Best Of Food & Drink

  • Best Restaurant on Federal Boulevard

    Chili Verde

    Mexican fare isn't difficult to find on Federal Boulevard, especially if you're looking for street tacos, fat tortas or foil-wrapped breakfast burritos oozing with Denver-style green chile.

  • Best Restaurant on Broadway

    Gozo

    The aroma of wood smoke greets you at the door at Gozo and tags along through the course of your meal, grounding the menu of Mediterranean-inspired dishes and blistered pizzas with rustic notes.

  • Best Restaurant on West 32nd Avenue

    Uncle

    West 32nd Avenue runs through the heart of Denver's Highland neighborhood, and today holds a string of eateries well-suited to the residential zone it has become to the west. But in 2012, Tommy Lee dropped an umami bomb on the east end of the street in what's become known as LoHi — a hip moniker coined by and for the young and fashionable set who now pack the shoebox noodle house nightly.

  • Best Restaurant on Colfax Avenue

    To the Wind Bistro

    Playfully named for the state of inebriation, as in "three sheets to the wind," To the Wind Bistro sounds like a shoo-in for another category — maybe Best Place to Tie One On.

  • Best Restaurant on Havana Street

    Katsu Ramen

    Choosing a favorite restaurant on Havana Street is like picking a favorite child — we love all the diverse ethnic eateries here — but Katsu Ramen is a standout, because the metro area's ramen scene is hotter than sriracha and cooler than mochi ice cream right now.

  • Best Restaurant at DIA

    Root Down

    This is how you know that Root Down is still the best restaurant at Denver International Airport: You're willing to 1) ride the train from wherever you are at the airport to Concourse C; 2) stand in line for a seat once you get there; and 3) resist rushing through your Thai carrot-curry soup or mole-drenched breakfast burrito, even if it means a mad dash back to your gate for boarding.

  • Best DIA Connection

    Root Down and Vert Kitchen

    There's a lot happening at Denver International Airport these days, but the most mouthwatering partnership is the one between Root Down and Vert Kitchen, which is now augmenting the premium sit-down menu with three daily grab-and-go salads — tuna power, sesame tofu and kale Caesar — for travelers in a hurry.

  • Best Food Truck/Cart

    The Orange Crunch

    Filipino cuisine isn’t easy to locate in Denver, and most of what you’ll find is of the mobile variety.

  • Best 24/7 Restaurant

    Tacos Rapidos

    When searching for sustenance at 3 a.m., certain rules apply: The food should be cheap, fast and filling.

  • Best Menu for the Munchies

    TAG Burger Bar

    Toasted Cheez-It and Goldfish mac and cheese, adult milkshakes, deep-fried Oreos with Nutella? Troy Guard might've had the munchies when he came up with TAG Burger Bar's playfully innovative menu, a gluttonous ode to our childhood.

  • Best Patio for Play

    Local 46

    Whether you're looking for a patio where you can relax by a fire or one where you can work up a sweat throwing around bocce balls, Local 46's biergarten is the best place to play.

  • Best Restaurant Patio

    Domo

    Domo is more than just a restaurant. It's a museum, an experience in Japanese culture, built to look like a country house with a traditional Nippon Kan aikido dojo on the side and a garden out back. And what a garden: This is an ideal urban oasis, with wood-stump tables...

  • Best Rooftop Patio

    Ignite Burgers & Bar

    A great rooftop bar doesn't require a great view of the mountains. At Ignite, you do glimpse the mountains (until taller buildings go up in the Platte Valley) and see some of the city skyline, but the real draw is the space itself: It's half-enclosed, half open-air, ready for any season.

  • Best Patio for Pets

    Denver Beer Co.

    You don't have to have a pup in tow to enjoy Denver Beer Co.'s pooch-friendly patio. No matter when you visit this Platte Street brewery, you'll find dogs lounging under picnic tables and bar stools, waiting for a stranger to give a good scratch.

  • Best Fast-Casual Restaurant/Chain

    Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery

    In a sector dominated by wraps, bowls and burritos, Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery feels more fine-dining than fast-casual, with tables and booths crafted of wide-plank barn wood and reclaimed fences, batched cocktails and a globally inspired menu of entrees, salads and sandwiches.

  • Best Sandwich Shop

    Salt & Grinder

    Restaurateur Frank Bonanno has built his reputation on singular dishes — like the lobster macaroni and cheese at his flagship eatery, Mizuna — and fine-dining experiences that strike a balance of fun and elegance.

