark Horse Bar and Grill
A Boulder landmark for over 40 years, the Dark Horse has had years to perfect its recipe. Or should I say recipes (plural), because selection is the name of game here. Choose from plain, hot, extra hot, BBQ, teriyaki, spicy dry rub, house Carolina style BBQ, or a combo of hot and BBQ sauces.
For those of you living southwest Boulder, get yourself to the Southern Sun for their jumbo wings. Pick between BBQ and hot sauce and get 12, 8, or 6 wings. For those of you thinking you can do the same at the Mountain Sun, you are mistaken my friend. According to their menu, wings are not available at the main Boulder location, only the Southern Sun. An additional friendly reminder: they are cash only, so hit up an ATM before your hands are covered in hot sauce or you’re in luck — there’s an ATM on-premise with a ridiculously low fee so you can score cash AND wings.
Don’t worry, vegans, this place hasn’t abandoned you in your time of bar food need. Native Food’s buffalo wings are 100% plant-based so no chickadees were harmed in the making of your grub. The benefit to vegan wings: they’re always boneless. Though I don’t know if you can call them wings; maybe buffalo nuggets?
Of course I’m including a brewery on this list because, as stated at the beginning, nothing pairs better with wings than beer. East Boulderites, dig into their smoked, dry-rub wings with spiced honey FATE hot sauce. Did your mouth water when you read that description? It’s okay because I may or may not have a small drool puddle on my desk after writing it.
Here it is. You knew one of the places on this list would have a “wings night” and Harpo’s is it. On Wednesdays you can choose from bone-in wings for $0.75 each or boneless wings for $0.50 each. This place also has a plethora of sauces and rubs to choose from: wicked hot, spicyaki, honey habanero, raspberry chipotle, spicy Cholula, BBQ chipotle, traditional buffalo, buffalo gold, tangy mustard and garlic, sweet and spicy plum, bourbon glazed, sweet Caribbean, teriyaki, tangy BBQ, Jamaican jerk-spiced rub, and fajita-spiced rub. WHEW. That’s a list.
Dig in, friends, and if you get to a place that’s out of wet naps, I’m sorry, you must have just missed me.