Shopping & Services

  • Best Old-School Barbershop

    Leetsdale Barbers

    You'll find Dave, Paul, Howard and Ryan lined up behind their barber's chairs the same way every day at Leetsdale Barbers, and if you've been in before, one, if not all, of them will remember your name. Sit back and relax: These guys are trained craftsmen, and they'll take the time to do the job right, whether it's a traditional… More >>
  • Best New-School Old-School Barbershop

    Ollie's Barbershop

    Ollie's Barbershop is tiny, with two cutting chairs and just a thin strip of real estate in the ever-more-popular Lower Highland neighborhood. But walking through the door is like taking a step back in time while still keeping uber-current. And hip is in abundance here, as four-year-old Ollie's specializes in giving hot lather shaves and haircuts to gentlemen whose wavy… More >>
  • Best Day Spa for Your Buck

    Havana Health Spa

    The Havana Health Spa doesn't mess around: $18 gets you in all day and $45 gets you a thirty-minute body scrub that's not for the timid. The discreet, no-frills rejuvenation center in a strip mall has separate men's and women's hot tubs, cold tubs, saunas, steam baths, mud rooms and poolside vanity stations for all your primping needs. Enjoy a… More >>
  • Best Name for a Hair Salon

    Mop Factory Salon

    Somewhere in the world, there exists an actual mop factory. We imagine it to be a place where industrious robots trim, color and braid long ribbons of fabric into perfectly swishy mops. Mop Factory Salon has taken that concept and cleverly replaced actual mops with your own unruly mane for a name that conjures up precision, efficiency and, most hipster… More >>
  • Best Name for a Tattoo Shop

    Th'Ink Tank Tattoo

    Getting a tattoo can be a spur-of-the-moment, I-just-dumped-my-boyfriend-and-I-need-to-cover-up-my-giant-neck-tattoo-of-his-name-inside-a-heart kind of decision. And when making such a choice, you don't have much to go on other than a shop's name. Would you trust a place called Uncle Crusty's Custom Tats to correct your monumental mistake? We didn't think so. You'd look for a shop whose name exudes creativity and class —… More >>
  • Best Name for a Tattoo-Removal Service

    What Were You Inking?

    When you were fifteen, you let your buddy's cousin attempt to tattoo a yin-yang symbol on your ankle because it, like, represented the duality of life. He swore he was an apprentice, or that he was going to be one that summer, but then he became an auto mechanic, and you were stuck with a blurry circle on your leg… More >>
  • Best Name for a Medical Marijuana Dispensary

    Terrapin Care Station

    It's hard to go wrong with a medical marijuana dispensary with a name inspired by the Grateful Dead (as demonstrated by last year's winner, Nederland's Grateful Meds). And since it's located in the hippie haven of Boulder and has dreadlocked employees and organic cannabis, the name Terrapin Care Station is truly appropriate.… More >>
  • Best Use of the Sun

    Grassroots Grown

    Colorado is well known for indoor-grown marijuana, but because of our short growing season, the outdoor kind is another story. Grassroots Grown is trying to change that by nurturing everything it sells in massive greenhouses on a seventy-acre plot outside of Boulder. The result is suntanned, dark-green buds that might not have the shiny, artificial luster of their indoor counterparts,… More >>
  • Best Mile-High Recommendation

    Pot Tourism

    The Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force, which has been charged with putting pot policies into effect in Colorado, has made many recommendations. And while some will still need to be hashed out, one of the things they got right was making it clear that out-of-state visitors should be able to purchase herb if/when recreational shops open. People come here from… More >>
  • Best Customer Service

    Denver Department of Excise and Licenses

    Business at the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses has been booming since medical marijuana centers were added to its task list. But director Tom Downey and his dedicated staff have done their best to make any wait pleasant. In 2011, Downey not only put a Westword rack in the waiting area, but he installed a frozen-margarita machine, too. The… More >>
  • Best Cannabis Event

    Extract Artists Unite Secret Cup

    Coloradans had plenty of marijuana-related meetings, conferences, protests and contests to choose from over the past year. But the most haze-filled, hashed-out event was the Extract Artists Unite Secret Cup, which took place at the Oriental Theater in December. Organizers Daniel de Sailles and Selecta Nikka T managed to bring an entire community together under one smoke-filled roof, pitting thirty… More >>
  • Best Store on Broadway

