425 South Teller Street, Lakewood
When I suggested that we go to Chama for cocktails, I heard audible gasps from my friends, followed by the typical urbanite questions: "Isn't that far away?" "Isn't that in Lakewood?" "Isn't it all chain restaurants out there?" Somehow I managed to get them in the car for what would be no more than a twelve-minute ride -- but as we turned off Sixth Avenue onto Wadsworth Boulevard and they spotted a large red pickup truck with monster wheels, I almost had a mutiny on my hands. Still, the promise of drinks only minutes away warded off the insurgence, and the sight of Belmar was a breath of fresh air. "Who knew this existed out here?" cried one LoDo dweller. Walking into the beautifully appointed Chama, we realized that plenty of people knew, because the restaurant was doing a lively business on a Monday, with diners enjoying food created by a real chef -- Sean Yontz -- rather than from some chain's playbook. Even though the evening was blustery, we sat on the fireplace-framed patio, which seemed like just the place to enjoy a lovely sipping tequila from a list that's 230 strong (and growing) -- but then I saw the roster of specialty cocktails. Yes, Chama boasts the margarita that this very publication declared the Best of Denver 2006, but it also features a lineup of infused-tequila cocktails. My favorite was the Blueberry "Martini" ($8) made with blueberry-and-vanilla-infused Tequila 30-30 Blanco, orange juice and simple syrup; it tasted like a scrumptious blueberry muffin with tequila undertones. Although our visit to Lakewood didn't have us hankering to put monster tires on our Volvos, it did leave us eager to return to Chama in the near future.
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