Best Of :: Sports & Recreation
When Highland Tap & Burger opened in September 2010, it was a sports lover's secret spot for catching a game. Not only could you walk in and grab a seat at the bar (where there are five TVs alone) or a table without a hassle, but the staff was more than willing to tune in to whichever obscure sporting event you were searching for. But word soon got out about the Tap's top-notch burgers, sinful bacon-topped mac and cheese, and standout smoky Stranahan's wings with a sticky, crackling glaze perfect for nibbling on with one of the bar's many local beers. These days, the joint is always hopping, and often too crowded for people who like to watch games in relative quiet — but for most fans, that crowd just means more friends to help you cheer on the home team. There may be better bars for watching a pitcher's every move or capturing the hushed whisper of the Masters at Augusta, but you won't find a better menu at any of this town's other sports-crazed bars.
Readers' choice: Highland Tap & Burger
This is it, folks: the Broncos' last best chance to make it to the Super Bowl with Peyton Manning. It's 2016 or bust. Once PFM is gone, it's going to be a while before the team gets close again (can you say "rebuilding?"). So let's leave it all on the field this year.
Readers' choice: 2016
The list of Broncos who played worse last season than they did in the season before that is long, and there are a lot more names on it than just Peyton Manning's. Running back C.J. Anderson is a clear exception. At the start of the 2014-2015 campaign, the undrafted free agent from 2013 was an afterthought. But when neither Ronnie Hillman nor Montee Ball took control of the position, Anderson showed he belonged with a 51-yard touchdown catch-and-run versus the Raiders that may have been the single best Broncos play of the season, and more solid performances followed. With new coach Gary Kubiak expected to institute his venerated zone-blocking scheme, we can't wait to see Anderson take the next step to stardom.
Readers' choice: Peyton Manning
Justin Morneau has been around. He made his major-league debut in 2003 and followed up a long and successful stint with the Minnesota Twins with a brief stop in Pittsburgh before inking with Colorado — and in his first season with the Rockies, he batted a brawny .319 by way of 160 hits, seventeen of them home runs. And unlike more vaunted names, he was a relative paragon of health, playing in 135 games. He even earned a couple of MVP votes — evidence that his value to the Rockies shouldn't be underrated.
Readers' choice: Troy Tulowitzki
The Denver Nuggets have been a team in turmoil this season, losing their coach, several big names and plenty of games. But while other players started to phone it in, Kenneth Faried continued to work hard, which is why he remains a fan favorite. Although he's sometimes asked to do too much, he's also a freakish athlete whose energy and enthusiasm should be infectious for teammates. Under the next regime, we hope they will be.
Readers' choice: Kenneth Faried and Ty Lawson (tie)
The Avs are loaded with young talents (including Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan O'Reilly) who overachieved in 2013-2014 before coming back down to earth this season. But Jarome Iginla, one of the oldsters on the squad, just kept going and going and going. He's had a storied career since the mid-'90s, mostly for the Calgary Flames, and he's not done yet. Throughout the season, he's been among the team leaders in goals, points and plus/minus, all the while offering a steadying influence to a youthful roster in desperate need of one.
Readers' choice: Matt Duchene
Best Sports Bar for Food and Drink: Highland Tap & Burger