    Lowbrow

    Ever get a hankering to open up a coloring book and go at it with a box of crayons? Got the gift for glitter? If so, Lowbrow is the place for you. Ladies Fancywork Society yarnbombers Lauren Seip and Tymla Welch came out of the anonymous street-artist closet to open the Broadway shop — which proffers a little bit of… More >>
  • Best Store on Tennyson Street

    Tenn Street Coffee and Books

    Every neighborhood needs a cozy place where people can meet and kick back over coffee, and the multi-tasking Tenn Street — stocked with Dazbog java, Bluepoint pastries, Udi's sandwiches and other notable treats — fills the bill. When the weather's nice, the street-side patio bustles with chatting friends and folks with their noses buried in books or the Internet; inside,… More >>
  • Best Store on the 16th Street Mall

    I Heart Denver

    I Heart Denver (and its predecessor, the city-backed pop-up, YesPleaseMore) is simply the smartest Colorado curio shop in all of the state, with the slickest design, the cleverest merchandising and the best-quality memorabilia that any tourist — or local — could purchase to remember Denver by. The shop even has one of the most lovable store mascots to roam the… More >>
  • Best New Store in Cherry Creek North

    Jonathan Adler

    "If your heirs won't fight over it, we won't make it." That's the motto of Jonathan Adler, who gained fame nearly twenty years ago with the modernist pottery vases that today remain the cornerstone of his expanded home collections, which include everything from sofas to dog bowls. Trendy in a timeless way, Adler's often-whimsical tchotchkes and home accessories are something… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Mall

    Denver Pavilions

    The Denver Pavilions might be an outdoor mall, but it has a sophisticated indoor vibe and an urban appeal that most of the others can't match. A lower-16th Street Mall cornerstone, its creative blend of high-profile anchor stores like H&M and Barnes & Noble, crowd-pleasing restaurants like Maggiano's and the Hard Rock Cafe, nightlife spots, downtown's only real movie theater… More >>
  • Best Indoor Mall

    Cherry Creek Shopping Center

    The Cherry Creek Shopping Center seamlessly blends tony and more plebeian elements, without smelling too much like the popcorn and razzmatazz of lesser malls. It's got the most popular playground in all of retail Denver (one of these days, they're going to have to start taking numbers) and was built to be a place where the shop-till-you-drop crowd can comfortably… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Shopping District

    Baker/South Broadway

    We all have our favorites, but phenomenal growth and blooming small businesses have turned the stretch of Broadway between Alameda and Sixth avenues into a countercultural paradise in the past ten years, and the charm of this district can't be ignored: From street stalwarts True Love and Decade and game-changers Fancy Tiger and Buffalo Exchange to such relative newcomers as… More >>
  • Best Thrift Store

    Wishlist Vintage

    "Thriftonista" TaRosa Jacobs lives and dies for vintage, and over several years, she's become very, very good at accumulating better clothing and other treasures from bygone times. That includes sourcing specific requests from customers, whether you're wishing for an antique corset, period designer frock or even a leopard-skin pillbox hat. But you can also have a blast checking out the… More >>
  • Best Local TV Commercial

    Rocky's Autos

    The Harlem Shake video phenomenon came and went so quickly that most businesses never got the chance to capitalize on it. But there's no slipping a trend past the folks at Rocky's Autos. With lightning speed and absolutely no shame, the crew created a wordless, dubstep-biting spot in which Shagman, the dealership's ubiquitous spokesman, spends thirty seconds wiggling in either… More >>
  • Best Vintage Store

    The Amazing Garage Sale

    The secret to every junk store worth its salt is wise curation, and Judy Lesta nails it at her North Boulder buy/sell/consign vintage-and- antique emporium. With a soft focus on mid-mod furniture and the accessories to match, from lamps to jewelry, the Amazing Garage Sale is clearly the best garage sale you've ever been to — even if the prices… More >>
  • Best Fashion Swap Shop

    Birds & Belles Boutique

    Kyla DeTienne has a good thing going at Birds & Belles. Her concept of buying and trading better used garments is a modern take on the resale model: Bring in your still-stylish, in-season, stain-free trade-ins for cash on the table, or take store credit — at a rate of 50 percent above the straight buyout price. It keeps the clothing… More >>
  • Best Confluence of Couture

