Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - Sloans Lake
Alamo Drafthouse

Forget stale popcorn and Junior Mints. Greasy hands down, Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake has the best food of any movie theater in metro Denver. Start simple with popcorn (not stale), which can be doused in herb parmesan, truffle parmesan butter or clarified butter; move on to appetizers like Buffalo cauliflower or edamame hummus; then keep going to entrees of pizza, salads, burgers and more. You can finish up your meal with a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie or an adult milkshake or other alcoholic beverage. And that's just during the movie! After the final reel, enjoy a nightcap or three in Barfly, the Alamo's excellent bar that's worth a visit all its own.

Readers' Choice: Alamo Drafthouse

Bistro Vendome
Bistro Vendome

Ooh la la! Bistro Vendôme, the charming French restaurant in a courtyard off Larimer Square, introduced a tasty treat last year: Monday Movie Night. Twice a month, the restaurant hosts a special screening of classic food, French or French food movies paired with a three-course, prix fixe menu created by Bistro Vendôme's culinary team. The cinematic offerings have ranged from Sabrina to La La Land; Babette's Feast is one of April's offerings. The intimate atmosphere is ideally suited for movie-watching, but the exquisite food is the reel draw.

AMC Bowles Crossing 12

Luxury movie theaters are becoming status quo — which means the competition for most comfortable theater gets steeper each year. After all, multiplexes have to take on the fiercest competition: living rooms. AMC movie theaters in particular have taken up the challenge of re-creating that coziness, and nowhere is this more true than at AMC Bowles Crossing, where the seats, which you pick out yourself, are more comforting than a baby blanket. Drink, eat and be merry — and, most important, kick up your feet and recline, just as you would back home. But don't fall asleep: That would defeat the purpose of leaving your living room.

Readers' Choice: Alamo Drafthouse

Sie FilmCenter

The Sie, backed by the movie-loving Denver Film Society, has never wanted for good programming, at least not on the small and artful level, but this year, things are changing in a big way. Sie programmer Keith Garcia, who recently returned to the theater after leaving in 2014 for other pursuits, now has the ability to program higher-profile mainstream films around a continuing slate of festivals, series and select indie and art-house fare. Garcia says his job is to decide what's appropriate for the Sie's faithful fan base on all levels, which allows for more varied programming that will bring in new faces and continue to satisfy the old ones. It's the best of both worlds!

Readers' Choice: Landmark Mayan Theatre

If you're a major nonprofit or a corporation, it's possible to book compelling movies. But what is a DIY microcinema programmer working on a shoestring budget supposed to do? In Denver, Adán de la Garza, curator of Collective Misnomer (his title is a misnomer, because he's the sole brains behind the operation), manages to offer a challenging mix of short films and experimental documentaries, and even hosts traveling filmmakers at a variety of spots, including the Dikeou Pop-Up, the Sie FilmCenter and the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake — all with money he brings in from the door and donates himself. He does this with his ethics intact, by ensuring that his filmmakers get a cut of the door.

collectivemisnomer.com

Best Film Festival
Kenneth Hamblin III

When it comes to putting on a stunning festival, it's hard to beat the Denver Film Society's annual Denver Film Festival, which offers up nearly two weeks of programming each year, including blockbuster independent films, documentaries and a handful of experimental works and animation. In addition to movies galore, the festival also gives Denverites the opportunity to hobnob with actors, directors and producers on the red carpet and in theaters and bars. The fest just turned forty, and we can't wait to see what the next four decades bring.

Readers' Choice: Denver Film Festival

denverfilmfestival.denverfilm.org

Best Entertainment on Facebook
ladyspeech.com

In the social-media world of inspirational-quote memes and viral feel-good videos, it can be hard to find authentic voices. Fortunately, Denver has Lady Speech. The poet, performer, tarot reader, intuitive, spellcaster and Westword MasterMind takes to Facebook several times a week to share her thoughts on the current state of the world, centering feminism, blackness and mental and physical well-being through her mini-orations. Sometimes she shares her wisdom with brief status updates; other times, this life guide will post stream-of-consciousness videos. If her Facebook briefs have you energized, the witch-of-all-trades also conducts private tarot readings, teaches ceremonial healing for trauma survivors and is even an ordained minister. Tune in to the Lady Speech spiritual network on Facebook to be enlightened and energized, but be forewarned: This queen is passionate with her words, and some of her mini-sermons are NSFW.

facebook.com/LadySpeechSankofa

Best Theater Company to Pop Up in Unexpected Places

Audacious Theatre

Whether putting on a show inside a music venue, a brewery, a pizzeria or the basement of an old Denver mansion, Audacious Theatre is the master of transforming a space. This small, local immersive company has a knack for creating ambience with a just a few yards of fabric and some simple lighting tricks. It converted the Parkside Mansion into a murderous dungeon for an original production, Lady Killers, and was able to perfectly capture the sleaze of a '70s pick-up bar for its own version of David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago. For Audacious, immersive also means highly interactive, as artistic director Ren Manley and company break the fourth wall by inviting audience members to perform karaoke, throw darts at pictures of ex-lovers and beat the crap out of piñatas.

audacioustheatre.com

There are decent dinner-theater offerings throughout the area, but nothing as tasty as the evenings hosted by BDT Stage, previously Boulder's Dinner Theatre. For starters, the food is several cuts above most dinner-theater fare — we found housemade burrata on the menu last time we visited — and artistic director Michael J. Duran always casts reliably talented performers who know how to carry a tune. And then some, as in the case of Always...Patsy Cline, currently playing through May 20. Fall brings the updated I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. And we know that you're sick of Disney's The Little Mermaid by now, but we're betting your three-year-old isn't, so plan on under-the-sea enchantment and a happy toddler this summer.

Best Theater Repertory
M. Gale Photography

Three plays in rotation, all completely different from each other: a crazy comic version of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility in which the flying, sliding, hopping furniture is almost a character in its own right; a magic realism piece centered on a sick child called The Electric Baby; and a powerful production of Arthur Miller's tragic All My Sons, about a man haunted by a crime he committed during World War II that led to the deaths of several young pilots. The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities has brought back the concept of repertory with its Black Box Theatre, and one of the pleasures of attending all three well-staged productions is seeing the versatility of some of the area's finest actors in a variety of roles. The plays are shown in rotation through the first week of May, but we can expect another worthy round next year.

Best Of Denver®

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