Best Coffee Cocktail 2018 | Amethyst Coffee Co. | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Amethyst Coffee Co. isn't just a cool spot to grab a cup of coffee; it's also got all the fixin's of a cocktail bar, including a beer menu. And while there's no specialty cocktail menu to order from, barista-bartenders can whip up anything you desire, including the classics. Our favorite coffee-inspired beverage is "If You Can Dodge a Wrench," made with vodka, fresh orange juice, Dimmi Liquore di Milano and Marble Moonlight Espresso liqueur and topped with a cold-brew float. It combines two of our favorite brunch drinks into one, effectively killing two birds — and hopefully your hangover — with one stone.

Best Coffee Drinks in a Cocktail Bar

Hudson Hill

Danielle Lirette

When you think like a bartender, even your coffee comes out like a mixologist's masterpiece. Hudson Hill owner Jake Soffes applies his skill at blending complementary flavors to a morning menu of espresso drinks that will make you set aside your plain old latte for something a little more uplifting. Starting with beans from Denver's Commonwealth Coffee, Hudson Hill turns out stellar staples — cappuccinos, cortados and macchiatos, for example — and weekly specials in which you'll find rooibos or Earl Grey tea mingling with coffee, a brûléed sugar crust atop your caramel latte, or a shaken iced coffee punctuated with housemade ginger and hawthorn syrups. When life is bitter, Hudson Hill adds just the right hint of sweet.

Overt is the coffee-shop counter sibling of Vert, the sandwich shop just a couple of doors down. Overt doesn't offer any indoor seating, but tucked behind the building is a patio that you'll wish was behind your home. The secluded space is full of benches and tables with umbrellas, and on a nice day, it's the ideal spot to read a book, enjoy your coffee or a cold beverage with a Vert grab-and-go salad, meet a friend or just work on your tan.

Best Non-Coffee Drinks at a Coffee Shop

Joe Maxx Coffee

Courtesy Joe Maxx Coffee Co. Denver Facebook page

Are you meeting a friend for coffee, but aren't a fan of coffee itself? Lots of shops offer alternatives, such as various teas, chai and hot cocoa. But Joe Maxx, right in the heart of the Art District on Santa Fe, goes a step further, using housemade syrups to liven up tea lattes. Lavender tea latte is made with Earl Grey and lavender syrup, rose tea latte with English breakfast and rose syrup. There's kombucha on tap, too, or you can just skip the drink altogether and order a slice of crepe pie, fancy toast or quiche.

Courtesy ChoLon

You'll do a double take when a steaming latte is set on your table at Concourse. You didn't ask for a coffee drink — and where's that bowl of soup you ordered? The surprise from chef Luke Bergman's kitchen is a savory, creamy vegetable soup topped with foam and served in a coffee cup. The particulars of the creation change with the seasons; a wintertime celery root soup with a cider-maple foam topper has morphed into a creamy spring-pea base with Parmesan foam. The trompe l'oeil is equally delightful either way — and Bergman's skill with surprising flavor combinations ensures that future iterations will continue to please.

Courtesy Avelina Facebook page

Avelina is a stylish downtown grotto that does a fine job catering to the business set at lunch and dinner, with wood-fired specialties that skew Mediterranean. But when the weekend rolls around and this part of downtown gets to feeling a bit deserted, Avelina serves up a stellar brunch that should draw the crowds. On the sweet side, you'll find beignets with a creamy filling along with lovely scones, crepes and breakfast cakes. The savory slate is full of familiar favorites ranging from pork green chile to steak and eggs, but try the breakfast tacos or duck hash for something just a little different. The kicker, though, is the Bloody Mary bar, which lets you go to work on your own boozy breakfast concoction.

Readers' Choice: Low Country Kitchen

On a bleary-eyed morning when you just need a little hair of the dog (but nothing too strong), stumble into Barricuda's, which starts serving bottomless mimosas at 10 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends. For just $10, you can keep the bubbly and OJ coming until 3 p.m., as long as you spring for an entree to go with it. But you'll want something to settle your stomach anyway, and Barricuda's has just the right build-your-own omelet menu to fuel you for another long day. By the time you leave, you'll feel as good as new — or at least as good as you did yesterday.

Readers' Choice: The Lobby

Cassandra Kotnik

Under owner Ron Robinson, this longtime north Denver eatery — once owned by the Smaldones, a famous Mob family, then by the Wynkoop Group, a family of a different sort — has become a neighborhood hangout, a go-to spot for people who want a satisfying Italian meal in an intimate spot that hints of history and decades of red sauce. But on Sunday mornings, Gaetano's has an offer you really can't refuse: the town's best Bloody Mary bar. Three different tomato blends are offered for the base — a house mix heavy with Italian seasonings, a Clamato version and one with V8 — which can be spiced up further with your choice from dozens of hot sauces and seasoning mixes, not to mention infused, spicy vodka. Adorn your drink with plenty of pickled vegetables, cheese, shrimp, jerky and maple-edged bacon, and you've got your morning meal in a glass.

Readers' Choice: Esters Neighborhood Pub

Bar Helix owner Kendra Anderson, aka Swirl Girl Denver, has been educating the Mile High on the magic of food-and-wine pairings — and unsung wine varietals — on social media for years. But with Bar Helix, she's taking education to an experiential level. The sultry spot combines a high-echelon wine list with a top-notch cocktail program and drinking munchies that whimsically match highbrow to lowbrow flourishes — Pop Tarts with foie gras, for instance, and Pringles with caviar. Through her menu, Anderson touts a few pet causes: "soulmate" pairings of food and drink, Negronis, Champagne and wines from unusual regions. The quirky mix makes Bar Helix an easy stop for any drinker, and an exhilarating one for those looking to expand their palates and horizons.

Readers' Choice: The Brutal Poodle

Scott Lentz

The Lakeview Lounge is one of the few classic dives left in metro Denver. After getting its start as a dairy, then a drive-in, the building turned into a saloon in 1957, and through the years (and several name changes — it became the Lakeview in 1975), generations of elbows have made their marks in the worn linoleum on the bar; signs behind the bartender promise cheap drinks and no children after 7 p.m. There's no formal entertainment beyond a pinball machine and a classic jukebox, but twice a year the Lakeview is the site of a unique ritual: On the last day of Daylight Saving Time in November, and again on the first day of Daylight Saving Time in March, you can come in when the bar opens at 7 a.m., grab a drink, and consume it while you watch the sun pop through the distant Denver skyline to the east and reflect off the cranes that mark the construction now under way on West Colfax Avenue. But so far, that boom hasn't touched the Lakeview, a watering hole in the very best sense.

Readers' Choice: Don's Club Tavern

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