    Goldyn

    Bringing in lines by well-known designers like Helmut Lang, Alexander Wang and Chloe, Goldyn keeps its shelves stocked with the latest in top couture and gives Denver's high-style scene a face and a name in the international world of fashion. But it also leaves room for the little guys: Local brands Cartel Noir and The Woods get equal exposure. Goldyn… More >>
  • Best Teen-Friendly Boutique

    Twirl

    You don't have to be a teen to appreciate this pretty hole-in-the-wall boutique on the far southern edge of the West Wash Park neighborhood, but if you are, it's guaranteed you'll like its style, which is less cookie-cutter, with a hand-curated selection of clothing all priced under $100. There's a vintage vibe in the look here, but not overwhelmingly so:… More >>
  • Best Consignment Store for Twenty-Somethings

    Uptown Cheapskate

    Thanks to the proliferation of urban hipster commerce, the consignment experience is no longer confined to the pantsuit crowd, and the arrival of this upscale yet affordable chain in the 'burbs provides a welcome alternative to the malls for youth-conscious shoppers seeking the latest like-new thing from Forever 21, True Religion, Juicy and hundreds of other big labels. It's Anthropologie… More >>
  • Best Second Life for Your Prom Dress

    Prom Dress Exchange

    The Prom Dress Exchange was created more than a decade ago as a prom-dress drive serving just a few high-school students. But a few years ago, Laura Bauer became president of the organization and has since turned it into a full-fledged nonprofit that reaches hundreds of kids. Bauer and fellow volunteers spend the year collecting and storing gently used prom… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy and Sell Used Outdoor Wear

    The Sports Mine

    Brand-name outdoor clothing and gear is expensive, so if you partake in our state's vast resources in this area, your budget can take a beating. To ease the pain, head to the Sports Mine in Golden, a consignment shop that will buy your old sleeping bags, backpacks, hiking boots, yoga pants, bathing suits, jerseys and other gear — and then… More >>
  • Best Charitable Boutique

    Hope Tank

    Indie boutiques that support local artists are always hunky-dory in our book. But one that donates a portion of every purchase to a charity chosen specifically by the artist is even better. Hope Tank, which Erika Righter Ramirez opened just over a year ago, is stocked with items that are by turns useful, pretty, thoughtful and fun: one-of-a-kind kids' gifts… More >>
  • Best Flea Market

    Horseshoe Market

    The Horseshoe's become our perennial winner, and somehow, it just keeps getting better. A good part of its charm lies in its versatility: Not precisely a flea market, though quality vintage goods are in abundance, the Horseshoe combines the best of two worlds — quality handmades and curated curiosities — and mixes them up under its cheerful rows of tents.… More >>
  • Best Radio Talk-Show Host

    Dave Krieger

    Dave Krieger got his start as a print journalist; he was best known in these parts as a daily sports columnist. So when he started co-hosting KOA's afternoon-drive show with longtimer Dave Logan, listeners may have wondered if his low-key style would wear well. Wonder no more: Krieger brings an uncommon intelligence to sports chat of every stripe, and when… More >>
  • Best Place to Recycle TVs, Computers and Everything Else

    Eco-Cycle CHaRM

    Most go-to donation centers won't take your old TV or desktop computer anymore: no one wants them, and it's hard to find a place to recycle. After all, TVs and computers each contain three to eight pounds of lead along with other toxic materials such as cadmium and mercury. Which is why we're happy to pay a small-to-medium-sized fee to… More >>
  • Best Shop Dog

    Buster Brown

    As befits the mascot of a quiet purveyor of Rolexes and fine jewelry in Cherry Creek North, Buster Brown doesn't go out of his way to impress. The 65-pound shar-pei is cordial but a bit reserved; his greeting is low-key, with no hint of any high-pressure sales tactics. Just looking? Buster doesn't mind. His kind of customer can recognize true… More >>
  • Best Dog Portraits

    Robert Gratiot Fine Arts

    Denver has a surprising number of talented pet sketchers, but the canine portrait work of Robert Gratiot, who teaches at the Art Students League of Denver and has exhibited widely, is in a class of its own. Working in oils from a photograph, Gratiot can produce a study of your best friend that, like his much-praised still lifes, manages to… More >>
  • Best Craft Kit

