The days are heating up in Denver, and as goes the weather, so goes our city's restaurant and bar scene. Here are eight great events (two of them free!) happening around town from Friday, July 12, to Sunday, July 14, plus six more through the rest of the summer.
Friday, July 12
Denver Pizza Company is one of our favorite joints for New York-style slices, and this weekend it's celebrating a decade in business. Through Sunday, July 14, customers ordering online can get any large pizza — including specialty and build-your-own offerings — for just $10 by using code HAPPY10 at checkout. Large pies at both locations (309 West 11th Avenue and 908 Jersey Street) generally run $20 and up, so if you've ever wanted to stock up on ten pizzas and two cases of PBR before drawing the blinds, locking the doors and playing Fortnite for 48 hours straight, now's your chance. Visit the shop's Facebook page for details. Happy birthday to you!
Roald Dahl's colorful cautionary tale about a candy factory has been adapted many times over the years, with varying degrees of menace and success. This month, the Broadway musical Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has landed in Denver, and on Friday, July 12, the Curtis Hotel, 1405 Curtis Street, is setting up a Pure Imagination Lemonade Stand in its lobby from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. There will be lemonade (available for alcoholic adulteration by kids over 21) and piles of Wonka-esque candies and confections (watch out for the gum that tastes like a three-course meal). The show's cast members will be on hand for pictures starting at 2 p.m. The event is free, but donations will be accepted for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, so be prepared to pony up, lest a demented chocolatier find a deliciously unhinged way to punish you.
While the media is running feature stories on pink wine left and right during the summer months, there's actually more to drink during July than rosé — and the same goes for lagers and pale ales. On Friday, July 12, Cook Street School of Culinary Arts, 1937 Market Street, is hosting a Bites & Brews class from 4 to 6 p.m. Get a head start on the weekend by learning how to pair beer with delicious grub in a class that goes way beyond the basics of food and drink pairings ("red wine goes with beef, white wine goes with fish"). For $70, you'll create three to five courses and pair them with brews from 10 Barrel Brewing Co., then head into the weekend with the knowledge to wow your family and friends (especially if all they were expecting was PBR and hot dogs). Sign up on the school's website.
Saturday, July 13
Since at least the seventeenth century, Japan's Takefu Knife Village has been famed for its blacksmiths and the sickles, swords and knives they turn out. On Saturday, July 13, Denver chefs (of both the professional and home variety) can meet metalworkers from the area without having to take a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun. Carbon Knife Co., 3264 Larimer Street, is bringing five blacksmiths to the shop for a free live knife-making demo at 2 p.m. You can show up earlier, though, since doors will open at 10 a.m. for a meet-and-greet and, of course, knife browsing and buying. Find out more (and shop the store's impressive inventory, which boasts blades from an affordable $60 to works of art at $1,500) on Carbon's website.
Poka Lola Social Club's chic soda-shoppe vibe makes it a great place to hang out — and an even better place to get some cocktail-making tips. On Saturday, July 13, the Dairy Block bar at 1850 Wazee Street is kicking off its bimonthly mixology classes with a class on tiki drinks, followed by a September 14 curriculum on how to master mixing for a cocktail party, and a November 9 education on holiday drinks. Classes are $45 for two hours of instruction starting at 2 p.m., which includes at least two cocktails (for educational purposes, of course) and appetizers; you can purchase tuition individually or as a trio for $120 on Eventbrite.
What are the chances of an early-evening thunderstorms rolling through Denver on Saturday, July 13? High, especially this year, and especially if you're headed to Larimer Square for Dining al Fresco, the block's annual celebration of eating under the sky, stars and occasional storms. Ten restaurants and bars on the historic 1400 block of Larimer Street (Bistro Vendôme, Capital Grille, Corridor 44, Cru, Rioja, Green Russell, Ocean Prime, TAG, Osteria Marco and Ted's Montana Grill) will set up tables, lounge chairs and couches on the street for open-air dining and drinking starting at 5 p.m. If you don't have a table already booked, contact the restaurant of your choice directly; and if you can't snag a table this weekend, book one for upcoming dates of August 10 and September 7. And don't forget to bring an umbrella.
What's better than a summer beer festival in Colorado? A summer beer festival with adoptable animals, obviously. The Denver Dumb Friends League Quebec Street Shelter at 2080 South Quebec Street is rolling out the red carpet for its second annual Catwalk fundraiser on Saturday, July 13, from 7 to 9 p.m., where guests will get to sample beers from ten local breweries (including Grist, Copper Kettle and WestFax) while meeting some of DDFL's feline residents who are looking for fur-ever homes (though adoption won't be available during the event itself). Tickets are just $25 on the shelter's website and include a free cocktail; food trucks will also be on hand. Cat people who can't make this event can help kitties in need by taking advantage of fee-free adoption on adult cats through July 13, and generous dog people who just can't wrap their head around cats' excessive independence can always donate directly to the League. Just don't overindulge, or Sunday morning you'll be needing a hair of the dog...er, cat.
