Best of Denver®

Best Of 2011


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Best Of :: Shopping & Services

Best Tween Birthday Party
Q Club and Lollicup

Purikura, the ultra-cute Japanese take on the old-fashioned photo booth, was tailor-made for thirteen-year-old American kids, especially girls, and it's hard to understand why it hasn't swept the nation yet, in this age of the photo-booth renaissance. But in Denver, you can have your purikura at Q Club, a little bit of Tokyo located in a Colorado Boulevard strip mall. Just step inside the extra-large booths, which can accommodate a fairly large group of brace-faced giggling girls, and take your shots. But the fun really begins afterward: The photographed gaggle moves to a screen where they can embellish pictures with glittery backgrounds, clip art, drawings and other delightful nonsense. That done, the machine spits out pages of the sticker-backed photos, which come in sizes from ultra-teensy to wallet-fitting. Scissors and other cutters are provided, and the cutouts can be affixed to cell phones, in photo albums, on foreheads or wherever else a silly photo might be desired; if needed, copies are available for an additional price. Finish the experience with a round of candy-colored boba drinks and some foosball at Lollicup, which is just a few doors away.

1589 S. Colorado Blvd., Denver, 80222
Best Affordable Glasses

For local musician Martina Grbac, there is life after Matson Jones: Although she still works on musical projects, Grbac's newest vision is eyeLAB, a sliding-scale optical service that provides eyeglasses to artists and other uninsured people who typically can't afford a nice pair. By nature a labor of love, eyeLAB is a one-woman deal, and the sliding-scale concept is unique, but Grbac hopes to pair with charitable organizations in the future so she can dispense free eyewear to the most indigent customers. Give her a visit, whether or not you can afford the smart new frames.

2298 Clay St., Denver, 80211
Best B-cycle Station

Public bikes and public art ought to go hand in hand, and at this stylin' RiNo B-cycle station, one of fifty in the city, they do. Colorado sculptor Christopher Hecker's untitled urban-art assemblage, built from recycled car hoods and emblazoned with the word "Bike," is the perfect advertisement for B-cycle, especially in an arts district: Not only does it repurpose a dinosaur automobile, but it encourages B-cycle patrons to trade in their metal for pedals.

Best Bargain Sweets
The Oops Room

As sugar addicts and cheapskates already know, it's a scientific fact that candy canes and butterscotch pillows taste exactly the same whether they're intact or broken into pieces. The only difference? The price. In the Oops Room at the Hammond's Candies factory, thrifty five-year-olds (and grown-ass men who love caramel marshmallows and saving money) can get their candy fix for less by buying the factory's fractured goods. At Hammond's, Denver's 91-year-old candy company, even the mistakes are delicious.

5735 N. Washington St., Denver, 80216
Best Bed-and-Breakfast
Queen Anne Urban Bed and Breakfast

The Queen Anne has everything you'd expect from a good downtown Denver B&B. Within reasonable walking distance of the 16th Street Mall and other urban attractions, its side-by-side Victorian houses open up to reveal old-style hospitality, served in lovely old rooms, some of which sport vaulted ceilings or city views. But it also runs on a streak of modernism: Proprietor Milan Doshi, a trained chef, dishes out lovely breakfasts based on locavore principles (there's a big garden in back in the summer, where guests can dine outdoors), and green and eco-friendly standards are observed throughout the inn, right down to the organic linens and low-flow toilets. To top it off, the Queen Anne also features a series of super-urban rooms decorated by an edgy stable of local artists and designers. For visitors hoping for a real city experience, it's an excellent launching pad.

2147-51 Tremont, Denver, 80205
Best Budget Broncos Jersey Makeover

Will he start? Won't he start? It doesn't matter. Denver Broncos (backup?) quarterback, underwear salesman and clean-living phenomenon Tim Tebow has sold a lot of No. 15 jerseys since the team drafted him in April 2010; in fact, his jersey has consistently been one of the NFL's top sellers. But jerseys are expensive, which gave Daniella Grieve, of Lombardi's Embroidery in Arvada, an idea: Bring her your old Brandon Marshall (remember him?) No. 15 jersey, and she'll replace the former Broncos wide receiver's name with Tebow's for $25. It's a bargain for Denver fans and a good way to make sure that Tebow groupies keep their shirts on.


Best Tween Birthday Party: Q Club and Lollicup


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