As Denver's businesses reopen their doors, restaurants, breweries and bars are ever-so-slowly ramping up real-life events again — albeit with far fewer seats available to diners desperate to get out of the house. And there are still plenty of great takeout and virtual events; here are our picks for this weekend and beyond, with even more online happenings every day of the week.
Friday, June 12
If you're looking to indulge in a fancy, French-y feast but don't want to spend several hours slaving over a stovetop — or you just don't have the emotional fortitude to deal with the firsthand knowledge of exactly how much butter goes into French cooking — visit French 75's website to order its virtual wine dinner for Friday, June 12. Expect four courses paired with three wines: escargot in a garlic and caramelized-onion puff-pastry tart served with chardonnay; cured salmon salad with balsamic vinaigrette, castelvetrano olives and feta with sauvignon blanc; duck two ways — confit leg and roasted breast — with raspberry jus and pinot noir; and chocolate chiffon cake with hazelnut chantilly cream. Dinner for two and drink pairings will run you $155; pick up your order at 717 17th Street between 1:45 and 4:45 p.m. before tuning in to Zoom with your fellow diners at 6 p.m. Find details and the full menu on the bistro's Facebook page.
Saturday, June 13
While it took a bit longer than in prior years, Union Station's plaza, 1701 Wynkoop Street, is finally host to the Union Station Farmers' Market, which launches at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 13. Like its Boulder sibling, the market looks very different than in years past, when you could stroll leisurely through the vendors, sampling bites, sipping your latte and stopping to chat with farmers and French bulldogs. This year, you must reserve your shopping window (among other changes) — slots are available every ten minutes from 9 a.m. to 1:40 p.m. on Eventbrite — and because market occupancy is maxed out at 24 shoppers, you're encouraged to keep your visits short and efficient. To that end, you can pre-order produce on the Boulder County Farmers' Market website, where you'll also find a complete list of market rules.
Morin, 1600 15th Avenue, is forgoing its French(ish) cuisine for fried chicken on Saturday, June 13, with its Buckets & Bubbs pop-up. Order a bucket of crunchy, juicy, spicy fried bird starting at $15 along with sides (macaroni salad studded with crispy pork jowl; watermelon, ricotta, jalapeños and mint dressed in yuzu vinaigrette; and brioche biscuits, among others) and housemade blueberry or banana cream pie, all for for pick-up between 4 and 8 p.m. You'll also be able to tote home bottles of champagne (both the capital-C kind and lowercase-c varieties) and cans of Miller Lite for your carbonated needs. Order on Tock no later than Friday, June 12, to ensure your Saturday dinner plans don't involve standing over a pot of boiling oil.
Sunday, June 14
Denver chef/restaurateur Dana Rodriguez invites you to gather around her home dinner table — virtually, of course — on Sunday, June 14, for a cooking class in which she re-creates some of the bold Latin flavors she's known for at Super Mega Bien. The online demo begins at 5 p.m., and for $30, you'll get recipes that serve two and a demo of how to make beet salad with lemon crema and pepitas, carne asada with zippy chimichurri, and silky butterscotch pudding with Butterfinger crunch, plus the chance to ask the always-entertaining chef any questions (we expect her to answer them with her trademark irreverence, swearing and good humor). Sign up for the class on the Chefstreams website, where you can find additional classes from chefs around the country. The business is donating all of its profits for the month of June to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Black Lives Matter and National Bail Out.
Thursday, June 18
One of the many casualties of COVID-19 is the summer festival season. And while that pales in comparison to the loss of lives and jobs and the damage to our collective consciousness, it is a visceral reminder that things won't go back to normal for many, many months. Denver Pride decided early on to move its celebrations online, and while the joyous parade and much of the in-person partying won't take place in 2020, the Lobby, 2191 Arapahoe Street, is hosting four live drag shows — two per night, at 6 and 8:30 p.m. — on Thursday, June 18, and Friday, June 19. For $60 per person, you'll get two drinks, an app and an entree from the Lobby's menu, plus entertainment from local queens and burlesque dancers; $5 from each ticket purchase will be donated to the Transformative Freedom Fund (which helps trans people afford transition-related health care) or the Black Visions Collective (a community development organization for black Minnesotans). Just fifty seats are available for each show, so run as fast as you can in your highest heels to the Lobby's Facebook page for more info and tickets.
Friday, June 19
In Denver, it's not officially summer for another 24 hours, but in Peru, the capital of Cuzco is celebrating the Festival of the Sun, a tribute to the return of the sun god Inti on the winter solstice. Pre-Columbian brewery Dos Luces Brewery, 1236 South Broadway, is kicking off its celebration of the momentous event (which, happily, coincides with the ability of Denverites to finally, finally, leave our damn houses) on Friday, June 19. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., chef Andrea Murdoch (Four Directions Cuisine) will serve three courses inspired by indigenous food — Inka trail mix with Denver's own Cultura Craft Chocolate, bison arepas with avocado and elderberry, and frozen custard with blue corn sugar cookies — all paired with Dos Luces chicha and pulque, including a preview of its newest imperial chicha, Tupac Amaru III, made with mango and chiles de arbol. The entire feast runs $50 per person. On Saturday, June 20, guests have two more opportunities to try the brand-new brew: at a 2 p.m. vertical tasting of four varieties (bourbon and barrel-aged, sour cherry and mango-chile, $20) and at 5:30 p.m., when you can guarantee a seat inside the brewery, taster of the Tupac and a plate of bites from Four Directions Cuisine, all for $15. Get tickets — which are in extremely short supply because of limited seating inside the brewery — now on the Dos Luces virtual storefront.