    I Heart Denver Picard Needle-Felting Kit

    "It's really adorable, and it might be the only corgi needle-felting kit that I know of in the world." That's how Fancy Tiger's Amber Corcoran describes the craft kit she designed last fall for I Heart Denver, where shop mascot Denver Picard Schimek (last year's winner of the Best of Denver's award for Best Shop Dog) often holds court with… More >>
  • Best Yard Art Store

    Alice's Secret Garden

    Indoors, Alice's is filled with nooks and crannies full of bohemian gowns, beaded evening bags, baubles and bangles, antiques, fleece dolls and sweet-smelling toiletries. But it's outside, in the beautiful front garden, where Alice's really blooms. Among real trees and blossoms enclosed by a cast-iron fence is a trove of fantastical yard art for sale: gazing balls and fabulous, rustic… More >>
  • Best Affordable Art Supplies

    Masters International

    Recently relocated from northeast Denver, Masters is a serious wholesaler of art supplies, but the public is also welcome in the shop, where a helpful staff assists price-conscious artists and students seeking the best deals on canvases, wood panels, easels, paints and other essentials. Whether you buy in bulk or are just seeking the right materials for a special project,… More >>
  • Best Eclectica

    Jolly Goods

    Nicole and Simon Woolsey-Neech, a young couple with modern tastes, have created a primer in homey hipster interior design out of this unassuming Tennyson Street storefront that's a little bit cozy cottage and a little bit retro space-age. Inside, you might find a child-sized diner-style table and chairs or a package of wooden chip clips hand-painted with pooch designs; jewelry… More >>
  • Best Hole-in-the-Wall Gift Shop

    Bella Luna

    For years, Crystal Heille O'Brien has been the governing face behind the scenes at Denver's Chicano Humanities and Arts Council. And if you've ever been in CHAC's in-house tiendita, you'll have an idea of what you'll now find at O'Brien's gift shop, Bella Luna. Along with her own Frida Kahlo-centric embellished boxes and wall plaques, the boutique carries works by… More >>
  • Best Vintage Knickknacks

    Night & Day Vintage

    Anna Duarte and Amy Bates-Nelson were both avid vintage collectors and selling on separate Etsy pages long before they met, but their formal introduction was kismet, and Night & Day Vintage was born. The combined collection of vintage treasure filling the Golden Triangle storefront is staggering, but in a manageable way, juxtaposing furniture, old suitcases, pinecone mugs and other kitchenware,… More >>
  • Best Mid-Century Decor

    Retro House Love

    Linda and Jerry Gonto thrive on the real thing when it comes to mid-century modern design: the pristine creative spawn of designers like Eames, Bertoia and Saarinen, preferably arranged in a classic MCM abode, like the one they bought when they moved here from Detroit a couple of years ago. The couple developed their taste in design during years of… More >>
  • Best TV Anchor

    Ron Zappolo

    In 2000, longtime sports staple Ron Zappolo moved into the anchor seat at Fox31, helping to establish the credibility of the station's fledgling news operation even as he boosted its profile. Then, last year, he announced that he would be returning to sports reporting, and the knowledge that his days dispensing hard news were dwindling seems to have freed him… More >>
  • Best Collectible-Toy Store

    Kidrobot

    No question: Paul Budnitz's Kidrobot empire is the Valhalla of the vinyl collectible-toy universe, and that was ample reason for a certain cross-section of local pop-culturists, hungry for the latest MUNNYs and Dunnys and Labbits and such, to do a little jig when the art-toy emporium opened both an office and a retail store in Boulder. That town can now… More >>
  • Best Burlesque Wear

    VaVaVette

    Along with talent to spare, part of the secret behind the success of burlesque madams Eve and Cora Vette is in their sparkly costumes, which are put together by hand with a lot more know-how than the ordinary Joe would ever suspect. They bring the expertise of the musical-theater world into play to stitch up their come-hither looks, and now… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Rugby Gear

    O'Brien Rugby

    As Colorado's rugby capital, Glendale — home of Infinity Park, the state's only rugby-centric outdoor coliseum — works hard to build a rough-and-tumble community image to match the sport's ruffian attitude. Luckily, there's O'Brien Rugby to lend that image a kick in the rear. O'Brien, which is also the sole merchandiser of official Glendale Raptors uniforms and gear, began by… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Skate Gear

    Thrifty Stick Boardshop

    For more than fifteen years, the Thrifty Stick Boardshop has remained the shop for skaters, snowboarders and boutique fashionistas who want to stay on top of their game and look good doing it. Holding charity events and local contests, and generally finding any reason to take the in-house boxes, rails and ramps out to the parking lot, Thrifty Stick has… More >>
  • Best Fixie Fix

