Baseball is back at Coors Field, and with it comes crowds of purple-wearing fans — sort of. This year, the ballpark will be less that half full on Opening Day, so the number of people descending on downtown will be greatly decreased. Still, compared to the ghost town of the past year, an additional 20,000 or so revelers will be quite a boon to businesses — as long as everyone can remember the basic health and safety rules, because we're still in a pandemic.
If you're coming into town via light rail, make Union Station your first stop; you can down a frozen purple cocktail (made just for the occasion) at the Terminal Bar, or enjoy a special tapping there from Ratio Beerworks. Seatings begin at 11 a.m., so you can catch up on scores from games around the country before taking in the live action at Coors Field.
Then, if you can tear yourself away from Union Station's many other eateries and watering holes, take a stroll to something a little closer to the action. Seating around town is still limited to 50 percent, but the weather's expected to cooperate, so patios will be full at the Ballpark neighborhood's many bars and restaurants. Here are ten places to consider when you're making your April 1 plans:
Aloy Modern Thai
Aloy is a great choice for a pre-game meal.
2134 Larimer Street
Spice up opening day with bright and fresh Thai flavors. Start with satay, duck wontons or Bangkok shrimp before exploring a menu of noodles, soups, curries and stir-fries. If the dining room is full, grab your order to go and make a beeline for a nearby brewery.
Blake Street Tavern
2301 Blake Street
The Blake Street Tavern is the Ballpark neighborhood's quintessential sports bar, with plenty of room inside and out for those looking for good deals on beer, burgers and other bar bites. With so many TVs and space to spread out, you may decide to skip the live action entirely and watch the Rockies here.
Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs
Biker Jim's is back in the Ballpark neighborhood.
2148 Larimer Street
This world-famous wiener joint has been hibernating since last November, but Biker Jim and his dog-slinging crew are back — and with a refresh that includes new murals and decor. The draw is the wild game links — whether ostrich, boar, rattlesnake or bison — but you'll also find classics like red hots, German veal brats and and an all-beef frank wrapped in bacon. Choose from eight different topping combos, including the house special: caramelized onions and cream cheese. Skip the overpriced Coors Field hot dog in favor of a Denver classic.
The Cherry Cricket
Load up your Cherry Cricket cheeseburger with selections from the toppings wheel of fortune.
Courtesy The Cherry Cricket
2220 Blake Street
In case you've been holed up for so long you've forgotten about all the eats on Blake Street, we're here to remind you that the Cherry Cricket isn't just a Cherry Creek favorite; you can get the bar's famous burgers and green chile downtown, too. Spin the wheel to pick your burger toppings and grab yourself a brew; the Cricket always has Denver's best on tap.
The Denver Milk Market
1800 Wazee Street
Why limit yourself to one kind of food when you can choose from a dozen or so counters serving pizza, fried chicken, seafood, pasta, salads and sandwiches, to name just a few? You'll also find cocktail, wine and beer bars, and plenty of seating indoors and out.
Falling Rock Tap House
Falling Rock's tap handles are always impressive.
Falling Rock Taphouse
1919 Blake Street
Denver's original beer bar is normally packed to the rafters for the Rockies home opener, but you'll have to respect the rules and keep your distance from the bar — as impressive as the rare and unusual beer handles are. Choose from local brews, hard-to-find American craft ales and specialties from Belgium, Germany and the U.K. But if you want Coors or Bud on tap, you'll have to wait until you get to the game.
Marco's Coal Fired
2129 Larimer Street
The pizzas at Marco's top even Italy's finest, and they're cooked hot and fast so you can get in and out quickly for game-day fun. Also not to be missed are the limoncello chicken wings (baked in the same oven as the pizzas) and a surprising lasagna, all of which can be enjoyed on the secluded back patio with its Italian-village murals.
Mexico City Restaurant & Lounge
Before you go to the game, enjoy a Den-Mex classic at Mexico City Lounge.
2115 Larimer Street
Mexico City was holding down the neighborhood long before names like Ballpark, RiNo and LoDo arose, and its fried tacos are a Den-Mex classic, oozing with cheese and bulging with steak or chicken. Other old-school favorites can be found here, too, such as Mexican hamburgers and smothered burritos. Breakfast plates are available too, if your game day starts a little early.
1600 20th Street
One of the neighborhood's newest restaurants is now serving inside the Rally Hotel, giving you a chance to check out the equally new McGregor Square just across the street from Coors Field. We haven't eaten our way through the menu yet, but there are plenty of tempting options, including everything-bagel deviled eggs, stroganoff poutine and a raclette grilled cheese BLT.
2262 Larimer Street
Sure, Snooze has spread like syrup on pancakes in metro Denver (and far beyond), but this is the original that started it all back in the mid-2000s, so it's still a great spot to grab your Benedicts, breakfast tacos, omelets and Bloody Marys before the game.