Best Wine Bar 2019 | PMG | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Many wine bars are built for casual conversation and snacking with friends, with the wine seeming almost like an afterthought. "Approachable" seems to be the most common buzzword, and wine lists are built so that they don't appear intimidating or formidable. But if you're really going for the wine and not the conversation or charcuterie board, you want to learn, grow and be surprised by selections. PMG's owner, Emily Gold, has assembled a collection of labels by the glass and bottle that will keep your curiosity piqued through many visits. You don't have to be an earnest aficionado or sommelier in training to enjoy the place; Gold and her staff are there to help guide you to your next favorite glass of wine. Old World is definitely the emphasis; you'll find few California wines here. A visit to PMG is a chance to explore the French, Italian and German countryside without ever leaving Boulder.

Readers' Choice: Postino


Chef Cindhura Reddy and her husband, Elliot Strathmann, have assembled all the right ingredients for the best night out, whether a first date, special occasion or drop-in meal with neighbors. There's always just the right bottle or glass for any moment, and since this is an Italian eatery, nearly every wine follows suit. Choose from recognizable proseccos, sangioveses, pinot grigios and rosés, or let Strathmann guide you through a selection of rare Italian varietals from tiny family producers. Of course, a wine list can only accomplish so much unless there's great food to match; Reddy's hand-rolled pastas, complex sauces and reliance on local ingredients (don't miss the goat from El Regalo Ranch) bring out the best in every sip.

Readers' Choice: Max's Wine Dive

There are plenty of good reasons for bar patrons not to drink alcohol, and yet boozeless beverages are in short supply at most watering holes. Staying sober in the company of drunken revelers shouldn't require limiting yourself to whatever's available on the soda gun, nor should intriguing flavor combinations and fancy glassware have to result in a hangover. Punch Bowl Social is clearly of the same mind: The bar here pours sophisticated mocktails brimming with exotic mix-ins like cardamom, fresh sage and aquafaba mixed with sparkling water and housemade flavor syrups. Who says being responsible has to be boring?

One word springs to mind when considering chef/restaurateur Troy Guard's Los Chingones squadron of taquerias: "Fiesta!" And a fiesta isn't complete without free-flowing margaritas made with quality tequila and fresh lime. The Los Marg at all four outposts is a glass of liquid sunshine made with blanco tequila and the Chingones house sour mix (you'll often see lime after lime being squeezed to make the mix). For a typical Troy Guard infusion of childhood memories, go with a T & T, a margarita with a dose of orange soda and a Tang rim. Better still, order by the carafe!

Readers' Choice: Adelitas Cocina y Cantina

Lucy Beaugard

Rare is the happy hour in Denver that goes beyond a short list of carbohydrate-forward drinking snacks, and rarer still is a generous offering like that at Uchi, which allows you a fairly comprehensive taste of the restaurant's menu — enough to actually dine off of, if you're so inclined — at a cut-rate price. During the Texas transplant's happy hour, which runs daily from 5 to 6:30 p.m., you can graze your way through a well-edited collection of makimono, nigiri and chef tastings, including hits like the bright hama chili built with yellowtail and citrus, and foie gras-stuffed onigiri. Pair your feast with a reduced-price glass of sake, beer or wine, and finish with a discounted frozen candy bar, a crunchy, gooey chocolate confection that should always be the capstone to a meal here.

Readers' Choice: Ironton Distillery and Crafthouse

Mark Antonation

The gang's all here at Capitol Hill's most rollicking bar for piano music and drinks — and they don't plan on leaving any time soon. Charlie Brown's second happy hour runs from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. nightly, with two-for-one drinks for your first round and cheap wells, wines and beers thereafter. There's a weatherproof patio for smokers, a vintage bar for a more intimate encounter, and plenty of tables for you and your carousing friends. The saloon itself, tucked into the base of the Colburn Hotel, was built in the midst of Prohibition, but didn't become Charlie Brown's until well afterward. Still, you'll feel like you're traveling back in time — especially since the drinks are priced from a different era. Cheers to another last call.

Readers' Choice: Adelitas Cocina y Cantina

Larimer Street's remarkable shift from warehouse district to pedestrian thoroughfare is perhaps best observed on weekend nights, when groups of revelers throng the sidewalks from Broadway to Downing. And there's no better place to people-watch than American Bonded, where a breezy, fairy-lit, muraled rooftop oasis presents views of the skyline as well as the street below. Grab one of the bar's frozen drinks — served only at the outdoor bar along with other cocktails and beers, which keeps you from having to run up and down the stairs — and look for a spot near the front railing for the best vantage point. Fair warning: The place gets packed on summer nights. If you can't find a seat up top, look for an outdoor streetside table below.

Readers' Choice: Avanti Food & Beverage

Danielle Lirette

Denver is a dog, beer and outdoor type of city, so what better way to whittle away the hours than by indulging in all of it? Luckily, you can do just that at Recess Beer Garden in LoHi (except after 3 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, when Fido has to stay home). Otherwise, the patio is prime for some al fresco bonding and drinking, especially during those first warm spring brunches. Sip a craft brew while chowing on chili fries and tater tots; just don't forget to share a bite or two with man's best friend.

Readers' Choice: Coal Mine Avenue Brewing Company

Danielle Lirette

A great patio can either offer a stunning view or a perch for people-watching, but few typically provide both. Avanti Food & Beverage doesn't have a typical patio, though: With seven counter-service options and multiple outdoor decks, here you can build a patio adventure to suit your mood. Grab a poke bowl at Quickfish and join the beautiful people on the main rooftop deck overlooking downtown; score tacos at BorraCho or Venezuelan street food at Quiero Arepas, then head for the bleacher seats; or make it an elegant dinner from Bistro Georgette or the Rotary and choose a table on the covered, all-weather patio. Cocktails, wine, beer or cider from two separate bars can also be tailored to your needs. Avanti's patios are like LoHi's backyard party — and you'll never want to leave.

Readers' Choice: Linger

Danielle Lirette

Start with something from the raw bar, then progress through the gleaming offerings on the menu at chef/restaurateur Jennifer Jasinski's compact Union Station seafood house. Stoic & Genuine's slate reads as both serious and playful, from a rich and rewarding take on paella loaded with mussels, shrimp, squid and sausage, to an amusing tuna sandwich that robes a rare slab of fish in molten American cheese. Crudos, oysters, crab legs and caviar are presented with pride and care, whether you're looking for a quick lunch or celebrating big. You pick the adjectives: impressive and elegant; vivacious and bright; delicious and bountiful.

Readers' Choice: Jax Fish House

Best Of Denver®

Best Of