Best Free Service With a Movie 2023 | Koelbel Library | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Book it! The Koelbel Library, part of Arapahoe Libraries, has several meeting rooms you can book online, but the best is the Forum Theater, which holds up to 39 people. It's the perfect place for a lecture, a panel...or even your own private screening. You can borrow one of the film titles in the Koelbel collection (the staffers even offer their own suggestions) and then show it at a movie party that has everything but the popcorn. Fortunately, the Koelbel Library Cafe is just down the hall.

Denver's Andy Frasco isn't just the frontman for his wildly popular band, Andy Frasco & the U.N.; he's also the host of his wildly popular podcast, Andy Frasco's World Saving Podcast, which he began in 2018 and really ramped up during the pandemic. On his podcast, Frasco interviews fellow musicians such as Billy Strings, Michal Menert and Oteil Burbridge, as well as people in other industries, including NFL football player Ricky Williams and photographer Jay Blakesberg. If keeping people entertained helps to save the world, then Frasco is certainly doing his part, and doing it well.

We loved City Cast from the moment it debuted in Denver; it was the kind of smart, smart-aleck daily discussion this city needed, hosted by former Westword contributor Bree Davies and produced by Paul Karolyi, already a Best of Denver winner when we honored City Cast with a Best of Denver award in 2021, shortly after it went live. We loved it so much, in fact, that we not only gave it an award, we invited the City Cast crew to record in a Westword conference room once a week, simply because we wanted to eavesdrop on everyone they were talking to (excluding Westword's editor, who pops up every couple of weeks...we can hear her anytime). Since then, it's only gotten better, booking great guests and tackling important topics. City Cast is the true talk of the town.

As racial-justice protests flooded Denver's streets in 2020, activists speculated that there were feds — or at least FBI assets — undercover in the crowds. As it turns out, they were right. Michael "Mickey" Windecker, who hung out with demonstrators and sometimes prodded them to more action, recorded countless hours of conversations with protesters and constantly communicated with FBI agents, who were paying him. Independent journalist Trevor Aaronson got his hands on these recordings, which he turned into the first season of Alphabet Boys, a riveting ten-episode series that's a must-listen for anyone concerned about social justice and law enforcement not just in Denver, but across the country.

When Yesenia Chinchilla and her husband, Daniel Perez, moved to Denver in 2016, she started denverfoodscene on Instagram as a way to explore the city. As TikTok grew in popularity, she added that platform in 2020, and now has over 156,000 followers (and counting) as she churns out a constant stream of tempting food videos. Today the account is a full-time job for Chinchilla, one that's sponsored by Metropolitan State University of Denver, a connection that has brought exposure to the campus and its hospitality program: Using the code "Denverfoodscene" even waives the MSU online application fee.

Kip Wilson has a passion for two things: cannabis and food. The Mississippi native with a Southern twang moved to Denver in 2011 and launched a podcast with co-host (and now-Westword contributor) Chris Byard in 2018, highlighting his favorite local bars and restaurants on a show dubbed Stoned Appetit. In 2022, Wilson was able to quit his day job to focus on the show and his ever-growing audience on social media, which follows along as he crisscrosses the Mile High (while high), giving hot takes and tips on all things fun and delicious in town.

Eight years ago, George Brauchler was the high-profile district attorney for Colorado's 18th Judicial District, handling the James Holmes case and considering a run for statewide office. He shot for governor, went for attorney general (he lost to Phil Weiser), but wound up with a major platform: as the morning host of The George Brauchler Show on KNUS, where he brings a native Coloradan's insight, major legal experience and a lot of good-natured humor to audiences every weekday morning.

A key element of the barber shop experience is shooting the shit, and Techniques Hair Shop is ahead of all the rest. Jeremy, the shop's founder, always has new info about what's been happening in Denver, especially in his neck of the woods, the Art District on Santa Fe. But he and his colleague, Gil, also love to talk about news events around the country and just life in general, sending customers away not just with great-looking hair, but a loaded brain beneath it.

860 Santa Fe Drive

We've all heard the horror stories about home renovation projects: shoddy workmanship, broken promises and no-show subcontractors. Enter hunky Rico León, HGTV's first Latino host, who helps Front Range homeowners salvage their properties when things go wrong.  A contractor himself, he tries to work with both parties, but if that fails he steps in with his team and makes things right. Just renewed for a second season, Rico is building for the future.

When things get ruff at Rose, staffers count on Peppi, the yellow lab, for comfort. Patients are asked if they like dogs, and if they do, in comes Peppi. She lands, almost catlike, beside the patient on the gurney without disturbing a single IV tube or bandage. Peppi succeeds Wynn, a service dog in training who became famous for her viral photo with her tired owner, Dr. Susan Ryan (caretaker of both dogs), during the pandemic.

4567 East 9th Avenue

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