This story first appeared in Vacations & Travel magazine, spring 2019, issue 112
To match the art scene in Colorado’s Capital, Denver has an eclectic range of modern eateries, rooftop bars and craft breweries to entice locals and travellers alike.
Denver, Colorado, is the gateway to America’s west and a walkable, outdoor city with 300 days of sunshine, blue skies and breathtaking mountain scenery. Denver offers urban adventures for all ages in spring, summer, autumn or winter. Discover Denver’s creative side at the Denver Art Museum with its famous American Indian and Western art collections; see a concert under the stars at Red Rocks Amphitheatre; or take a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. After a day exploring Denver’s natural attractions and cool urban sights, you can enjoy a taste of these Denver foodie favourites.
Farm-to-table dining al fresco
With so many days of sunshine, Denver’s outdoor patios are the perfect setting to experience the city’s vibrant culinary scene. Sample locally-sourced cuisine at chef-owned restaurants in historic Larimer Square like TAG, featuring Asian-fusion dishes; or Rioja, a celebrated Mediterranean and Spanish restaurant. Head to Denver Union Station to check out new American restaurant Mercantile Dining & Provision; or share a pancake flight at Snooze.
Craft cocktail lounges and rooftop bars
Sophisticated, sleek and chic – Denver’s cocktail lounges and rooftop bars are great places to relax. The Cooper Lounge, located on the mezzanine of Denver Union Station overlooking the Great Hall, evokes the glamour and sophistication of the post-prohibition lounges of the 1930s with stunning views of downtown Denver through its huge, arched windows. Green Russell in Larimer Square is an underground speakeasy cocktail bar with an old-school spirit.
Denver may be a hipster’s paradise, but the food still embraces its pioneer past. Big, hearty Western food should be on your Denver dining itinerary. Try sweet buffalo meat or farm-raised elk at the Buckhorn Exchange. Founded in 1893, it’s the city’s oldest restaurant. The ornate interior adorned with antique guns and taxidermy adds to the ‘wild west’ experience. Or check out The Fort, a full-size replica of an adobe fur-trade fort, with local buffalo, elk and quail and more great views of downtown Denver.
Neighbourhood food halls
Make your way through creative neighbourhoods around the city centre such as RiNo (River North) with its colourful street art, independent boutiques, craft breweries and unique eateries. In RiNo, The Source Hotel & Market Hall is an artisan food market housed in an 1880s ironworks building. Along with a hotel, top Denver restaurants, baked goods, meats and flowers, this market features a full bar, beer and spirit vendors and an art gallery. Denver Central Market makes up for its small venue with friendly communal seating, a central bar and an ice-cream shop that shouldn’t be missed.
Experience the collective eatery concept at Avanti F & B (Food & Beverage) in Highlands neighbourhood, a two-storey food court that serves as an incubator for up-and-coming restaurants. There are two full bars and a great outdoor patio with views of Denver’s skyline.
Denver beer trail
Take a self-guided tour along the Denver Beer Trail and sample the craft beer paradise in the Mile High City. Explore the featured breweries, most of which are in the walkable downtown area. Sample the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout at Wynkoop Brewing Co. or the award-winning Graham Cracker Porter at Denver Beer Co’s sunny beer garden. Or check out Blue Moon Brewing Company in super hip RiNo (River North) Art District. Each September/early October, Denver celebrates beer in the Mile High City during Denver Beer Week, leading up to the annual Great American Beer Festival® to sample 3,500 beers from 700 American breweries.
Find out more: visitdenver.com