Best Brewery for a Flight 2021 | FlyteCo Brewing | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Jonathan Shikes

Oh, did you think we meant a flight of beers? No, we meant a flight, like in an airplane. Since opening in 2019, FlyteCo Brewing's aviation theme has really taken off — and includes not just a salvaged plane wing at the entrance, runway striping on the floor and other aeronautical details, but a custom-built replica of the fuselage of a plane. Inside are jump seats, tables and plane windows where beer drinkers can gaze out at other customers. But you can order that flight of beers, too — in a carrier shaped like an airplane, of course.

Danielle Lirette

Kids are weird. They're hungry when you're not, and when you finally get them rounded up to head to their favorite restaurant, they clam up and claim they're not hungry the moment the server arrives. When you ask what they want to eat, they shrug and say, "Whatever." At Acova, that answer will get them a PB & J sandwich with a side. And "I'm not hungry" will land them a kid-sized cheeseburger with fries. You get the idea: Acova's kids' menu takes standard annoying answers and turns them into the names of dishes — which just might elicit a smile and get the young ones engaged in the family dinner. The only problem? Now you have to get them to choose a side dish. Unfortunately, "I hate you, Daddy," won't result in potato salad.


Typically, hunkering down over burgers and drinks inside the dark and atmospheric bar at this venerable Denver institution is the way to go, but My Brother's Bar earns the distinction of best patio because right now it's all patio. The Newman family, who in 2017 took over from the Karagas brothers (who'd bought Denver's oldest bar almost fifty years earlier), hasn't seated guests inside since March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, but they added heated domes and tents to an extended patio that took over part of the parking lot to give guests a cozy way to enjoy jalapeño cream cheese burgers and pitchers of beer in safety and comfort throughout the winter. Of course, the bar has always had a great patio — sheltered, shaded and surrounded by hop vines — so even when customers can finally go back inside, they may decide to stay outside for one more round.

Danielle Lirette

A rooftop patio must offer more than just a pretty view — because views fall short if the food falls flat. At Linger, not only is your table at the top of one of Denver's hottest neighborhoods, but it's got built-in ambience from the Olinger Mortuary sign towering overhead, added whimsy from an RV converted into an outdoor bar, and a menu that will keep adventurous eaters on their toes visit after visit. There are taller buildings in town with more elevated patios; there are sprawling beer gardens where you'll trip over toddlers as you navigate your way to a beer. But Linger rises above the rest with its combo of food and attitude. Oh, and the views aren't bad, either.

Ratio Beerworks

The RiNo neighborhood is overflowing with dogs; sit on any restaurant patio or take a stroll along the sidewalks of Larimer, Lawrence, Walnut or Blake streets and you'll see every manner of furry friend, from pampered purebreds to Muppet-like mutts. And if you want to hang with your four-pawed pal (or someone else's), hit the patio at Ratio for beers and a bite of something from the resident food truck. The tables are spread out far enough that skirmishes are unlikely, and the temporary street patio provides even more room for all to enjoy.

Jax Fish House

Chef Sheila Lucero joined the Jax Fish House team as a line cook in 1998, became executive chef in 2009, and is now among the nation's culinary leaders when it comes to advocating for sustainable seafood and protected fisheries. Her dedication to the cause gives guests at Jax the peace of mind that each bite of seafood is responsibly harvested — not to mention delicious. Restaurateur Dave Query founded Jax in Boulder in 1994, and together he and Lucero are making sure that their restaurants thrive and grow while looking out for the future of wild-caught and farmed seafood.

Danielle Lirette

Oysters arrive alive from America's coastal waters, but if they've been clammed up too long, they start to suffer. So getting the best oysters to Denver as quickly as possible is the trick to making sure they're at their freshest. Stoic & Genuine's connections with oyster growers on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts ensures that every oyster is sweet and briny, and that the individual flavors of each variety shine through. While that dedication to freshness doesn't come cheap, S & G offers an oyster hour with discount mollusks alongside reduced-price cocktails, wine and beer. So go ahead and order more; your oyster shucker will set you up with another round.

Danielle Lirette

Denver's reputation as a cowtown — in the form of steak, not cattle wandering the streets — is bolstered by chef/restaurateur Troy Guard's upscale and always busy Guard and Grace. Only the best cuts make it onto the menu, whether grain-fed Prime, grass-fed or wagyu. But there's more than just beef here; a raw bar supplies seafood towers with oysters, lobster, crab legs and shrimp, and an international roster of appetizers and small plates covers everything from artichokes to octopus. Mark your calendars with upcoming special occasions — and spend them all at Guard and Grace.

Danielle Lirette

Chef/restaurateur Frank Bonanno's Milk Market in the Dairy Block honors the notion of a true market while offering enough variety to keep visitors happy. At one of the food hall's counters, you can get yourself a lobster roll while your family or friends explore fried chicken, burgers, pizza, salads, pasta, bao buns and much, much more. And when you've all eaten your fill, you can grab prepared foods and raw ingredients — such as meats, cheeses, pasta and seafood — to cook at home. But don't miss the chance to enjoy cocktails, a pour of Colorado craft beer or a nitro cold brew coffee on the patio, where you can watch downtown Denver coming back to life.

Best New Restaurant in a Food Hall


Mark Antonation

Bryan Dayton and Steve Redzikowski closed Acorn last summer after seven critically acclaimed years at the Source on Brighton Boulevard, citing the difficulty of doing fine dining during the pandemic. But even then, Dayton said there were new things planned for the space. And just a couple of months later, Dayton, Redzikowski and chef Bill Espiricueta (who also owns Smok in the same complex) reopened the restaurant as Bellota, a Mexican eatery with chef Manny Barella as executive chef. The menu combines Barella's childhood memories of food in his hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, with his career in fine-dining restaurants in California and Colorado. The result is a step up from standard margarita-soaked cantinas, but without a drop of stuffiness.

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