After a shaky start, the railway-themed Great Northern Tavern has arrived. Not only has the kitchen gotten its act together -- it now puts out such inspired fare as seared sea scallops in a lemon-Riesling sauce with fennel mashed potatoes and wild-rice-dusted walleye in a port beurre rouge -- but the pub makes excellent beers. Down a pint of the hoppy Cascadian Pale Ale, with its malt bottom line and sweet scent, or the creamy, chocolate-heavy Empire Builder Stout, or the sharp, almost chewy Western Star Wheat, an American-style wheat that's delicious on its own or accompanying Great Northern's hearty chicken pot pie. All aboard!

Readers' choice: Wynkoop Brewing Company

After a shaky start, the railway-themed Great Northern Tavern has arrived. Not only has the kitchen gotten its act together -- it now puts out such inspired fare as seared sea scallops in a lemon-Riesling sauce with fennel mashed potatoes and wild-rice-dusted walleye in a port beurre rouge -- but the pub makes excellent beers. Down a pint of the hoppy Cascadian Pale Ale, with its malt bottom line and sweet scent, or the creamy, chocolate-heavy Empire Builder Stout, or the sharp, almost chewy Western Star Wheat, an American-style wheat that's delicious on its own or accompanying Great Northern's hearty chicken pot pie. All aboard!

Readers' choice: Wynkoop Brewing Company

Talk about a return to the scene of the crime. Bartender Doug Hollaran, who has the fastest hands and the quickest wit in the business, held forth in the '80s and early '90s at such infamous Cherry Creek boîtes as Rodney's and the late, lamented Bay Wolf. Now he's back on familiar ground -- behind the mahogany at the upscale Manhattan Grill. (Those who have lived here longer than eight minutes -- and you know who you are --realize, of course, that the Manhattan Grill is the former Bay Wolf.) Old friends will be delighted to find Hollaran back where he belongs, and new ones will delight in meeting him. The big Irishman has lost none of his charm; he remains one of the city's most valuable citizens -- and certainly one of its most congenial companions.

Readers' choice: Jeremy at the Park Tavern

Talk about a return to the scene of the crime. Bartender Doug Hollaran, who has the fastest hands and the quickest wit in the business, held forth in the '80s and early '90s at such infamous Cherry Creek boîtes as Rodney's and the late, lamented Bay Wolf. Now he's back on familiar ground -- behind the mahogany at the upscale Manhattan Grill. (Those who have lived here longer than eight minutes -- and you know who you are --realize, of course, that the Manhattan Grill is the former Bay Wolf.) Old friends will be delighted to find Hollaran back where he belongs, and new ones will delight in meeting him. The big Irishman has lost none of his charm; he remains one of the city's most valuable citizens -- and certainly one of its most congenial companions.

Readers' choice: Jeremy at the Park Tavern

Rough day at the office? The Avenue Grill's martinis will shake it right out of you. The bar offers about a dozen ways to stir things up, each one a well-balanced concoction that's sure to please. Gin or vodka, vermouth or not, two olives or six -- whatever your poison, the Avenue's got the antidote to a bad mood. Sidle up to the smooth, classic-looking bar and have the bartender -- who'll remember you next time, we bet -- mix one up while you decide whether you need one of the Grill's superb burgers to go with it. If your day has been really rough, go for the wicked Crown Royal Manhattan, which won't just put hair on your chest -- it'll put hair on the hair on your chest. We can see-through clearly now.

Readers' choice: Purple Martini

Rough day at the office? The Avenue Grill's martinis will shake it right out of you. The bar offers about a dozen ways to stir things up, each one a well-balanced concoction that's sure to please. Gin or vodka, vermouth or not, two olives or six -- whatever your poison, the Avenue's got the antidote to a bad mood. Sidle up to the smooth, classic-looking bar and have the bartender -- who'll remember you next time, we bet -- mix one up while you decide whether you need one of the Grill's superb burgers to go with it. If your day has been really rough, go for the wicked Crown Royal Manhattan, which won't just put hair on your chest -- it'll put hair on the hair on your chest. We can see-through clearly now.

Readers' choice: Purple Martini

Every corner of janleone, a Mediterranean eatery located in an old East Colfax mansion, is warm and inviting -- from the charming garden patio to the lovely main dining room. But there's something about the cozy Col-Mar bar area -- named after the intersection of Colfax and Marion, where the restaurant sits -- with its baby grand flanked by comfy rounded chairs and tables, that makes this a very special spot. The pianist changes, but it's often Steven Johnson or Chris Veltry, and no matter who's tickling the ivories, they have us feelin' all right each Friday and Saturday night. That's when you can also nosh from the Col-Mar Bar menu, which features some of chef/owner Jan Leone's specialties, including crispy calamari and a half-pound lamb burger slathered with cucumber yogurt sauce and sided by addictive French fries. Play it again, Jan.

Every corner of janleone, a Mediterranean eatery located in an old East Colfax mansion, is warm and inviting -- from the charming garden patio to the lovely main dining room. But there's something about the cozy Col-Mar bar area -- named after the intersection of Colfax and Marion, where the restaurant sits -- with its baby grand flanked by comfy rounded chairs and tables, that makes this a very special spot. The pianist changes, but it's often Steven Johnson or Chris Veltry, and no matter who's tickling the ivories, they have us feelin' all right each Friday and Saturday night. That's when you can also nosh from the Col-Mar Bar menu, which features some of chef/owner Jan Leone's specialties, including crispy calamari and a half-pound lamb burger slathered with cucumber yogurt sauce and sided by addictive French fries. Play it again, Jan.

The original bar at Nisei Post 185 was a dark, smoky lounge, a room frequented by artists and working men and craggy-bearded World War II veterans back in the days when the post catered to downtown's burgeoning Japanese population and the term "LoDo" would have been laughed at. But now there's a valet outside to park your car, and inside, the once-dingy bar has been turned into a groovy sake lounge complete with vivid lighting and a waiting area for folks who want to dine in the restaurant. But that restaurant, Mori, is largely unchanged, and when it took over the bar operation, it added several classic Mori features. The dining-room menu, for example, is a takeoff on the Tokyo subway system, with a dizzying array of possibilities -- and so the bar's sake list is enormous, too, the largest in town, with 36 sakes, as well as sake-based cocktails, to choose from. Although it all tastes like so much lighter fluid to the uninitiated, true sake aficionados -- a population that appears to be growing -- will appreciate the selection. While not totally representative of the 1,800 sake breweries in Japan, this roster still manages to offer some highlights from the very sweet to the very dry. If you know what the phrase ginjo-shu means, Mori is your man.

The original bar at Nisei Post 185 was a dark, smoky lounge, a room frequented by artists and working men and craggy-bearded World War II veterans back in the days when the post catered to downtown's burgeoning Japanese population and the term "LoDo" would have been laughed at. But now there's a valet outside to park your car, and inside, the once-dingy bar has been turned into a groovy sake lounge complete with vivid lighting and a waiting area for folks who want to dine in the restaurant. But that restaurant, Mori, is largely unchanged, and when it took over the bar operation, it added several classic Mori features. The dining-room menu, for example, is a takeoff on the Tokyo subway system, with a dizzying array of possibilities -- and so the bar's sake list is enormous, too, the largest in town, with 36 sakes, as well as sake-based cocktails, to choose from. Although it all tastes like so much lighter fluid to the uninitiated, true sake aficionados -- a population that appears to be growing -- will appreciate the selection. While not totally representative of the 1,800 sake breweries in Japan, this roster still manages to offer some highlights from the very sweet to the very dry. If you know what the phrase ginjo-shu means, Mori is your man.

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