The Six Best Chicken Wings in Denver

Bird is the word today: It's National Chicken Wing Day!
Bird is the word today: It's National Chicken Wing Day!
Danielle Lirette

Today is National Chicken Wing Day — and we're making a flap about it. The lowly wing rose to celebrity status in Buffalo, New York, where a slathering of Frank's Hot Sauce and butter was all that was needed to secure the dish a spot on every sports-bar roster in the country — that, and a little blue-cheese dressing. But there's more to wings than just tangy heat, as Denver's restaurants prove, with smoked, fried and grilled variations doused in flavors from around the globe. Here are the six best chicken wings in Denver, with this year's winner of Westword's Best Chicken Wings award in the number-one slot.

A wok-full of wings at Ace.
A wok-full of wings at Ace.
Danielle Lirette

6. Ace Eat Serve
501 East 17th Avenue

Ace loves wings so much that it hosts an annual Wings & Whiskey festival to raise money for the Denver Housing Authority's Youth Culinary Academy. But that's just once a year...and you need wings today. Ace has you covered with two styles: a naked version with marinated and fried wings and a kicked-up wing with tangy, savory tiger sauce. When are we going to stop loving these? When tigers fly!

The heat is on at Fire on the Mountain.EXPAND
The heat is on at Fire on the Mountain.
Mark Antonation

5. Fire on the Mountain
3801 West 32nd Avenue

With so many styles of wings in town, sometimes its good to stick with the basics. Fire on the Mountain, winner of our Readers's Choice Award this year, boasts a dozen different sauces, but our favorite is the straight-up Buffalo, ordered extra-hot, of course. The kitchen obliges with a tongue-warming blend that includes jalapeño and habanero chiles; the first bite seems like no big deal, but the heat builds and builds until you realize you need another round of beers. And if that's not hot enough for you, the house signature El Jefe wings make the extra-hot seem tame in comparison.

4. The Ghost BBQ & Spirits
2028 14th Street, Boulder

Boulder's Pearl Street Mall seems an unlikely location for a true smokehouse, but the Ghost delivers an authentic taste of Texas in the heart of the People's Republic. These mahogany wings are packed with smoky flavor and wrapped in a crackly skin, and if you want a little extra heat, just ask for a side of ghost-chile sauce. Chef/owner Bob Sargent's thing for wings flew to new heights this summer with his first-ever Ghost Wing Eating Contest, captured by Westword's video crew.

Keep reading for the rest of the list...

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