  • Best Mac and Cheese

    West End Tap House

    Mac and cheese is one of those contentious foods: Purists believe the focus should be solely on the noodles and the cheese, while gastronauts like it gussied up with lobster, bacon and all the fixings.

  • Best Soup of the Day

    The Noshery

    Pastries and sandwiches get top billing at the Noshery, a homespun bakery-cafe where Regis University students talk shop before class and families gather on weekends.

  • Best Potato Chips

    Jackson's Honest Chips

    A decade ago, a mom whose two-year-old son suffered from a rare autoimmune disorder started dipping local potatoes in coconut oil and kettle-cooking them in her Crested Butte kitchen to create a healthy snack.

  • Best French Fries

    North County

    North County, named for the San Diego region famous for fish tacos and other Baja-style beach eats, opened at the end of 2014 in Lowry, where it offers fresh and satisfying seafood and deeply flavored slow-cooked meats, along with an impressive tequila list and bottled boozy sodas made in-house.

  • Best Hot Dog

    The Über Sausage

    While the name of this Colfax Avenue shack is a clear indication of its specialty, a couple of dogs share menu space with Über's selection of tasty sausage blends.

  • Best Hamburger

    Jimmy's Urban Bar & Grill

    Jimmy's has the kind of menu that makes you think either "hell, yes" or "hot mess." A little too ambitious for straight-up bar-food fans and with an international streak that could spell disaster, Jimmy's somehow manages to keep it all together and put out clever yet satisfying twists on drinking fare.

  • Best Veggie Burger

    WaterCourse Foods

    WaterCourse Foods bills itself as "eating the path of least resistance since 1998," but that doesn't mean it takes the easy way out.

  • Best Vegetarian Ramen

    Uncle

    When a few carrot sticks just won't cut it, head to Uncle for the vegetarian ramen.

  • Best Vegetarian Dish in a Non-Vegetarian Restaurant

    The Plimoth

    Technically, the Plimoth's cauliflower turnip gratinée is a side — so you'll want to order several and make a night of it, because this vegetarian dish is as delicious as any of the meatier entrees on the menu at this charming neighborhood spot.

  • Best Vegan Dish in a Non-Vegan Restaurant

    Zeal

    When you walk into Zeal, you enter a fresh, clean space whose vibe is immediately rejuvenating.

  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    City, O' City

    City, O' City isn't just a restaurant, it's a community. There are classes and programs upstairs, gatherings in the bar and out on the patio, entertaining reading in the bathrooms.

  • Best Chimichurri

    Olive & Finch

    While Mary Nguyen is primarily known for her Asian and French fusions at P17 and Olive & Finch, one of her menu standouts is not a dish, but a sauce.

  • Best Barbecue Restaurant

    Wayne's Smoke Shack

    Texas doesn't get much love from Coloradans, but the barbecue at Wayne's Smoke Shack in Superior could change that.

  • Best Meatball

    Acorn

    The best meatball in town doesn't come on top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese. Rather, it comes in a cast-iron skillet, which is delivered by the servers at Acorn with the warning to be careful, this is hot.

  • Best Meat-Centric Menu With No Beef

    Beast + Bottle

    Beast is in the name of this bright and lively eatery, and beast is what you'll get — in almost every form but beef.

  • Best Steakhouse

    Guard and Grace

    We wouldn't steer you wrong: It takes balls — bull's balls — to open a modern steakhouse in this cowtown.

  • Best Steak in a Non-Steakhouse Restaurant

    Vesta Dipping Grill

    It's no surprise that Vesta has a way with grilled meats, but even skeptical steak lovers will be impressed with the kitchen's mastery of tenderloin.

  • Best Charcuterie

    Colt & Gray and Ste. Ellie

    If you're going to cure meats for two restaurants, you might as well build your own curing facility — which is exactly what Colt & Gray owner-executive chef Nelson Perkins did when he decided to expand Colt & Gray.

  • Best Place for a Little Tongue

    Olive & Finch

    Chef/restaurateur Mary Nguyen came to prominence with her elegant interpretations of Vietnamese cuisine, but her love of European cafe culture prompted her to open Olive & Finch, an all-day market serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casual, bustling atmosphere that encourages lingering and neighborly exchanges.