Monday, June 22
On Monday, June 22, the Bindery's kitchen at 1817 Central Street is being taken over by SoulNia, a Denver catering company that crafts soul food with all the love you might expect, but none of the meat. Starting at 6 p.m., SoulNia will be serving a four-course vegetarian menu that includes zucchini fritters with savory dill, shallot and cumin crème fraîche atop salad, pepitas and garlic dressing; homemade cornbread with slow-braised collard greens and vegan mac and cheese; and sweet potato casserole with pecan crumble and ginger, honey and cardamom whipped topping. Drink pairings are included in the $79 price (which includes tax and tip). In addition, 20 percent of ticket sales will be split between donations to the Center on Colfax (an LGBTQ+ community center) and Black Lives Matter 5280 — and the Bindery will match those donations. Call the restaurant at 303-993-2364 to reserve a table or to order the feast for takeout.
Keep reading for ongoing online events every day of the week...
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Need a mid-day pick-me-up? Colorado Springs-based Distillery 291 is keeping the bar fires burning by posting short Facebook Live videos daily at 2 p.m. (and often at 5 p.m., as well). Tune in to see staff taking shotskis (appropriately socially distanced, with just one person on each end of the ski), mixing cocktails, bantering and sanitizing everything in sight. Anyone — even those who don't live south of the Denver County line — can benefit from daily cocktail recipes and a quick time-out between Zoom meetings. Distillery 291 just took home double gold for its High Rye Colorado Bourbon at the recent San Francisco World Spirits Competition, so you can order a bottle for your home bar and virtual-toast along with the 291 team.
Colorado Sake Co. is sending home sushi and sake kits to customers every night of the week for sushi-rolling classes; the packages include enough seafood, rice, nori and veggies to make six rolls (two each of three different styles), plus a rolling mat, chopsticks, wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger. Oh, and the most important part — two 350-milliliter bottles of sake: the American Standard (a junmai ginjo, if you're into details) and one flavored version, such as raspberry-lavender. The kits ring in at $80 and are built for two, and you can add more bottles of sake for $10 each. Sign up for the classes on the Colorado Sake Co. Facebook page; they're offered daily at 6:30 p.m., with a second session at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. And more good news from the sake house: Denver Sushi House's menu is now available to eat in the taproom Wednesday through Sunday.
Knowing when to log out of your email is tough when you're working from home — and it's even harder turning off your work brain when your work space is the same as your sleeping, eating, cooking, TV-watching, hand-washing and gritting-your-teeth-and-trying-not-to-bite-your-roommate's-head-off space. But every day from 7:15 to 7:30 p.m., the folks at Burns Family Artisan Ales are hosting Socially Distanced Drinking with Wayne and Laura on Facebook Live. Tune in and chat in the comments with like-minded beer aficionados about what you're drinking and what it pairs with.
The Denver Central Market, 2669 Larimer Street, has shifted operations to function as a grocery store — and that makes it one of the few markets where you can get your pantry essentials and your hard liquor in the same spot. Curio, the in-house bar, won't mix up a cocktail to sip while you shop, but you can order cocktail kits and bottles of booze for pick-up Tuesday through Friday (2 to 6 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) For the most part, the cocktail kits don't include booze, but instead are substantial baskets of fruit, mixers, garnishes, syrups, bitters and ice that make from eight to ten drinks; prices range from $25 to $50. And while you can splurge on a bottle of booze — there are several $300 options for sale on Curio's website — you can get a liter of most house spirits for $25 or $30. You can even get fancy ice cubes, which will run you $4 for four, if for some reason you lack access to water and a freezer. Once you have your goodies in hand, start shaking with the help of the bar's Cocktail Sessions, free videos in which bartenders from Curio, Brass Tacks and Roger's Liquid Oasis walk you through the steps to creating perfect quarantine quaffs.
Stem Ciders isn't letting a little thing like a global health crisis put a crimp in its long-running tradition of Tuesday pairings. The cidery continues to offer four cans of cider accompanied by four food items (upcoming: cupcakes and sushi) picked by bakers, chefs and producers for pick-up between 3 and 7 p.m. from the Stem taproom at 2811 Walnut Street. Unlike in pre-pandemic times, you can reserve your plate (costs vary, but hover in the $25 range) in advance on Eventbrite (recommended) through noon on the prior Monday, but there will be a limited supply of pairings for sale on a first-come, first-served basis on Tuesday. Take a look at Stem's Facebook page for details on the week's selections.
