Jay Vollmar
Did we hallucinate the last three years? Consume too many 'shrooms in anticipation of the passage of Proposition 122? However we did it, Denver survived and emerged on the other side, and now it's time to celebrate this city. The Best of Denver 2023 is packed with old standbys that survived as well as smart newcomers that popped up like, well, magic mushrooms; they all add up to show why we're so high on the Mile High City.

Below are all of this year's editors' picks. Be sure to also check out the full list of readers' picks.
Tony White

Throughout the Thin Man's 22-year history, says owner Eric Alstad, one thing he's heard repeatedly from many of his longtime regulars is that it was here, in his cozy Uptown tavern, that they had their first dates. It's easy to see why, from the soft glow of the red lights strung across the rafters and the vintage garage rock on the stereo to the warm aroma of cloves wafting from the hot mulled wine simmering behind the marble-topped bar. It all swirls together to create a lovely space that encourages your true self to shine and celebrates sincere interactions — so snagging that second date is on you.

Courtesy of Number Thirty Eight

Bored and broke? Number Thirty Eight is here for you, with free entertainment nightly. In the winter, the indoor stage hosts free live music almost every night; there's also a trivia night and, on weekend afternoons, drag brunch bingo. The venue's annual Bison Days event, which takes place during the National Western Stock Show, offers free local music and activities such as line-dancing classes. During the spring and summer, Number Thirty Eight's large glass doors open to seamlessly connect the indoor space to a large outdoor patio complete with bar, volleyball court and impressive stage. What are you waiting for?

Anyone with a Denver Public Library card — free to anyone in the city — has access to the library's museum and cultural pass program, which offers library patrons the chance to reserve passes to most of the metro area's many cultural attractions, from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science to Dinosaur Ridge. Spots can fill up quickly, as passes are released on a rolling basis, but for culture vultures, this is an unbeatable deal.

Molly Martin

Just before the Crypt opened on January 13, 2022, co-owner Priscilla Jerez told us that the spot was "destined to be weird." And the uptown punk bar is determined to stay that way, becoming a nightlife destination for its gothic decor inspired by the book Death Scenes and TV series Tales From the Crypt, as well as live shows from punk, hardcore and prog-rock bands. It's a return to form for the building, which used to house a punk club back in the '80s. And while it serves bar food, most of it is vegan and gluten-free. Without a doubt, this death-themed club will become your favorite haunt.

Tyler Getz/Green Dot Labs

Trying to pick a favorite Green Dot Labs strain is like trying to pick the best Gatorade, but when it comes to cannabis flavor, we want straight gas, homie. Thunderdome, an exclusive release from Green Dot in 2022, mixes those fuel-forward qualities we love with a more modern garlic flavor, to incredible results. This puppy has so much octane that dirty glass will run like a Rolls-Royce when Thunderdome is in the bowl, and joints taste like fermented garlic dipped in gasoline. Yet it continues to evolve. A subtle candy-like sweetness and more funk appeared after a few extra days of curing — or maybe that was just our nostrils and tastebuds trying to catch up with Thunderdome's gauntlet of terps. Thunderdome is currently sold in dispensaries in dabbable and vapeable concentrates, but we hope to see more flower on the shelf soon.


First of all, why are you breaking up with someone in public? But if you must, a busy place with plenty of noise is far superior to an intimate dining or drinking establishment, and you definitely don't want it to be one that could be mistaken for a special-occasion destination. Enter the casual Happy Camper, which is pretty much always packed, making it an easy pick for saying your piece before disappearing into the crowd. Then it's a quick hop across the street for a cocktail at Avanti, where you've got a good chance of meeting a rebound on the rooftop.

Courtesy Mutiny Information Cafe

As much as we'd like to pull a Ron Swanson and tell Home Depot employees "I know more than you" as they sheepishly walk up to offer uneducated help, that just isn't how our parents raised us. We don't have to worry about that at A Cut Above, though, where only Colorado's top growers can get on the shelf and the budtenders have probably tried everything in the inventory. Flower from esteemed growers like 710 Labs, Cherry, Green Dot Labs, Higher Function, Mesa Verde, Single Source and Snaxland is always within reach, as are newer cultivations like Bubba's Kush and Melody. The concentrates selection, though not as expansive, is still well chosen, with extractors like 710 Labs, Egozi, George Hashington, Green Dot, Lazercat and Mountain Select all regularly stocked. Whether you're a cannabis connoisseur or trying to impress one, you can't fail with this Cut.

Best Of Denver®