  • Best Pâté

    Trillium

    Back in 2011, chef-owner Ryan Leinonen transformed a hundred-year-old Ballpark-neighborhood pawn shop into a glossy but approachable modern Scandinavian restaurant that rapidly became known for its Swedish-, Norwegian- and Finnish-influenced-menu, which pays special attention to smoked and brined fish and smorgasbord appetizers.

  • Best Affordable Foie Gras

    Williams & Graham

    Foie gras is among the most luxurious of luxury foods, and the fatty goose- or duck-liver delicacies are generally considered expensive — and controversial.

  • Best Chicken Wings

    Boone's Tavern

    Boone's Tavern, a favorite in the University of Denver neighborhood, underwent some changes last year when part of the space was walled off and turned into the more upscale Atticus and the rest of the bar was given an upgrade over its old working-class, sports-bar vibe.

  • Best Place to Get in the Skin Game

    Pinche Taqueria

    Chefs have been finding more and more creative ways to sell off-cuts of meat, either through the noble guise of nose-to-tail cooking or as an attempt to capture ethnic authenticity.

  • Best Fried Chicken

    The Post Brewing Company

    We knew the beer at the Post Brewing Company would be good, since it's crafted by nationally recognized brewmaster Bryan Selders.

  • Best Fish and Chips

    Argyll Whisky Beer

    Fish and chips isn't the national dish, or even the city's addiction. That might change, however, if every man, woman and child residing at 5,280 feet above sea level could get their hands on the fish and chips at Argyll Whisky Beer.

  • Best Creative Use of Pop Rocks

    TAG

    In its simplest form, this dish at TAG translates to yellowtail sashimi with Pop Rocks.

  • Best House-Cured Fish

    Rosenberg's Deli

    Folks are picky about their bagels, and Rosenberg's owner Josh Pollack has gone beyond the call of duty in his attempt to re-create one of New York's most iconic foods, going so far as to replicate New York City water in his Five Points kitchen.

  • Best Shrimp and Grits

    Acorn

    While Acorn is primarily known for its elevated small plates, don't overlook the comfort foods here.

  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    Stoic & Genuine

    The best seafood restaurants are often shacks on the beach, with sea breezes blowing in and tables oriented to catch the rosy hues of the setting sun. But we're in Denver, remember? Owners Beth Gruitch and Jennifer Jasinski used this fact to their advantage, taking our distance from the coasts...

  • Best Raw Bar

    Jax Fish House

    The Boulder and LoDo locations of Jax Fish House have been premier destinations for impeccably fresh seafood and well-shucked oysters since they opened in the mid-1990s, but the newest member of the metro-area Jax family, which opened in Glendale's CitySet development in 2013, stepped up the game with more space, a second bar upstairs and a clean, modern vibe that pairs perfectly with raw-bar offerings.

  • Best Ceviche

    Lola Mexican Fish House

    Lola has the deck of a great beach bar, the vibe of a great beach bar, the menu of a great beach bar — all that's missing is the beach.

  • Best Sushi Bar

    Sushi Den

    Freshness, variety, creativity and execution: Those are the hallmarks that put Sushi Den at the apex of Denver's sushi scene year after year.

  • Best Japanese Restaurant

    Sushi Sasa

    Chef Wayne Conwell's minimalist dining room is known, rightfully, as one of Denver's top destinations for sushi.

  • Best Japanese Fast Food

    Motomaki

    Is it something in the water? Colorado has birthed many smashing fast-casual concepts, and Motomaki might be the most ambitious, creative one yet.

  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    JJ Chinese Seafood Restaurant

    The multiple menus at this eatery adorned with live tanks assure you that there's something here for almost every taste — all of it prepared with skill and an eye to tradition and served by some of the friendliest waitstaff in town.

  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Viet's

    Viet's owner Hiep Thai comes from a restaurant family — and it shows in the quality of each dish on the extensive menu, ranging from simple rice or noodle combos with grilled beef or chicken to elaborate hot pots brimming with all manner of meat, fish and fowl.

  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Suvipa Thai Food

    Suvipa Thai Food opened last year in a spot that's seen a fair amount of turnover since the much-missed Vietnam Grill closed a couple of years ago.

  • Best Korean Restaurant

    Dae Gee

    What started out as an obscure ethnic eatery tucked into the back of a Westminster strip mall has morphed into a minor Denver phenomenon since owner Joseph Kim added a second location on Colorado Boulevard, close to the heart of the city.

