This week is an eclectic one for the Denver food scene. Classic cocktails? Check. Drag queens? Check. Wine dinners? Always. Check out the happenings for the week of June 5 through June 8, with a bonus Friday event to kick off your weekend.
Monday, June 5
We can all agree the Negroni is the perfect cocktail: pink but not girly, continental but not fussy, accessible but not overexposed, bitter but not mouth-puckering. No wonder the Italian favorite has an entire week dedicated to its glorification. Start International Negroni Week in style on Monday, June 5, at Nocturne, 1330 27th Street, at the Negroni Week Kick-Off Party. For $30, you'll get four of the namesake drinks from bartenders across town (Nocturne, Adrift, Smokin' Dave's BBQ and Curio will be represented), small bites from Nocturne's excellent kitchen, and music from Sundae + Mr. Goessl, who bill themselves as a "vintage jazz" duo. There's never a bad reason to hit the elegant Nocturne, especially when Campari is involved. Grab your tickets at instantseats.com; doors open at 6:30 p.m. Check out the Negroni Week official website for fifty participating bars in Denver alone that will be selling cocktails to raise money for a number of nonprofit organizations.
Tuesday, June 6
You've got to eat something for dinner, so why not head over to The Preservery, 3040 Blake Street, for an excellent meal and a little something extra? On Tuesday, June 6, the eatery is hosting distillers from Denver's own Leopold Bros. Order off the regular dinner menu (no rigid tasting menus here — substitute away!) and receive free whiskey samples from the beverage-focused brothers. Reservations aren't required, but the Preservery fills up quickly (more so with free booze on the menu), so if you want to guarantee your spot, give the restaurant a call at 303-298-6821.
Wednesday, June 7
Top Chef is filming in Denver right now, but if you can't get an invite to the show's Restaurant Wars, check out Cook Street's Restaurant Week instead. From Wednesday, June 7, through Friday, June, 9, students at the culinary school will be preparing three-course lunches, with seatings at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. The menu changes daily, but you can expect dishes like wood-fired shrimp with coconut spoonbread, grilled lamb with Asiago polenta and onion preserves, and white-chocolate bread pudding. Just $25 gets you a civilized lunch — no scarfing down a giant burrito while hurrying back to your cubicle — in the form of the prix fixe menu served at the school, 1937 Market Street. As a bonus, no one will go home in tears at the end of the meal. Check out the full menus and reserve your spot at Cook Street's website.
The quarterly Festa della Stagione (Season's Feast) at Spuntino, 2639 West 32nd Avenue, is scheduled for Wednesday, June 7, at 6:30 p.m. You know the drill by now: five courses, five wines. Simple, right? Our favorite restaurant on West 32nd Avenue may do things simply, but it's never boring, and is always impeccably executed and utterly delicious. The wines this week will come courtesy of vintner Giovanni Genio, and the menu includes branzino with garlic confit and black-pepper gastrique, and gnocchi with poppy seeds, mustard and brown butter. Call the restaurant at 303-433-0949 to reserve your spot for this dinner; the cost is $82 — and worth every penny.
Keep reading for a start to your weekend.
Thursday, June 8
Think drag queens can't be punk rock? Think again. The queens will be serving safety-pin-and-duct-tape realness at Ratio Beerworks' second Dragstravaganza: Punk Rock Drag Show on Thursday, June 8, at 9 p.m. Head over to the tap room at 2920 Larimer Street, where a dollar for every beer sold during the performance will go to One Colorado, an advocacy group for LGBTQ Coloradans. So get buzz(cock)ed at the brewery for a good cause, and have fun with your fellow misfits — there's only a minor threat of boredom at this show.
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Friday, June 9
Skyline Park is upping the fun factor by transforming into Skyline Beer Garden for the summer, and the suds start flowing on Friday, June 9. Head over anytime from 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. through October 7, and you'll be treated to loads of shady seating, classic summer games (cornhole, putt-putt, ping pong), pub fare and live music every Friday and Saturday night. Oh, yeah, and beer. And since it's conveniently located on Arapahoe Street between 16th and 17th streets, you can take a siesta from your job and surreptitiously snag some sips when you grab your lunch from a 16th Street Mall food cart. A full schedule of bands is up at the beer garden's website.
See our online Food & Drink calendar for even more event listings.