Sunday, July 14
America's Independence Day has passed, but if you haven't had your fill of celebrating the military overthrow of a despotic government, you have a few more opportunities to do so on Sunday, July 14, as a handful of Denver bars and breweries are honoring Bastille Day. Le French, 4901 South Newport Street, is setting aside its normal brunch menu in favor of a four-course, prix fixe menu of charcuterie, French onion soup, steak frites or mussels and miniature crepes ($28) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., plus specials on rosé. Find details are on the Le French Facebook page. For something more casual, French-inspired Diebolt Brewing, 3855 Mariposa Street, will have pastries, fromage pairings and the Tour de France streaming starting at noon. And while Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project's French is a little rusty (not understanding the difference between treize and quatorze, the taproom at 925 West 8th Avenue is electing to hold its Bastille Day party on Saturday, July 13), it will have a beer and cheese pairing as well, plus the release of its Herbes de Provence saison with rosemary, garlic, lavender, thyme, basil, sage and tarragon. Doors open at 11 a.m.; see the brewery's Facebook page for more info.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Friday, July 19, through Sunday, July 21
Slow Food Nations appeals to everyone (except, perhaps, unrepentant fast-food aficionados). The international food fest kicks off its third year in town on Friday, July 19, and will run nearly forty chef demos, lectures, workshops, parties and dinners — plus the enormous Taste Marketplace, with over 100 vendors hawking their wares and handing out samples — through Sunday, July 21. About half the events taking place around town (but mainly around Larimer Square at Larimer and 14th streets) are free, but the rest require tickets, which start at $20. Visit the Slow Food Nations website to see the whole weekend's schedule and make sure you nab tickets for your can't-miss events.
Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28
If you're vegan, you won't be limited to salad this weekend — at least if you attend VegFest Colorado, which is putting on its annual two-day affair at Broomfield's 1STBANK Center, 11450 Broomfield Lane, on Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28. Almost 150 food, home and clothing vendors will be there, as well as lectures by authors, medical doctors, chefs and even an appearance by Patrik Baboumian, who held the title of "Strongest Man in Germany" in 2011, the same year he went vegan (so not the guy you want to be around when you wear your "Meat is murder — tasty, tasty murder" T-shirt). The expo runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, and tickets are available on the VegFest website for $10, or for $12 at the door.
Sunday, August 11
If you missed June's Heritage Fire event in Snowmass, you've got a mulligan, because on Sunday, August 11, the organizer, Cochon555, is hosting an encore presentation at Stem Ciders' Acreage, 1380 Horizon Drive in Lafayette. Whether it was the timing of the event or the your inability to get mountain lodging during Aspen Food & Wine that derailed your desire to feast on whole beasts roasted over open flame, you've got a second chance to enjoy expansive views and delicious food, wine and craft beer from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets ($150 to $200) are on sale now on Cochon's website, where the participating chefs should be posted soon. What we're hoping to see (in addition to the smoke that definitely signals fire)? Some of Colorado's skillful female chefs rounding out the all-male lineup that was our only complaint about the June event.
Saturday, August 17
Tacolandia returns to Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, for a fourth year on Saturday, August 17, from 4 to 7 p.m., celebrating food, art, music and culture. Join us in honoring that great Mexican invention, the taco, in its many forms as presented by the city's top cantinas, taquerias and food trucks, including Adelitas Cocina y Cantina, Antojitos La Poblanita, Carniceria Aaliyah, El Gallo Blanco, Issai's Catering, Kachina Cantina, La Fiesta, Los Chingones, Lucha Cantina, Mariscos El Rey 2, Los Mesones, Neveria Jedany's, Taco Block, Torta Grill, Yareth's, El Coco Pirata and more. Tickets, $25 for general admission or $55 for VIP, are now on sale at westwordtacolandia.com.
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Sunday, August 25
Over 200 restaurants opened in Denver last year — and it seems all of them started serving brunch within a few months of opening their doors. For brunchophiles trying to work their way through all the restaurants in town serving the meal, that's a tall order. But on Sunday, August 25, you can make a significant dent in your to-brunch list at BrunchFest 2019. The McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, is the site of the boozy shenanigans, with over twenty restaurants serving brunch dishes, plus unlimited Bloodys and mimosas, from noon to 3 p.m. Tickets run $59 to $109, and you can pick them up, as well as see participating restaurants, on the event website.
Tuesday, August 27, and Wednesday, August 28
Den Corner knows how to throw a party, and its annual rooftop party and fundraiser only gets better with age. What started out in 2016 with a handful of chefs flown in from Japan has morphed into even more festivities, with twenty Japanese chefs hopping the pond to raise funds for Colorado's We Don't Waste and southern Japan's Kumamoto Castle Earthquake Relief Fund. This year, local chefs Carrie Baird, Ian Wortham, Caroline Glover, Dana Rodriguez, Elise Wiggins, Alex Seidel, Paul Reilly, Alon Shaya and more will join the shindig on August 27 and 28; beer, wine, cocktails and sake will be flowing, while ramen, hand rolls and Japanese street food will be plentiful. Tickets for the party, which runs from 7 to 10 p.m. both nights on the roof of the Den Corner parking garage at East Florida Avenue and Pearl Street, are $90 (includes three drink tickets), $110 (includes five drink tickets), or $135 (VIP early admission at 5 p.m., plus five drink tickets), and can be purchased on Sushi Den's website, along with a complete list of participating chefs and menu details. As with everything manned by Toshi and Yasu Kizaki, the party generally sells out, so don't delay in guaranteeing your entry.
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