  • Best Tabletop Condiment

    Crisp Chili Oil at Ace

    Walking into Ace Eat Serve, you'll notice two things: Everyone is having a great time, either sampling Asian-inspired finger food or scampering around the ping-pong tables in the back room, and every table is topped with a condiment caddie sporting jars of sludgy chile oil.

  • Best Indian Restaurant

    Tiffin's India Cafe

    Tiffin's India Cafe is named for the portable mid-morning or midday meal in South India.

  • Best Meal in a Bowl

    Biju's Little Curry Shop

    Biju Thomas's fast-casual ode to the South Indian foods of his childhood just opened in December, but already it's become one of the top Indian eateries in the city.

  • Best Ethiopian Restaurant

    Megenagna

    There's no printed menu at this cute Ethiopian eatery decorated with palm fronds, bamboo and rough-hewn furniture and attached to an Aurora market, but there are only two Ethiopian words you need to know: tibs and kitfo.

  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Phoenician Kabob

    Small details can mean the difference between good and great food, and fresh-baked breads are often one of those details.

  • Best German/Eastern European Restaurant

    Golden Europe

    Big, hearty dishes of simply prepared Germanic and Slavic dishes are the name of the game at Golden Europe, the Czech-run Arvada favorite that's been serving up schnitzel, wurst and cabbage for more than twenty years.

  • Best French Restaurant

    Bistro Barbès

    It's easy for French food to feel as tired as the stuff served to tourists on the Champs-Élysées.

  • Best Italian Restaurant

    Panzano

    Panzano may be located in the Hotel Monaco, but this is not your usual hotel restaurant. Unless, that is, your usual hotel restaurant happens to be in northern Italy. The motto of chef Elise Wiggins and her team at Panzano is Chi mangia bene, viva bene — "Those who eat...

  • Best New York-Style Pizza

    Ernie's Bar & Pizza

    This is Denver, so not every dish of East Coast origin must conform to the exact specifications of the pizzas, bagels or deli sandwiches that rule in Manhattan or Brooklyn.

  • Best Chicago-Style Pizza

    Patxi's

    Patxi's proves that you don't have to be from Chicago — or even the Midwest — to know how to dish good deep-dish pizza.

  • Best Pizza

    Cart-Driver

    Cart-Driver is a sliver of a restaurant, not much larger than the Italian carrettiera's horse-drawn cart that inspired the name.

  • Best Central/South American Restaurant (not Mexican)

    Maria Empanada

    Lorena Cantarovici originally opened her Argentine bakery in a tiny Lakewood shack that didn't have room for much more than a pastry case bursting with savory empanadas and tartas.

  • Best Tacos

    La Calle Taqueria y Carnitas

    Finding a Mexican joint that specializes in a certain style of meat or regional specialty is often the best bet when hunting for hidden treasures; the perfect tacos al pastor and the most mouthwatering barbacoa are seldom found in the same place.

  • Best Salsa Bar

    El Taco Veloz

    El Taco Veloz operates two taco joints on Federal Boulevard; both are worth a visit for their salsa bars, but for different reasons.

  • Best House Margarita

    Adelitas Cocina y Cantina

    Adelitas Cocina y Cantina, a comfortable neighborhood spot that opened in May 2013 on South Broadway, blew us away last year with its house margarita, and the best got even better this year, when owner Brian Rossi switched out his house tequila.

  • Best Vegetarian Green Chile

    Work & Class

    Yes, you know that Work & Class is incredibly hip, with very long lines. Take advantage of the $5 wait drink and you might care a little less about waiting — especially when you know that the town's best vegetarian green chile awaits.

  • Best Tamales

    La Fuente

    La Fuente is a little hard to spot during the day, but the neon cacti over the door lead the way at night.

  • Best Breakfast Burrito — Smothered

    Chickee's Lil Kitchen

    Walk up to the window at Chickee's, in the heart of Sunnyside, and ring the bell or holler hello if you don't see owner Harriet Sanchez; she's probably in the back, cooking up something good.

  • Best Breakfast Burrito — Handheld

    Araujo's Restaurant

    There's plenty of breakfast-burrito competition in what we've come to regard as the Burrito Triangle of Denver: In the 2500 block of Federal Boulevard, an expanded Santiago's faces off against Jack-n-Grill; both open early and do a big business in breakfast burritos. But right around the corner, Araujo's blows them...

