Best Use for a Hotel Basement 2011 | Gold Fish Aquarium | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Hotel Monaco is known for its pet-friendliness; the upscale spot offers all manner of four-legged comforts, including a doggy boutique, dog room service and in-room bowls and pet beds, among other things. But the hotel can also provide pets — of the fishy kind — for anyone who didn't bring a pet but would like a little company. The staff keeps a hundred-gallon tank full of goldfish in the basement, and they'll bring you a complimentary one upon request. Afraid it might end up in the toilet bowl? No worries: Hotel employees are trained to feed and care for your fish. Just keep your own paws off your new pet. "Some of them are in danger of being talked to death," a hotel spokeswoman says, "but no one has eaten one, to my knowledge."

Nicole Schaap loves vintage, but for her, it's got to be the real thing, not a knockoff. Schaap, who admits to having gotten teary-eyed once when she practically stole a Dior hat for five bucks at a yard sale, did time at Nordstrom and Neiman's, but is now turning a hobby into a business at her Englewood storefront, Crème de la Couture. The resale shop with a lot of personality exudes Schaap's true love for couture and antique garments, but there's more to Crème de la Couture than her favorite designers: You'll also find more affordable vintage and near-new high-style duds. "Let's all stop wearing jeans to the opera" is Schaap's credo. Crème de la Couture is the place to start heeding it.

When Wrangler opened its first-ever retail store here this past fall, executives gave several reasons why they picked Denver: the beautiful weather, the city's adventurous spirit, and because once a year, Denver turns into Cowboy Central for the National Western Stock Show. And if that's not reason enough to scoot your boots to Lone Tree, maybe seeing rodeo clowns and suburban moms shopping side by side is.

Courtesy Mondo Vino Facebook page

Why does it seem like finding a great wine shop is harder than getting a BOGO deal on a case of Silver Oak? It might be because wine lovers are a bit of an unsufferable bunch when it comes to procuring wine. We want a worldly glut of wines, wallet-friendly prices and helpful, educated salespeople who care about making sure we take home bottles we actually like. We want a fat selection of easy-drinking Tuesday-night wine candidates, right alongside bottles worthy of wedding gifts or years of cellaring. Well, that rare instance of wine-shop nirvana exists at Mondo Vino. Offerings from every corner of the globe are organized cleanly and explained with passion by a team of total wine geeks (and we mean that in a good way) who seem psychically aware of whether you truly need assistance or just want to be left to browse in peace. Free weekend tastings offer a chance to sample the edgier bottles in the store. Oh, that last critical ingredient we need? Love, plain and simple — and this shop's mondo love of vino is more than obvious.

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