    CoCo Bikes

    CoCo Bikes was started by a few friends in a Denver garage in 2011 and has since become the go-to shop for customized fixies. CoCo builds its own line of frames bearing the company logo, but it also rebuilds and refurbishes older bikes, providing the best of both worlds for customers, especially when it comes to practicality and price.… More >>
  • Best Hair on a TV Personality — Female

    Anastasiya Bolton

    In a review of the largely forgotten 1985 movie The Year of the Dragon, starring Mickey Rourke, critic Elvis Mitchell coined the term "mood hair," suggesting that Rourke's 'do adapted to the demands of any particular scene like a mood ring reflecting the emotions of the person wearing it. Anastasiya Bolton's hair is something like that — a blend of… More >>
  • Best Wine Shop

    Mondo Vino

    Once you've reached the top, it's tough to challenge yourself to do better than you've done before, to exceed the expectations you've long since satisfied. But Mondo Vino never rests on its well-earned laurels, and remains best in class when it comes to selling wine in this city. Whether you're a hard-core oenophile with enough bottles in your cellar to… More >>
  • Best Chocolates

    Black Star Chocolates

    Gourmet chocolatiers Jennifer Spielman and Andrew Starr produce small batches of handmade artisan chocolates with seasonal ingredients like lavender buds, fresh mint and jasmine flowers. In the process, they not only make piles of chocolates, but collect piles of awards: Black Star's signature Saffron Rose Cream won both grand champion and best non-traditional truffle at the 2012 Colorado Chocolate Festival.… More >>
  • Best Candy Store

    Sugarlicious Denver

    Denver has a sweeter side, and Sugarlicious Denver does more than cater to it: It satisfies this city's sugar needs. This Cherry Creek store has an entire wall devoted to bins housing over 250 different candies and treats, including oodles and gobs of retro and hard-to-find goodies as well as nut-free and vegan delights. The collection of gift baskets and… More >>
  • Best Hair on a TV Personality — Male

    Don Champion

    Far too many TV types style their hair with a studied blandness in mind, not realizing that a clichéd coiffure makes them seem considerably cheesier than if they'd allow a little individuality to take root. No such danger with Don Champion: Rather than tame his hair into the usual undifferentiated follicle helmet, he lets his strands reach for the sky,… More >>
  • Best Pie

    The Shoppe - CLOSED

    Frosted, sprinkle-dusted cupcakes aren't the only delights lurking in the case at this retro, pink-and-black bakery on East Colfax Avenue. Individual pies, roughly the size of a muffin cup, are sold daily, and not just in a few flavors like apple and cherry. Strawberry-rhubarb, peach-rhubarb and jumble berry are three of the biggest sellers, but we like the banana cream,… More >>
  • Best Dessert to Make Your Southern Grandmother Swoon

    San Antonio Fresh Mexican Bakery and Juice Bar

    The San Antonio Mexican bakery's shelves are heavy with panaderia offerings familiar to denizens of the western U.S.: fruit-filled empanadas, shell-shaped conchas and torta-worthy bolillos. But transplants from the American South will gravitate toward the homey pecan-paved tarts, miniature relatives of the familiar holiday pies lovingly baked by grandmothers from Atlanta to Austin. And these are tarts guaranteed to make… More >>
  • Best Coffee Cake

    Maggie & Molly's Bakery

    Maggie & Molly's Bakery, a modest spot squeezed into a strip mall, isn't the fanciest place, but it produces the town's best coffee cake — a moist, dense, sour-cream crumb cake. Old-fashioned baked goods made from scratch are a vanishing art form in these days of pre-made, pre-packaged cakes, but Maggie & Molly's is enough to make customers forget the… More >>
  • Best Peruvian Desserts

    Azucar Bakery

    In Peru, when you're hunting for sweets for your sweet, chances are you'll bring home a floaty meringue-topped custard called Suspiro de Limeña — it translates to "the sigh of a woman" — or maybe a box of rich pioninos, rolled caramel cakes filled with dulce de leche. Not headed for Lima anytime soon? Drop by Marjorie Silva's Azucar Bakery,… More >>
  • Best Bakery