  • Best Bread

    Grateful Bread Company

    If you've found yourself swept off your feet recently by an extra-crisp baguette or focaccia with just the right amount of oil and rosemary, there's a good chance it was made by Grateful Bread.

  • Best Bakery

    Azucar Bakery

    Azucar Bakery doesn't just build beautiful decorative cakes for special events, it's also possibly the only Peruvian cafe in town, featuring lovely, flaky orejitas ("little ears"), sweet alfajores (shortbread rounds glued together with dulce de leche) and sponge-cake rolls called pionono filled with mocha crème or dulce de leche.

  • Best Doughnuts

    Glazed & Confuzed

    We started following doughnut-makers Josh Schwab and Ben Hafdahl long before they opened this hip storefront on Leetsdale last year, with green counters and music so loud that the place could be mistaken for a bar.

  • Best Pie

    The Post Brewing Company

    With pie this good, you'd think it was Thanksgiving.

  • Best Gluten-Free Menu

    Work & Class

    If you're gluten-free, the question at the ever-popular Work & Class isn't "What can I eat?" but "What can't I eat?"

  • Best Gluten-Free Truck

    Quiero Arepas

    There's nothing worse than friends who talk nonstop about their awesome gluten-free diet. But take one bite of Quiero Arepas's corn-based all-natural goodness, and you're likely to start annoying your friends, too.

  • Best Pastry Chef

    Lonne Cunningham

    Thanks to his work at Fruition and the love heaped on him by local and national press, Alex Seidel was already a household name — at least among food-lovers — when Mercantile Dining & Provision opened in Union Station last September. Lonne Cunningham, his pastry chef, was not.

  • Best Ice Cream/Gelato Shop

    High Point Creamery

    For years, ice cream has been the domain of kids, with their birthday parties and messy sundae bars. Now High Point Creamery seems intent on taking back frozen desserts, one cone at a time.

  • Best Iced Coffee

    Vinh Xuong Bakery II

    Nothing jump-starts productivity quicker than the combination of coffee and condensed milk. For those in search of the perfect iced coffee, all roads lead to Vinh Xuong Bakery in the Alameda Square Shopping Center.

  • Best European-Style Coffee Shop

    Cafe Max

    The atmosphere at Cafe Max is relaxing and calm — a stark contrast to the stretch of East Colfax just outside the coffee shop, which sits across from East High School.

  • Best Cortado

    Aviano Coffee

    Microfoam meets the crema of a perfectly pulled espresso shot to form tight striations in the shape of a rosetta: Welcome to cortado heaven.

  • Best Coffeehouse for Getting Work Done

    Bardo Coffee House

    Just past the hustle and bustle of the usual hangs in Baker is the quaint, quiet Bardo Coffee House.

  • Best Coffee Pourers

    Breakfast King

    This famous breakfast institution is packing four decades of history, and some of the women who proudly wear the spot's white-and-orange uniforms have been here almost that long.

  • Best New Coffeehouse

    Huckleberry Roasters

    Even though Denver is awash in coffee shops, a visit to this Huckleberry Roasters can be a stirring experience. The small cafe — the second Roasters location — opened last year in the front of a reclaimed shipping-container building on Larimer Street.

  • Best Mystery Brunch Item

    Monkey Brains

    Since this is the only dish on the Beatrice & Woodsley menu with no description whatsoever, you wouldn't blink if the kitchen actually did serve up monkey brains for brunch, given the restaurant's inclination to surprise customers with interesting combinations and its penchant for storytelling.

  • Best Banana-Bread French Toast

    Root Down

    While Root Down updates its brunch menu seasonally, one of the tried-and-true mainstays is the oh-so-delectable banana-bread French toast.

  • Best Eggs Benedict

    Duo

    You wouldn't think that the secret to the perfect plate of eggs Benedict would be mustard, but head to Duo and you might be convinced otherwise.

  • Best Pho Restaurant

    Wonderbowl

    The family that operates Pho Duy opened Wonderbowl on Federal Boulevard last year with a larger menu of Vietnamese fare than most pho joints offer (including the original Pho Duy, right next door).

  • Best Brunch

    Providence Tavern

    It's no fluke that Providence Tavern's address and its phone number both end in 5280, because brunch here epitomizes everything that's right about Mile High dining: cheap drinks, amazing Benedicts, a view of the game from every seat in the house...and no waits.

  • Best Brunch Expansion

    The Buff

    A Boulder institution since the mid-'90s, the Buff finally admitted it had outgrown its original location last year and moved up the block, adding 700 square feet of space and some much-needed parking.

