Best of Denver®

Best Of 2003


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Best Of :: Shopping & Services

Best Place to Buy Real Cuban Cigars

Screw those whiny city anti-smoking ordinances. For some, nothing beats a fat stogie and a stiff drink after a tough week. Lucky for you, El Cid's tobacco shop in northwest Denver is moments away from anywhere, and it features more than a hundred varieties of fine cigars imported from various steamy Central American climes and lovingly housed in a terrifically aromatic walk-in humidor. Such special smokes are proffered by a thoroughly knowledgeable staff, hardcore leaf aficionados who can tell a Honduran from a Dominican in a single whiff. El Cid's sells hand-rolled Deseo and other Cubans (they're legal, because they're made with aged, pre-embargo Cuban tobacco from the 1950s) starting at around $6. High rollers must try the $46 Lars Teten: The tobacco leaves dry above a vat of steaming exotic oils, creating one sweet-smelling stinker.

Best Free Service

So you're at a bar, and a certain creepy someone is refusing to leave you alone unless you give him or her your phone number. What to do? Tell the heavy breather in question to call you at 303-575-1696 -- digits that just happen to dial up Denver's Rejection Hotline, a local service of the Web site Although the Hotline's recorded voice is briefly understanding ("I know this sucks, but don't be too devastated"), it's anything but in the long run, hinting that the person being dissed may be "short, fat, ugly, dumb," suffer from "bad breath" or "body odor," give off a "stalker vibe," or is about as much fun as "playing leapfrog with a unicorn." There's no better way to tell that certain unwanted someone to take a hike.

Best Free Seasonal Service

Carousing in LoDo got a whole lot easier -- or at least a bit more sensible -- last New Year's Eve, thanks to the soberRide program underwritten by AT&T Wireless. Folks who'd overdone the bubbly and lacked the means or foresight to book a room downtown for the night were provided free cab rides (up to $50 in value). From 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., chariots awaited, available at cab stands or through a toll-free number. And New Year's revelers got home safely to sleep off their excesses in the comfort of their own beds. But come to think of it, wasn't the name a bit misleading?

Best Free Service at DIA

Sometimes it seems like DIA doesn't want anyone to leave. Is there some kind of strange force field that sucks the juice from car batteries, flattens tires and disguises vehicles parked in the sprawling economy lots and distant car-parks, rendering their owners powerless to drive far, far away? Perhaps -- but it's no match for the good people at AMPCO System Parking, who scour the premises for infirm autos and offer gratis jump-starts, lock-out assistance, tire inflation and guidance for the hopelessly lost. Armed with a license-plate number, they can locate a car for the weary traveler who's just

plumb forgot where he parked it. AMPCO's attentive employees don't accept tips, so be sure to at least smile and wave as you pull out and motor on.

Best DIA Survival Guide

After over two million hours of air travel, the average American would pull out his or her hair. But Littleton resident E. Larry Beaumont didn't do that. Instead, he wrote a book to help other frequent fliers survive the perils of air travel unscathed. From pre-travel planning, check-in and boarding to flight and arrival, Beaumont takes travelers through the experience with the least amount of pain -- and loads of humor. Included with the advice are humorous stories and suggestions for making travel experiences as enjoyable as possible, often at the expense of others.

Best Freebie at the Cherry Creek Mall

It's not easy finding something for nothing at the Cherry Creek Mall. Certainly there are deals to be had, but nothing, not even the free perfume samples, matches the value of the free air compressor behind the mall (near Chevy's). No doubt intended for cyclists passing by on the Cherry Creek Bike Path, the air compressor also beckons to four-wheelers with low tire pressure. So the next time some bohemian friend says, "The Cherry Creek Mall blows, dude," reply "Yes, it does -- for free."


Best Place to Buy Real Cuban Cigars: El Cid's


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