It was the best of times…it was the Best Of time! All year long, while they’re out and about, Westword writers scribble notes on napkins, in notebooks, on tablets and those original palm pilots — their hands — when they discover something that’s truly extraordinary about this place where we live, this place we love. It could be a great cup of coffee, a particularly informative cab driver, an up-and-coming artist, a heavenly hamburger. And every spring, we collect all of those notes and turn them into this, our yearly Best of Denver edition, full of hundreds of awards celebrating the very best the metro area has to offer. We ask readers to weigh in on many of those categories; their votes follow the staff picks in the pages that follow.
When we started this annual orgy of niceness 28 years ago, the Denver Broncos had a brand-spanking-new quarterback. Today, John Elway is in the team’s front office — and just brought a brand-spanking-old quarterback to Denver. But while Peyton Manning’s arrival sent Tim Tebow, the 2012 readers’ choice for Best Colorado Celebrity, off to New York, it was perfectly timed for this issue, an ideal introduction to Manning’s new home. Some of these choices will be familiar to longtime residents, some will be surprises. But we guarantee that all of them will be the very Best of Denver.
And now, while you keep this bound version on your coffee table, the Best of Denver 2012 — as well as more than a decade of its predecessors — will be available all year long on our website, westword.com, which will feature weekly updates listing additional favorites in some of the more popular categories. You can also take the Best of Denver with you on your iPhone or Android with our Best Of app. Featured in Wired’s 2011 App Guide, it not only contains our 2012 winners, but many of the runners-up — and also allows you to find and rate everything in town, from restaurants and bars to shopping and services. Also included: Best Of award winners from thirty other cities. Download it free at westword.com.