  • Best Bottomless-Mimosa Deal

    The Lobby

    Affectionately marketed as "adult daycare," the Lobby doesn't mess around when it comes to drinking.

  • Best Bloody Mary Garnish

    Wyman's No. 5

    Best-known as a raucous spot for watching the Blackhawks or for legit Chicago-style deep-dish (cornmeal crust and all), Wyman's No. 5 scores on football Sundays with its Bloody Mary garnished with a White Castle slider.

  • Best Bloody Mary Bar

    Punch Bowl Social

    At most Bloody Mary bars, you get to augment your drink with a few seasonings and some garnishes, then go on your not-so-very-merry way. But not at Punch Bowl Social.

  • Best Brunch Cocktail Menu

    Sassafras Capitol Hill

    When a second Sassafras opened in Capitol Hill last year, in a spot already gifted with a liquor license, the owners didn't take their entrance into the brunch-cocktail game lightly.

  • Best Happy-Hour Sliders

    The Kitchen Next Door

    Happy hour is a beautiful thing. And nothing goes better with happy hour than sliders, which are filling but not too filling, with just enough protein and carbs to cushion the alcohol without ruining your dinner.

  • Best Dive-Bar Happy Hour

    Rosa Mia Inn

    Open since 1966 in a part of the north side barely hanging on to its working-class roots in the face of gentrification, the pink-painted Rosa Mia Inn sits across from Lakeside Amusement Park and is almost as much of an institution.

  • Best Late-Night Happy Hour

    Vesper Lounge

    Like vampires and Lionel Richie, Vesper Lounge's happy hour is in its element after the sun goes down.

  • Best Late-Afternoon Happy Hour

    Leña

    It's not every day that an afternoon happy hour can challenge your culinary boundaries — but Leña does just that every weekday from 4 to 6 p.m., by hopping the border past Mexico and well into Central and South America.

  • Best Happier Hour

    Tony P's Highland

    Happy hours in Denver are plentiful. To help Denverites get even happier, Tony P's Highland location changed the rules of the game and extended its happy hour to a "happier hour," offering discounted drinks and food every day, twice a day.

  • Best Restaurant Wine List

    Mizuna

    Over the years, we've presented Frank Bonanno's flagship restaurant awards for everything from Best Fried Calves' Glands to Best Service to Best Dinner, Period. You'd think the Mizuna crew would be all about preserving the status quo by now.

  • Best Restaurant By-the-Glass Wine List

    Axios Estiatorio

    Moschofilero. Aghiorghitiko. Mavrodaphne. Greek wine is worth getting into just for the sheer pleasure of rolling the grape names around on your tongue.

  • Best New Wine List

    PMG

    Between Frasca and Flagstaff House, Black Cat and Basta, Boulder sets the bar for wine programs dauntingly high — but PMG is clearing it with ease.

  • Best Wine List for a Bar That's Not a Wine Bar

    RiNo Yacht Club

    From emerging regions such as Lazio and the Languedoc to little-known indigenous grapes like Ruché and Romorantin to sparkling reds and the savoriest sherries, the Source's island bar may be the coolest place at which to explore the world of wine right now — which shouldn't come as any surprise to fans of the Proper Pour, a liquor store just steps away.

  • Best Colorado Cocktail

    Brom Bones

    Stuart Jensen brought years of cooking experience to his latest role as bar manager at Mercantile Dining & Provision, with all that time in kitchens shaping his approach to creating cocktails.

  • Best New Brewery Tap Room

    Former Future Brewing

    Former Future had a bumpy landing when it opened in February 2014, running out of beer immediately and limiting its hours. But the brewery, helmed by the adorable James and Sarah Howat, has soared ever since.

  • Best Colorado Beer Putting the World on Notice

    Superpower IPA

    Comrade Brewing first launched its offensive in unsuspecting southeast Denver, rolling over the neighborhoods there before pushing outward to the rest of the city.

  • Best New Brewery Style

    Grandma's House

    There's a fine line between kitsch and cool — a line that gets crossed often. But Grandma's House has managed to redraw that line, one stitch at a time.

  • Best New Brewery Patio

    Mockery Brewing

    An oasis amid busy streets, construction zones, industrial businesses and the grubby South Platte River, Mockery Brewing is no mirage.