    Taste of Denmark

    The name may be Taste of Denmark, but it's buttery goodness that you really savor here. Come in the morning and choose from a wide array of breakfast goodies: dark-brown whirls of cinnamon-heavy cinnamon rolls; almond-topped bear claws that shatter into rich, golden flakes; puffy chocolate croissants; and row after row of tender Danishes cradling pools of custard, jam or… More >>
  • Best Music in a Grocery Store

    King Soopers

    The Capitol Hill King Soopers location — affectionately known as Queen Soopers — usually has random 1980s pop hits blasting away on the sound system, playing louder than they should. But one of the best perks of shopping here (aside from the positively dreamy whipped French cheesecake in the bakery) is hearing other shoppers singing their hearts out in the… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Fresh Goat Meat

    Arash International Market

    Global tastes at ridiculously low prices is what Arash International Market offers Denverites in search of exotic breads, olives, cheeses, pastries and fresh goat meat — straight from the deli cooler. The store was started more than twenty years ago after Mehran Diba, his wife and their son fled the Iranian Revolution to make new lives for themselves in Colorado,… More >>
  • Best Vegan Market

    Nooch Vegan Market - CLOSED

    Vegans know that typical grocery stores are minefields of animal products — they not only lurk in foodstuffs, but also in cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products and more. Nooch Vegan Market is more of a gold mine than a minefield, though; everything on the shelves is vegan, and you'll find some locally made items that you simply can't get anywhere… More >>
  • Best Farmers' Market Vendor

    Red Wagon Organic Farm

    Midsummer: At the Red Wagon Organic Farm stand at the Boulder County Farmers' Market, someone is handing out slices of sweet melon, and several varieties of cucumber — smooth and warty, long or stubby as a big toe — are carefully arrayed on counters, along with bunches of slender, multi-colored carrots. Everything gleams under a gentle misting of water. You… More >>
  • Best TV Weathercaster

    Marty Coniglio

    Predicting the weather remains an inexact science, particularly in Colorado; no amount of fancy gadgetry or eye-candy graphics can change that. And given that most rain-and-snow prognosticators are dealing with the same data, the best of the bunch stand out for the way they handle their screwups. As such, Marty Coniglio bought a lot of goodwill when, after blowing the… More >>
  • Best Farmers' Market

    Mo' Betta Green MarketPlace

    More than anything, Mo' Betta's Beverly Grant and her greens-loving son, Reese, want to make fresh foods available in the food desert of Five Points. But they realize that it doesn't hurt to throw in a helping of fun and community spirit alongside the local produce bins and healthy-foods resource tables. Live music and DJs are standard at the twice-monthly… More >>
  • Best Pop-Up Store

    Neat Market

    The Neat Market Vegan Shop-Up pops up monthly at HoodLAB, adjacent to the Nooch Vegan Market in RiNo. Hosted by the vegan advocacy group Plants & Animals Denver, which also throws the monthly vegan dinner event called Chomp!, Neat is the by-product of an aggressive campaign to raise awareness of the charms of a plant-based diet. And rest assured, this… More >>
  • Best Vending Machine for Guilty Pleasures

    Don's Club Tavern

    No matter what decisions you make on your night out, Don's Club Tavern has got you covered in the best of times and the worst of times. And we're not just talking about the friendly dive's good-time vibe and generous hard-alcohol selection: Immediately to the left of the bar is a particularly well-stocked vending machine, where drinkers and pool-players can… More >>
  • Best Store on Colfax

    The Collection Studio

    Colfax Avenue boasts many obvious retail charms, from perennial favorites like the Tattered Cover and Twist & Shout to a revolving ragtag revue of cupcake bakeries, comic-book stores, coffeehouses and stores that sell collectible toys. But on down the road to the east, in downtown Aurora, the Collection Studio brings new life to a building donated by Troy Gladwell of… More >>
  • Best Vending Machine

    Forest Room 5

    Bartender Paul Garcia serves multiple roles at Forest Room 5, but one stands out on his business card. Garcia is curator of the bar's kooky vending machine, which means he scours thrift stores to find enough odds and ends to restock its wares twice a week with items including take-home marijuana tests, American Spirit cigarettes, expandable sponge spiders and various… More >>
  • Best Way to Buy a Zine

