My Brother's Bar
Westword

We may not be totally sober if we're seeking out a meal after midnight, but we're often coherent enough to know that we don't want any old slice of pizza or a foil-wrapped burrito. That's why we often find ourselves at My Brother's Bar in the wee hours. This iconic Denver bar, which for the last forty years has occupied an address that has held a saloon since the 1880s, serves a massive menu of burgers, sandwiches, salads and all manner of fried accoutrements until just before 2 a.m. last call every day but Sunday. That makes it a good bet for a detour on your way home, and an excellent place to end the night, taking down one last pint and loading up on something griddled and greasy before you turn in to sleep off the tipsy.

Readers' Choice: Pete's Kitchen

Table 6
Cassandra Kotnik

Since Aaron Forman opened Table 6, his cheeky, upscale homage to American comfort food, the restaurant has been the subject of a lot of hype, and early raves in national magazines led to the predictable onslaught of food tourists. But if anything, the restaurant has only gotten better over the past decade. Exec chef Scott Parker's kitchen cooks up a joke-littered lineup of haute comfort cuisine, drawing influence from all over the country. Taste the South in the buttermilk fried chicken, fast food in a burger inspired by In-N-Out Burger, and California in a hand-rolled pasta studded with succulent chunks of lobster. The menu, which changes frequently, pairs to one of the most unique wine lists in town, culled by wine whiz Forman. And whether you're a first-time diner or a regular, a VIP out-of-towner or a neighbor, Table 6 treats each guest like a good friend.

Readers' Choice: Steuben's

Pierre Michel Organic French Bakery Cafe

Let's get one thing straight: If you snooze, you lose — literally. Forget what hours are actually listed on the website or the door: Pierre Michel Organic French Bakery Cafe, which is shoehorned into a tight space in a sprawling strip mall, often shuts an hour — sometimes two — before the posted closing times, thanks to the breadheads who hurry to snatch up the French bakery's magnificent fruit pastries, butter croissants, quiches and French baguettes long before you've hit the snooze button. The bakery is a community center in Highlands Ranch, drawing regulars who crave everything that comes from the kitchen — particularly the Croque Madame, thick-sliced ham and melty Swiss stacked between butter-slicked slices of house-baked brioche and crowned with two eggs. Just make sure you arrive early to partake in the bakery's bliss; otherwise, you risk being apologetically turned away at the door.

Readers' Choice: Lovely Confections

Steuben's Uptown
Cassandra Kotnik

We've noticed barrel-aged cocktails popping up on a handful of lists, making this a true trend in drink-obsessed Denver. Our favorite comes courtesy of Randy and Ryan Layman, who whip up barrel-aged martinis at Steuben's. The brother bartenders make a fifteen-liter batch of Martinez cocktail and then put it in a Peach Street Distillers barrel for five to seven weeks, tasting it on a weekly or bi-weekly basis; when it hits the optimal point, they strain and rebottle the cocktail. The result is a silky drink that incorporates all of our favorite characteristics of a martini but has a rounder, sweeter and more caramelly note from its time on oak.

Colt & Gray

Colt & Gray has a clever drink list, a catalogue of classics, twists on classics, private jokes and new inventions, every one of which is testament to the talent of the bar staff, who have some of the deepest spirits knowledge in town. But the way to really experience what this bar can do is to plop down and order a bartender's choice. After sussing out what you like about a drink — whether that's a flavor profile or a particular liquor — a bartender will present you with a drink that will likely be exactly what you wanted, yet expand your horizons at the same time.

Country Time BBQ
Mark Manger

Jennifer and Lawrence Barkers, the owners of Country Time BBQ, aren't proponents of any one of the country's particular barbecue regions. Instead, they're true to just one style: their own. After Lawrence perfected his smoking technique — using two secret kinds of wood — he started a mobile business that grew into a restaurant. Or sort of a restaurant. The shack off Hampden Avenue that houses their operation doesn't have a seating area, so you'll have to take your meal to go. But the hot links, brisket, ribs and half chickens that come off the pit are so infused with throat-stinging smoke and so velvety on the tongue, it's hard to resist tearing into the meat as soon as you get to your car. The peach cobbler, too, is not to be missed.

Readers' Choice: Moe's Original BBQ

Buffets appeal to all-you-can-eat gluttons, but while most brunch buffets excel at quantity, rarely do they achieve the same quality as a sit-down brunch. But the extravagant Sunday champagne and mimosa brunch at the Garden Terrace, located in the Inverness Hotel, masters both quality and quantity with seemingly endless indulgences of made-to-order omelets, eggs Benedict, carved meats (including prime rib), cheeses that span the globe, salads and pastas, terrines and pâtés, enough desserts to send Willy Wonka into sugar shock, and the crown jewel: a lovely seafood display that's anchored with oysters on the half-shell, shrimp and crab legs. The elegant dining room is fancy enough for adults but informal enough for rugrats, and the live piano melodies are the perfect backdrop for a leisurely morning.

Readers' Choice: Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge

Cheeky Monk

Just because you can't pronounce it doesn't mean you can't drink it, and the Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe gives you 150 reasons why. The restaurant, which carved out a new niche when it opened on Colfax Avenue in 2007, has always had a stellar lineup of Belgian and American craft beers, both on tap and in bottles. But earlier this year, the original Monk (there are now two more in the metro area) answered a lot of people's prayers by adding a dozen new handles and doubling its bottle list from around 75 selections to 150. Whether you want a Koningshoeven Quadrupel, a strong blonde from La Chouffe or a Monk's Cafe Flanders Red Ale, you'll find it at the Cheeky Monk.

Readers' Choice: Falling Rock/Old Chicago (tie)

Los Trompitos

The biggest difference between these breakfast burritos and all the others has everything to do with ratio: Priced at a bargain-basement $1.95 each, the pudgy, foil-wrapped marvels are stuffed with equal amounts of soft-scrambled eggs, melty cheese, crisp-edged potatoes, salty meat — bacon, sausage or chorizo — and searing green chile, which means that whether you're on your first bite or your last, you'll get a combustion of flavors with every chew. It's a terrific breakfast burrito, superseded only by the irresistible salsas, which pack a rigorous amount of heat.

Readers' Choice: Santiago's

Big Mama's Burritos

Seven days a week, this campy chuckwagon pit stop and drive-thru crowned with a cherry-red roof turns out hefty gut grenades to satiate your morning lust or lingering hangover. Two bucks and tax rewards the hunger pangs (or thumping headache) with a hefty potato, egg and chile-blasted burrito, while the daily specials, all of which include cheese, sausage, shredded beef, bacon, ham or chorizo, ring in at a mere $3. They're large enough to get you through to lunch, and no one gives a damn if you dribble grease down your chin while sharing a picnic table with other like-minded gluttons.

Readers' Choice: Santiago's

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