Best Summer Playground 2019 | Peter Pan Playground | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Imagine what the set of Peter Pan would look like as a playground, and you have this charming Westminster spot. The London Bridge rises next to the Lost Boys rock tower, which is situated near Captain Hook's pirate ship. In the summer, waterfalls pour cool water into a miniature stream, and jets shoot water around the splash pad. Green grass and trees make for comfortable lounging and running about, and a shaded picnic area is great for those days when you want to stay outside for hours. You don't ever have to grow up at Peter Pan Playground; the only thing missing is pixie dust to make you fly.

Molly Martin

Candlelight Tavern might seem like a modest establishment near the heart of the Washington Park neighborhood, but it has a secret: Just to the left upon entering the dark and cozy little bar awaits a high-quality, often completely vacant shuffleboard court. Add in the cheap food and drink deals, a collection of loyal regulars and a few televisions showing the most important game of the day, and you can pursue shuffleboard glory until the Banquet keg runs dry...or succumb to defeat.

Best New Pool Hall That Feels Like an Old Pool Hall

Gerard's Pool Hall

In the growing divide that is Old Denver versus New Denver, Gerard's Pool Hall occupies a welcome space somewhere in the middle. From its sneaky back-alley entrance to its dark, wainscoted walls, this billiards room has a distinctly throwback feel — and it opened less than two years ago. The high ceilings and low-slung barn lighting that hovers over felted tables feel plucked from a Denver gone by, when mining-themed establishments and Wild West vibes were all the rage. If you want to sit and enjoy the action from above, Gerard's loft bar provides an excellent perch, with bar stools and a comfy hotel-lobby-style couch for seating. Shakespeare's may never rise from the dead, but Gerard's Pool Hall could be the next best thing.

A lot of sports bars in Denver give customers a chance to participate in games rather than simply eyeball them. But the Blake Street Tavern takes the concept to a different level: the basement. Dubbed Underground Social, the space is crammed with arcade games, board games of normal dimensions and supersized ones (such as Giant Jenga and Giant Connect 4), Pop-A-Shot basketball, Skee-Ball, shuffleboard, cornhole, pool tables, ping-pong and, of course, beer pong — and it's all contained in a brick-lined setting that's like a fantasy clubhouse for grownups. Upstairs, the Blake Street Tavern has plenty going for it, especially when it comes to people who want to pre-game before heading to a Rockies game at nearby Coors Field. But there are definitely advantages for those who want to go Underground.

Readers' Choice: Blake Street Tavern

Molly Martin

Stoney's may be known as one of the best places in the city to watch Broncos games, but the venue doesn't limit its loyalty to the orange and blue. The enormous joint boasts TVs aplenty (31 HD sets plus two 120-inch projection screens) in a slew of interconnecting rooms, offering opportunities to watch contests of many different kinds — and its website encourages variety by way of a function that allows visitors to click on different dates to see everything that's being telecast when they plan to visit. It's a great place for trivia, too, and has a solid, tasty menu and first-rate happy-hour deals. Just as important, the staff is consistently efficient and professional, even when everyone is losing their mind over a last-minute touchdown or buzzer-beating bucket.

Readers' Choice: Blake Street Tavern

Evan Semón

It's Open Championship Sunday. You need to soak in every minute of coverage, but you know that if you watch from home, there's a good chance that you'll fall asleep on the couch before the leaders tee off. A bar is the obvious solution, but spending six-plus hours at one can be taxing, both on your lower back (all that standing!) and on your wallet. Enter the Dive Inn, a nautically themed Platt Park tavern with inexpensive drinks, a plethora of televisions and an honest-to-God dry-docked boat. Reserve the boat for yourself and your crew, throw on a life jacket (provided by the bar) and utilize the abundance of bar games (table tennis, foosball, pool, cornhole) and the $3.25 well cocktails or $11 pitchers of house beer to pace out a slow afternoon watching one of golf's majors or an all-day March Madness marathon.

When it comes to dining in a sports bar, the key is offering something that fans can't get at home — otherwise, we might as well just stay in our jammie pants. West End Tap House gets big points for its addictive menu of "smalls," including not only the mac and cheese that was a past Best of Denver winner, but also finger-licking-good snacks, such as "lambsicles" with caramelized fat bits, and mind-blowing funnel-cake fries dusted with powdered sugar. And it doesn't end at food: The Tap House offers creative cocktails, more than a dozen beers on tap and three dozen more in bottles or cans (including gluten-free brews and ciders), and even vino from a surprisingly intriguing list. Even with the crucial TVs visible from every vantage point, the space is groovy and inviting.

Readers' Choice: Blake Street Tavern

Flickr/Dash of Curry

Most Coloradans are familiar with the big energy-bar brands — Clif, KIND, Lärabar, Kashi. But over the past sixteen years, a Boulder company has steadily made its mark on the national scene. What began as a mother-and-daughter team experimenting with baking oat treats in their home kitchen in 2003 has grown into a 100-employee-plus company. In some ways, Bobo's Oat Bars are exactly what you'd expect from the Republic of Boulder — they're vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO — but they've also gained a dedicated following among climbers, hikers, skiers and more who appreciate their taste (there are more than fifteen flavors) and heft: All those wholesome ingredients result in a surprisingly filling snack. Bobo's Oat Bars are available at all major supermarkets in Colorado, as well as outdoor shops such as REI.

Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus may have had an up-and-down season in 2018-2019, but his fashion sense definitely splits the uprights. The Brandon McManus Collection, produced in conjunction with Boulder's Shinesty, is filled with whimsical designs on a Broncos theme, including the "Plaid Lad" blue-and-orange blazer, unisex overalls with the team's vintage "D" logo scattered across blue-striped fabric, and, best of all, the "Broncos Bulge Horse Ball Hammock Boxers," which juxtapose a blue-and-orange plaid body with a simulated horse-head crotch pocket. The looks are amusing, eye-catching and accessibly priced: The "I Need My Kombucha Navy and Orange Hammer Pants" go for just $19.99. Wear them and you'll definitely get extra points.

Von Miller may be the most prominent of the current Broncos on social media, but don't sleep on cornerback Chris Harris, who's far and away the squad's best pass defender. He tweets frequently and passionately, sharing his opinions about major sporting events in real time, offering unfiltered takes on athletic debates and even getting political at times: In a retweet of a Vox post about a racial massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he wrote, "Must-watch: Learn your history." He's feisty, eagerly taking on all comers with the smarts he displays on the gridiron. Even Broncos executive John Elway isn't exempted: Harris responded to a story from The Athletic in which Elway shrugged off a question about extending Harris's contract by pairing the words "I missed this" with the thinking-face emoji. His tweets will give you second thoughts, too.

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