Best coffeehouse - 2000
St. Mark's Coffeehouse
Once upon a time, the coffeehouse was where you went to drink your fill of an authentic, big-city experience. You might be served by someone sporting a nose ring and tattoos, and you could eavesdrop on the couple with matching purple hair sitting near you or brood in the corner and write poetry for hours. Then came the corporate cloning of the coffee experience, and suddenly even Rotarians in Littleton were slurping cappuccinos on their way to the mall. Thankfully, St. Mark's -- both the LoDo original and its slightly less big-city sibling -- keeps serving up true coffeehouse flavor. The staff is reliably eccentric but always manages to put the right amount of foam into the lattes. The work of local artists adorns the walls, and at the Market Street spot, many of the tables and chairs are themselves works of art. The 17th Avenue location has huge picture windows that open onto a sidewalk patio, and the outdoor action never disappoints. (Your cup will soon be even fuller on 17th, since this St. Mark's is expanding into the space next door, adding a bar and more food choices.) All of which goes to show that when it comes to character, locally owned places like St. Mark's will always trump chains run by corporate coffee-bean counters.