In February, we shared ten of the toughest Best Of categories to win twice. From the best bartender (Courtney Wilson) to the best burger in Denver (Highland Tap & Burger), the winners were a tableau of Mile High success.
As turns out, only one of those ten winners would come back to pull off a repeat in 2014. Read on to find out our new champions -- and the lucky winner who scored back-to-back victories.
Pick up a copy to read the full write-ups. And as always, you can find the full Best of Denver list on our site.
Number 10: Best Bartender -- Marcel Templet
"I think I love you," swooned the woman at the bar, her proclamation intended for the bartender who'd just slid a textbook-perfect Manhattan under her nose. Marcel Templet, the veteran who's been behind the booze at Capital Grille for ten years, is an everyman's bartender, an effortlessly affable guy who's mastered the art of greeting every stain of lipstick and every tint of tie by name while simultaneously commiserating with a just-dumped barfly, announcing game scores, juggling four liquor bottles and reciting the backstory of every spirit he pours.
2013 winner: Courtney Wilson
How did Corey Rose ever decide to go into TV news? Her glamorous look makes her seem more like a model, a spokeswoman, or one of those actresses who always seem to travel with their own personal wind machine.
2013 winner: Anastasiya Bolton
Number 8: Best Bronco -- Peyton Manning
We know, we know: Praising Peyton Manning after the team's most recent Super Bowl humiliation feels wrong somehow. But remember the season that preceded that blowout. Not only did Number 18 set a whole slew of Broncos records, but he shattered marks for touchdown passes and yardage through the air for the league as a whole en route to his unprecedented fifth Most Valuable Player award.
Read on for more of the ten toughest Best of Denver categories to win -- and who took them home in 2014. 2013 winner: Von Miller
Number 7: Best Jukebox -- Skylark Lounge
It makes sense that the jukebox at the Skylark Lounge has plenty of rockabilly and classic country on it, with tunes from the likes of Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins and Patsy Cline; after all, that sound complements the overall vibe of the retro-centric bar, which is lined with vintage movie posters. What might be a better-kept secret, though, is that the Skylark's juke is also one of the most eclectic in town...
2013 winner: Lion's Lair
One of the busiest reporters on the local scene, Justin Joseph keeps most of his hair close-cropped -- so it doesn't start going wild when he's doing a live shot in gale-force winds, for instance. But lest you think he's too square, he rocks a cheeky peak up top to let you know he's hip, he's happening, and he isn't afraid to have a little fun when the subject strays from death and destruction.
2013 winner: Don Champion
Number 5: Best Free Entertainment -- The Narrators
Over the last few years, the duo's knack for curating stories has gotten better and better, and the monthly series is settling comfortably into new, beer-friendly digs at Deer Pile. At 8 p.m. every third Thursday of the month, Narrators regulars and newbies alike take the stage to riff on a changing theme; the result is magical, profound and believably unbelievable.
2013 winner: The Mercury Cafe
Number 4: Best chef -- Darrel Truett
Despite his low profile, Truett is the high priest of high standards, turning out powerhouse, passionately composed and impeccably prepared dishes, offered à la carte and on an inventive chef's tasting menu ($85). He treats the fastidiously sourced ingredients with the same appreciative respect he does his kitchen staff, and it shows.
2013 winner: Lon Symensma
Read on for more of the ten toughest Best of Denver categories to win -- and who took them home in 2014. Number 3: Best club night -- Mile High Soul Club
A monthly club night that's been going strong for close to five years, Mile High Soul Club is the place where Northern Soul and Motown fanatics can share the dance floor with folks just looking to get down to the throwback sound. DJs Dogboy, Tyler Jacobson and Steve Cervantes rotate on the ones and twos, curating sets of well-known favorites by Aretha Franklin and the Five Du-Tones and more obscure tracks by the likes of the Showstoppers and Rita & the Tiaras.
2013 winner: Mile High Soul Club
Number 2: Best house margarita -- Adelita's
Made with Agavales tequila, fresh lime juice and a lot of care by the friendly bartenders, these margs are a real bargain at just $5. And on Margarita Mondays the bargain is twice as good, since the house margs are two for one all night.
2013 winner: Hacienda Colorado
Number 1: Best Hamburger -- Humboldt
Made with grass-fed Colorado beef, the patty is studded with bacon so that you get bacon in every bite, a good alternative to those messy bacon strips that slide around and slip out of a bun. Topped with Tillamook cheddar and onion jam, and sandwiched between puffs of buttery brioche, the burger is smoky, sweet and satisfying, making it a great non-fishy choice at this seafood-savvy restaurant.
2013 winner: Highland Tap & Burger
More from our Best of Denver archive: "Photos: Ten best parks for doing just about anything in Denver and beyond."
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