    Xena the Zine Vending Machine

    The partnership between Lowbrow, Broadway's art-is-for-everybody glitter emporium, and the Denver Zine Library includes occasional zine-making workshops and gallery shows, but Xena is the most visible evidence of the creative collaboration. The refurbished '70s-era vending machine is stocked with vendable zines, each available for a few coins dropped in the slot. So convenient! Xena is a permanent fixture at Lowbrow,… More >>
  • Best Way to Borrow a Zine

    Denver Zine Library

    The ten-year-old Denver Zine Library has moved up in the world and is now firmly ensconced in the sprawling collective known as 27 Social Centre, where it shares street-side space with the Denver Community Health Collective. This has given the volunteer-run library room to spread out and grow its collection of more than 10,000 independent publications. The DZL is still… More >>
  • Best Homework Concierge Service

    Student Appointment Services

    Designed for middle-school, high-school or adult students, the Denver Public Library's one-on-one aid is the way to go when you can no longer fake it with quick Google or Wikipedia searches. Students book appointments in advance online, then meet with a librarian for up to an hour to learn about specialized databases and other resources that will help them meet… More >>
  • Best Customizable Accessories

    Ruggedapparel.com

    This Longmont-based company makes highly durable, colorful bracelets, lanyards, key chains, pet collars, leashes and more out of high-grade, made-in-USA paracord, a nylon rope favored by the military. Not only outdoorsy-stylish, they double as survival tools: Each item can be unwoven into several feet of cord, for those occasions when you wish you had a lariat, sling or some emergency… More >>
  • Best Improvisational Office Space

    The Desk

    The new economy has many of us working for something other than traditional brick-and-mortar enterprises, but no matter how promising your latest start-up, you can't do it all out of your house — or worse, your car. The Desk has taken the idea of a co-workspace several steps further, offering everything from desks to isolation booths to conference rooms for… More >>
  • Best Crash Course in Low-Tech Gardening

    Nourishtheplanet.com

    This low-profit, thoroughly crunchy organization, devoted to sustainable agriculture, has two campuses. The Loveland headquarters offers several aquaponic and greenhouse demonstration systems, while the mountain campus hosts alpacas, goats and free-range chickens. Students learn how these models can support viable businesses and entire communities, and free webinars make some of the material available to a much wider audience, as well.… More >>
  • Best TV Newscast

    CBS4

    A newscast rises and falls based in large part on the likability of its regulars, and CBS4 has that base covered: News anchors Jim Benemann and Karen Leigh, ably assisted by main forecaster Ed Greene and sportscaster Vic Lombardi, specialize in balancing accessibility with substance. But what really pushes the station's flagship news offering over the top is the investigative… More >>
  • Best Classroom Ticket to Hollywood

    DEAD Academy

    Behind the Denver Entertainment Art and Design Academy is a stunningly simple idea: offer affordable classes and workshops in comic-book art and lettering, monster FX, video-game character design and related subjects to aspiring entertainment artists, taught by pros who've actually worked in the industry. The practical advice is as indispensable as the skill set you'll need to be the in-demand,… More >>
  • Best Sewing School in a Gallery

    HISS Studio at Z Art Department

    Tish Gance, who knows the ins and outs of sewing backward and forward, figured she had something to share. So she opened HISS Studio (Happiness Is Simple Sewing) inside, of all places, Z Art Department, the unique modernist gallery on Speer run by Randy Roberts. Classes are small, with one-on-one instruction for sewers of all skill levels; machines are provided,… More >>
  • Best Free Service

    Colorado Cruisers

    Parking during any professional sporting event in Denver can be a challenge. Whether you’re paying inflated prices at a nearby lot or looking for a free spot so far away that walking to and from the game is a workout in itself, the experience is far from relaxing. Last year, the Colorado Cruisers set out to remedy the problem with… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood-Specific Video Store

    Videotique

    Small but surprisingly packed with new and classic titles, Videotique has held on to its base of walk-in customers despite recent advances in streaming and other technology. Located in the same West Cheesman Park location since 1985, it carries new art-house releases and an eclectic selection of queer films along with a substantial collection of pornography. On any given day,… More >>
  • Best Denver Public Library News

    Increased hours

    Passing those ballot measures really works! Rather than having to cut back — something we’ve become increasingly used to — the Denver Public Library was able to extend its hours in 2013 at most branch libraries, including guaranteed weekend and evening hours at several of them. In addition, the central library reinstated its Saturday-morning hours. The reason: the passage of… More >>
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