  • Best Brewery Tap Room — Beer

    TRVE Brewing

    TRVE Brewing has a love for heavy-metal music, and the divey space may be one of the darkest you'll enter in Denver.

  • Best Brewery Tap Room — Ambience

    Joyride Brewing

    When Joyride Brewing opened last summer, it came at the expense of Edgewater's most recognizable piece of ambience: a mural depicting the tiny burg's history on the edge of Sloan's Lake Park. But the change was worth it. The brewery renovated and opened up a prime corner spot, providing a...

  • Best Tap Room Parties

    Stem Ciders

    Tucked behind the Mile High Winery in the RiNo district, Stem Ciders boasts of "being just hard enough to find" for cider fans.

  • Best Classic Cocktail Bar

    Golden Moon Speakeasy

    Sure, there are lots of great bars in Denver, but how many of them distill all the spirits that they stir and shake? Duck into a tiny passageway off Golden's main drag and you'll slip into a place that does: the cozy, Prohibition-era Golden Moon Speakeasy.

  • Best Rethink of a Classic Cocktail

    Session Kitchen

    Les Baker V is one of those mad-scientist bartenders, intrigued by the alchemy of cocktails and the magic of mixology.

  • Best Colorado Distillery

    Leopold Brothers Distillery

    The way that Scott and Todd Leopold make their gin tells you a lot about how the dynamic duo does things: First, a spirit is distilled using Colorado-grown grain.

  • Best Comeback

    Jake Norris

    Jake Norris loves whiskey. He was head distiller at Stranahan's when it opened in 2004, running operations for one of Colorado's most-loved spirits.

  • Best Dive Bar

    Ace Hi Tavern

    Since alcohol put Golden on the map, it's not surprising that metro Denver's best dive bar is in this once-sleepy foothills town.

  • Best New Bar

    Dunbar Kitchen & Tap House

    After decades of operating bars and restaurants in Grand County, Mike Ayre and Charles Wessels had gotten out of the business — but then they found a spot in Denver that was just too good to refuse, in the heart of Five Points, a part of town that was once jumping with joints.

  • Best Bartender

    Allison Widdecombe

    If she's not behind the bar at Williams & Graham, Allison Widdecombe is probably winning a cocktail competition somewhere in America.

  • Best Tip on Service

    Nathan Buss

    If the nature of restaurant service is to take care of people, no one is doing a better job than Nathan Buss, a server at Session Kitchen.

  • Best Chef

    Steven Redzikowski

    So you've settled into your seat at Acorn or Oak at Fourteenth, and you're looking over the menu as your drinks arrive. Look carefully.

  • Best Ten-Year Run

    Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch

    In November 2004, chef Jen Jasinski and partner Beth Gruitch opened Rioja, an immediate hit in Larimer Square.

  • Best New Restaurant Neighborhood

    Union Station

    Over the years, halfhearted attempts have been made to open bars and restaurants inside Union Station, but it took a massive overhaul of the building, including the addition of a high-end hotel, to turn the historic train station into a destination dining area.

  • Best New Neighborhood Restaurant

    Work & Class

    When Delores Tronco and Tony Maciag took a chance on a shipping-container development in the Ballpark/RiNo neighborhood for the home of their new restaurant, the area was trending in the right direction — but its success wasn't yet a fait accompli. Work & Class, with its feel-good combination of craveable...

  • Best Butter

    Table 6

    Man could live by bread alone, but how much better that life would be with a smear of softened butter.

  • Best New Restaurant

    Mercantile Dining & Provision

    Rarely does a restaurant come along with such grand ambitions as Mercantile Dining & Provision.

  • Best Chef's Counter

    Blackbelly Market

    Tucked into an east Boulder shopping center in an old building that was once the cafeteria for Ball Aerospace, Blackbelly doesn’t look like much from the outside, but step inside and two features immediately stand out: the gleaming stainless-steel and white-tile butcher shop up front, and the wide-open chef’s counter...

  • Best Wine Bar

    The Village Cork

    Every neighborhood needs a welcoming, relaxed, romantic little wine bar like the Village Cork, which was renovated last year but kept its original wine-bar ambience, which has drawn fans for fourteen years. Wine snobbery isn’t on the menu here; instead, the staff is friendly, easygoing and knowledgeable, eager to walk...

  • Best Happy-Hour Dish

    Old Major

    The best happy-hour dishes capture the feeling and intent of a restaurant on one small, cheap plate. That's a tall order for most places, but Old Major rises to the challenge.