Mirage Sports Bar
Eric Gruneisen
If you're ready to move your darts game out of the rec room and into a real arena, take aim at Mirage Sports Bar. With thirteen boards, it's hard to miss. Fridays feature a blind draw for competition, and there are also leagues for passionate dart buffs. Get the point?
Campus Lounge
There are many reasons to visit this hallowed haunt, but fanatics head to the Campus Lounge for its foosball table. At night it's so popular, you may have to get in line for table access -- which means more brews for you as you wait your turn.
The brothers Zwisler grew up in Indiana, playing Ping-Pong in the basement of a convent. When they migrated to Colorado -- Marty to build custom houses and Ray to make custom wood furniture -- they maintained their love of the game. Several years ago, in fact, they decided to build a conference table that could also be used for Ping-Pong, and the idea caught on. While the price -- ranging from $5,000 to $8,000 each -- may put these tables out of the realm of the average rumpus room, Ray says that it's reasonable for corporate furniture. And with clients like Allstate Insurance, it may not be long before a bounce in the economy signals a bounce in sales.
There's only one Ping-Pong table at Harvey Park, and it isn't even set up all the time. Yet staffers at this friendly rec center are happy to set it up on request.
Dave & Buster's
Gameworks, it's not. Still, the colossal arcade inside this Dave & Buster's food-and-fun franchise is where local video game junkies find their tastiest fix. Serious players know to hit D&B's on the weekdays, when the only crowds are of businessmen clustered around the Golden Tee golf machines. Beware Friday and Saturday nights, when youthful hordes descend and a $5 cover charge fleeces the suckers after 10 p.m. During happy hour (Monday through Thursday, 4:30 to 7 p.m.), drinks are half price, and one hour of unlimited play costs just $10 with a "power hour" card. Since it's easy to blow through a twenty here in half that time, it's a bargain. Take full advantage of the repeat play on new, tough-to-master games like TsuMo, a hydraulic first-person shooter in which you repel an armed beach invasion from a machine-gun nest. Alternate title: "Killing Private Ryan."
Wynkoop Brewing Company
Wynkoop Brewing
Games are not just for kids, especially at the Wynkoop, where men and women rack billiards balls, smack pinball flippers and sweep shuffleboard tables in between sips of Railyard Ale. A huge, loft-like space above the brewery's table-and-chairs main floor, the Wynkoop's game room is an arcade of activity every night of the week. With skill levels that range from novice to professional, it's a great place to hone -- and show off -- your gaming chops. Rack 'em.
Although things got a little too popular at the end of 2000, when a reported 5,000 revelers came to the mountain town's skate-and-fireworks fest (some without paying), a more orderly celebration went off without a hitch this year on the Currier & Ives-like pond about thirty minutes west of Denver. With ticket sales limited to under 3,000, people could actually skate, drink cocoa or visit without getting crushed. And at midnight, as 2001 slid away, fireworks lit up the sky and folks cheered heartily. So that's what John Denver was talking about.

Best Turkey Caller Using His Pro Sports Split V3

Bob Cook
Strasburg

In the world of competitive turkey calling, Coloradans are at a bit of a disadvantage compared to experts from regions where wild turkeys are more plentiful. Still, Colorado has its share of top tweeters. And it falls to Bob Cook -- who placed third in the turkey-calling Grand Nationals in 1996 -- to keep this state's turkey tones top-notch. A master of the 28 noises made by the elusive bird, Cook is tough to beat -- or tweet -- when he has his Pro Sports Split V3 caller in his jaw.
How often does it happen that a man can satisfy dueling passions under one roof? Dave Carson has done it at Exotic Birds of Denver/Carson's Outbound Golf, a dual-purpose business in a Littleton strip mall. The northern half of the store deals in hand-fed, hand-raised parrots -- absolutely fascinating creatures that happen to be smarter, better-looking and more eloquent than a lot of humans. In the southern sphere of Carson's world -- there's no intervening wall or door -- you can pick out a Big Bertha driver, a dozen Titleists, or components to build your own customized set of golf clubs. Carson also does equipment repair and regripping under the watchful eyes of his colorful feathered friends across the room.
Birders who want to see the annual mating rituals of the prairie chicken can book a special weekend tour through the Wray Chamber of Commerce to visit the birds' leks (mating grounds) in East Yuma County. Voyeurs sit in a special viewing blind so as not to distract the amorous fowl from their strutting, booming and bopping.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of