Denver’s Hippest Restaurants and Bars You Must Visit
Downtown Denver has evolved into a foodie haven so you don’t have to walk far for a cocktail and a memorable bite. Along the way, you can see just how much the city has embraced the past and the future.
Make your way west on 14th St. to Larimer Square (more of a block than a true square), known for some of the city’s first buildings which were once brothels and saloons. Rioja is a personal favorite for a bite to eat here. If you don’t stop here, keep going to 16th or 17th St. and turn left until you reach Wynkoop St. On 17th St. between Wynkoop and Wazee Sts. is the Oxford Hotel and inside is the Cruise Room, an Art Deco bar with classic cocktails.
Union Station can’t—and shouldn’t–be missed as an beautiful example of saving a historic building and improving on it. This is still a train station, as well as the Crawford Hotel and home to a few gift shops, restaurants and bars. If it’s evening, start with Cooper Lounge in the catbird seat for drinks. Mercantile is an excellent spot for lunch or dinner and you can get a scoop of ice cream (make it Salted Oreo) at the Milk Box Creamery for dessert.
Across the street from Union Station is Wynkoop Brewing Coompany, co-founded by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and known for it’s many pool tables and creative ales (Oyster Stout, that’s all I’m saying).
If you turned back now, this much could be a respectable walk, but you can keep going too. If you walk down Wynkoop St. to Coors Field, hang a right to walk east to Larimer St. Wait! At the corner of 20th St. and Market St. is El Chapultepec, a throwback to Denver’s grittier days with cheap beer and hot jazz on a late night.
Continue walking down Larimer St. north to cross Broadway. No, it won’t all be scenic and redone in these few blocks, but soon you’ll be in “RiNo” (short for River North), a trendy neighborhood of restaurants, nightclubs, and galleries. You’ll see colorful murals painted on many of the old brick buildings here.
The stretch of Larimer between Broadway and Downing St. is chock full of restaurants, bars and coffee shops. It’s hard to pick just a few places to recommend out of the dozens to choose from, but I’m partial to Sushi-Rama for the sushi delivered via conveyor belt, il posto for fresh and creative Italian dishes, if you’re daring you can try things like octopus tacos at Los Chingones, The Denver Central Market has several vendors to choose from, and Infinite Monkey Theorem is an urban winery worth a stop. One block over on Walnut St. are a few more eateries such as the Walnut Room and Osaka Ramen.
Now it’s time to walk off the calories and walk south back to the convention center.