Steuben's Uptown
Cassandra Kotnik

Steuben's channels its namesake — a Boston nightclub that started in the 1940s and hosted such notable customers as the Rat Pack — and other hometown restaurants of yore into an irrevocably hip, casual American comfort-food spot that brings together every slice of the Denver social scene. And because the place is always packed, it's a good spot for first-daters to meet at the chrome bar, cutting the tension with a few stiff, pre-Prohibition cocktails and maybe splitting an order of gravy fries. That bar is intimate enough to be conducive to conversation, and loud and busy enough to diminish the chance that anyone around suspects a blind date is in their midst. If things go poorly, you can always focus on ordering more food — or picking someone out of the crowd who looks like a more likely prospect.

Colt & Gray

Colt & Gray is a temple of offal, and the menu features parts of an animal that some people would consider scraps: sweetbreads, crispy trotters, liver pâtés...and bone marrow. Rather than serve a cross-section of bone, the kitchen slices the specimen lengthwise and roasts it until caramelized, velvety, collagen-y marrow is clinging tenderly to the hole in the middle. That hot, butter-like center gets scraped out with a long metal spoon and spread on griddled bread, seasoned with a pinch of salt. Onion-confit jam balances the rich spread with a sweet nip; a smattering of greens gives it a fresh, crisp bite.

Freshcraft
Mark Manger

Rather than bringing in beers to fit its menu, Freshcraft's menu of upscale comfort food and small plates was created around beer. The restaurant, owned and operated by the Forgy brothers, has twenty beers on tap — selections that are special enough to lure in even the most jaded beer geeks — but it also has around 120 beers on its bottle (and can) list, everything from Belgian specialties to Colorado rarities to hard to-find bottles from around the country. Don't see what you want in the front cooler? There's a cooler in the back as well. Freshcraft is the perfect place to pop your top.

Bull & Bush Brewery
Hunter Stevens

Bull & Bush is like a heavily fortified man cave, stocked with all things needed for a testosterone fest. Whether you're holed up inside or enjoying the shaded patio, it's a dark spot, full of heavy, masculine furniture and TVs tuned to sports. The menu boasts pub food and hefty burgers, and the list is paired with the dozens of varieties of whiskey that line the shelves, as well as a vast array of beers in bottles and on tap. Those tap lines support the brewery's own concoctions, including Man Beer, a powerful IPA. While women are welcome to take a seat in the bar, Bull & Bush is just the spot for men who've gotten a hall pass to spend the night drinking with their pals.

Vine Street Pub & Brewery

When calling it quits on a romance, it's best to do so in a casual spot — and the convivial atmosphere at Vine Street Pub, which has the feel of an ongoing college house party, is exactly right. After a rousing round of Cornhole, a couple of small-batch tap brews and an order of nachos, your about-to-be-dumped former darling might even buy your "it's not you, it's me" pitch. In fact, Vine Street's feel-good vibe is so infectious that you may find you're willing to share one last beer before going your separate ways. And if not, the bar is usually crowded enough that your now-insignificant other can't do anything too crazy in revenge.

La Fuente

It's worth skulking into the office late in order to snag one of the plump breakfast burritos that La Fuente, a groovy, low-rent Mexican joint, cooks up in a tiny kitchen that turns out big flavors. There are nearly a dozen manifestations of the breakfast burritos, all of which feature soft scrambled eggs and shards of crisp-edged potatoes, as well as your choice of bacon, chorizo, steak, sausage, beans or beef. But the crowning glory is the fiery, pork-punctuated green chile, either tucked into the tortilla or poured over it. Seething with intensity, these gut bombs weigh only slightly less than a newborn, and in the event you can't sink your teeth into one before the time clock calls you tardy, they're available all day, every day.

Taco Wagon
Lori Midson

The Taco Wagon, crouching in the parking lot of El Mercado, a Mexican grocery in Lafayette, commands eye-rollingly long waits, but it's worth missing whatever commitment you've got lined up — school, court, hell, even your nuptials — to first profess your love for the breakfast burritos. They're delivered through a sliding glass window, behind which resides a couple with a no-nonsense sense of purpose: He takes your money; she creates Mexican magic. Her breakfast burritos, blazing hot green-chile-intensive packages bursting with scrambled eggs, nubs of spicy chorizo and slightly charred potatoes, are assembled by callused hands that take the morning ritual more seriously than most people take their marriage. The Taco Wagon takes its salsas seriously, too, offering two housemade creations: one green, the other red, both of which are worthy of their own ode to greatness.

The crew at Masterpiece Deli has really mastered the art of the sandwich, and this skill extends to breakfast, when the place turns out ten renditions of a morning meal that all involve gooey cheese, a runny-yolked egg and a toasted roll of some sort (as well it should). At Masterpiece, it doesn't matter if the kitchen's using cheddar or pepper Jack, thick strips of smoked bacon, slices of pastrami, sautéed mushrooms or a disk of spicy Taylor Pork Roll, and whether that's going on an English muffin or an everything bagel. Because every breakfast sandwich comes stacked high and messily, satisfactorily salty and just a little greasy, ready to be paired with a cup of coffee — and inhaled.

Gordo Loco

The intersection of Federal Boulevard and West 26th Avenue was already ground zero in the breakfast burrito wars, with Jack-n-Grill and an outpost of Santiago's launching their two-buck breakfast burritos from opposite sides of Federal, and Araujo around the corner firing back with a smaller, 99-cent breakfast burrito. But now Gordo Loco, which occupies the historic bungalow that was the original home of La Loma, has rolled out the heavy artillery. The really heavy artillery: a hefty, eight-inch breakfast burrito to go that's packed with scrambled eggs, soft cubes of potato and green-chile cheese (the secret weapon, available either hot or mild) for just 98 cents. This burrito is such a bargain that you can even afford a side of guac, sour cream...or more green-chile cheese. Fire when ready!

Bull & Bush Brewery
Hunter Stevens

Celebrating forty years of independent family ownership this year, the Bull & Bush keeps getting better, whether it's with award-winning beers like Man Beer and the Legend of the Liquid Brain Imperial Stout, its cellar parties that pull together vintage bottles of rare and hard-to-find brews from other breweries, or the layered atmosphere that mixes old-school Glendale regulars, families and downtowners looking for a night away from the madness. There's an extensive menu of comfort food and a burgeoning beer list, so if you can't hang out, you can at least grab a growler to go.

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