Best of Denver® 2015
One Sunday in late March, we drove through the Ballpark neighborhood into RiNo with a former Denver resident who’d moved east thirty years before — long before the River North industrial area became known as RiNo, in fact, and a decade before Coors Field opened in April 1995. That year, the LoDo Historic District was only seven years old, and the old warehouses were just beginning to fill with restaurants and residences that would transform the neighborhood into the town’s premier entertainment area. But the transformations didn’t end there, of course. They kept moving up Market Street, up Larimer Street, into the Platte Valley, spilling off to the left and right until today the swath of downtown from Cherry Creek and the Platte well up Brighton Boulevard is exploding, with people crowding outdoor decks and outdoor patios and fighting for parking and seats at the town’s hottest new restaurants. “What the hell happened here?” our visitor wondered. “Was there even a ‘here’ before?”
This is the 32nd Best of Denver issue, and in many ways the city it celebrates is almost unrecognizable from the town featured in the Best of Denver 1984. Through more than thirty years, though, two things have never changed about the Best of Denver: Although we’ve always polled our readers for their choices in over a hundred categories, those represent just a fraction of the total number of categories in the Best of Denver — and we play our own choices much more prominently. (Short explanation why: For decades, McDonald’s was the readers’ choice for Best French Fries, and while we respect the popular vote, an issue packed with answers like that would have all the nutrition of a fast-food meal.) And from the start, we made the cow the symbol of the Best of Denver. Why? Because back in the about-to-bust days of 1984, city boosters were worried that Denver’s cowtown reputation was holding us back.
Tell that to the people we ran into that same Sunday in late March, who were leaving a Garth Brooks concert, part of a nine-show extravaganza that was testament not only to this town’s cowtown heritage, but also to Denver’s role as the center of the Rocky Mountain West. Events large and small draw people from hundreds of miles around to experience the same booming city that residents enjoy every day. Some of the concert-goers were headed to the renovated Union Station, today a true transportation hub where you can drop big money on a meal or a room — but which also provides the Best Free Entertainment in town. The Best of Denver has become a giant beast of an issue that celebrates so much about what we love in this city, including its cowtown heritage. While we can’t honor everything every year, taken as a whole, 32 years of the Best of Denver add up to one big love letter to our town. We’re higher than ever on the Mile High City.
Find more Best of Denver® winners:
- Best Neighborhood GroupServicios de la Raza
- Best Friday the 13th Tattoo MarathonMarion Street Tattoo and Gallery
- Best Wildlife-Removal ServiceAGD Humane Varmint Control
- Best Name for a Tattoo ShopBound by Design
- Best Healthy Dog FoodBetty & Wilma's Pet Supply
- Best Luxury Pet ResortParadise 4 Paws DIA
- Best Wildlife-Spotting ServiceRocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
- Best Frozen Yogurt for DogsThe Bear & The Rat
- Readers' Choice: Best chicken wingsFire on the Mountain
- Complete Readers' Choice Winners' List
- Readers' Choice: Best concert of the yearColorado Symphony Orchestra
- Readers' Choice: Best local music videoThe Dendrites- "Sizzle Grizzle"
- Readers' Choice: Best local albumNathaniel Rateliff- "Falling Faster Than You Can Run"
- Readers' Choice: Best new bandArk Life
- Readers' Choice: Best dance clubBeauty Bar
- Readers' Choice: Best rock clubHi-Dive
- Readers' Choice: Best comedy nightComedy Works
- Readers' Choice: Best theater seasonCurious Theatre
- Readers' Choice: Best theater production"The Book of Mormon"
- Readers' Choice: Best film festivalStarz Denver Film Festival
- Readers' Choice: Best movie theater-- programmingAlamo Drafthouse Cinema
- Readers' Choice: Best movie theater-- comfortAlamo Drafthouse Cinema
- Readers' Choice: Best movie theater-- food/drinkAlamo Drafthouse Cinema
- Readers' Choice: Best gallery show-- groupMomentum at Space Gallery
- Ten Ways to Celebrate Gay Pride This Weekend in Denver
- Diva Watch 2015: Whatever Le'D Fatale Wants, Le'D Fatale Gets
- Two Denver Restaurants Earn Status Among the Best in World from Travel + Leisure
- Diva Watch 2015: Janessa Befierce, Denver's Best Drag Queen
- Five Best Places to Enjoy an Old-School Summer Night in Denver
- Ten Reasons the Stanley Film Festival Is to Die For
- Five Best Movie Theaters for Food and Drink in Denver
- Time Travel at South Broadway's Fifty Two '80s Store, Where Nostalgia Runs Deep
- The Five Best Flea Markets in Metro Denver
- Ten Reasons the Mercury Cafe Should Stay Open Another Forty Years
- The Five Best Sites for Looking at Denver's Past
- Six Best Spanish-Language Karaoke Bars in Denver
- Reader: Your Advice on Where to Eat — Especially Italian! — Is Cow Poop
- Does 9News "Backyard" Segment Pass the Smell Test?