The City of Aurora is doing its part to make sure kitchens are stocked with a weekly Wednesday mobile food pantry that will run through August 26. Aurora residents can show up at locations around the city starting at 10 a.m. to receive a box of free groceries that can be used to make up to nine meals. The city's goal is to distribute 1,000 boxes per week; the first week of the pantry's operation, supplies were exhausted within an hour, so eligible families (all Aurora households with proof of residency) should plan to be punctual. Emergency food supplies for homeless citizens as well as pet food and supplies will also be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Distribution locations change every week; visit the City of Aurora website for future locations and complete details.
The folks at Flying Pig Burger Co. (5935 South Zang Street in Littleton and 5777 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada) and Westrail Tap & Grill (195 South Union Street in Lakewood) are showing their appreciation for first responders through Sunday, June 28, by giving away a free cheeseburger and fries to firefighters, nurses, doctors and EMTs (in addition to police officers, who could probably use some good PR more than a free burger right now) from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Show up with your ID, and remember to show your appreciation for their appreciation by tipping well. See each restaurant's Facebook page for details.
While the safer-at-home rules are a little more relaxed than they were a month ago, the Colorado Wine Facebook page is still celebrating a weekly virtual happy half-hour beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Facebook Live. Winemakers from across the state join the stream each week and chat about tasting tips, the winemaking process and viewer questions. Visit Colorado Wine's website to connect with wineries close to you and find out how you can purchase their wares to drink during happy hour (or — let's be honest — any hour of the day).
Starting Wednesday, June 3, Denver-based Good Food 100 Restaurants, an industry survey that strives to document business and purchasing practices in the hospitality field, is launching Save Good Food, a series of weekly virtual dinner-table discussions about food and the supply chain. At 6 p.m., tune in to hear local and national fine-dining restaurateurs, farmers and distributors discuss the realities and future of finding good food. The first episode ("Save Good Meat") includes chefs Paul C. Reilly (Beast + Bottle, Coperta) and Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill), hog and poultry farmer Greg Gunthorp, Chris Oliviero from Niman Ranch and market owner Pete Marczyk. Future installments — the series runs through June 30 — feature Denver chefs Alex Seidel, Jen Jasinski, Kelly Whitaker and Caroline Glover; visit the organization's website.
The Source Market's hip liquor store, the Proper Pour, at 3350 Brighton Boulevard, is teaming up with members of the funk band Lettuce (who also happen to have a natural-wine distribution company, Benny & Zoid Selections) to ease you through Hump Day with its wine and music pairing, Tasting Notes. Purchase a pair of wines on the Proper Pour's website (this week's selections include a riesling and a zinfandel from California's Stirm Wine Co.), then check back or visit Benny & Zoid's Instagram page on Wednesday morning to get the link to the Zoom meeting. Join the crew at 7 p.m. for tasting notes on the booze followed by a jam session. The liquor store delivers within Denver city limits; otherwise, you'll need to arrange for curbside pick-up. Find out more on the Proper Pour's Facebook page (after all that careering around the web, you'll definitely have earned a drink).
Popular pop-up shopping destination Denver Bazaar has had to rethink its business model — after all, tipsy shopping and close talking in a bustling market space aren't exactly copacetic these days. So the bazaar has teamed up with local producers and restaurants to shift operations online while giving consumers the same access to local food, drink and handmade items. Visit Denver Bazaar's website to order farmers' market items, cocktails and family meals, then schedule your pick-up location and time. Current locations are Highland Tap & Burger (2219 West 32nd Avenue) on Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m.; Sloan's Lake Tap & Burger (1565 North Raleigh Street) Fridays from 2 to 7 p.m.; Mister Oso (3163 Larimer Street) Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m.; and Belleview Station Tap & Burger (4910 South Newport Street) Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The market is looking to add more items and locations, so stay tuned to its website; also note that orders must be placed no later than 6 p.m. on Tuesday for the current week, or Thursday for the weekend.
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts had recently moved into new digs at 43 West Ninth Avenue when COVID-19 shuttered the dining rooms of restaurants and bars across the state. The cooking school is reopening to live classes (with restrictions), but it's still offering a slate of online classes on Thursday and Friday nights at 6 p.m. that have been selling out. Previous editions include Indian and Thai cuisine, pizza for the family and date night with Italian food; tuition runs around $45 per person and includes ingredients for one, recipes and a Zoom live stream. Sign up on Cook Street's website, where you can also see specifics on time, pricing and menus.
The Boulder-based Cocktail Squad, purveyor of canned cocktails and 1989-era Taylor Swift catchphrases, has launched a series of music sets from local musicians on its YouTube channel. Every Thursday you can watch new performances from artists like Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon, Andrew McConathy of the Drunken Hearts and more. Presumably, not every musician making an appearance will be a bearded white dude named after one of the Twelve Apostles, but you'll have to tune in to find out — and even if they are, it'll go down easier with one of the Squad's cocktails in hand; visit its website to find out where you can order them for delivery. In lieu of tips, the beverage producer is requesting that you donate to nonprofit organizations Feed the Frontlines Boulder, United States Bartenders' Guild National Charity Foundation and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Relief Fund.
Denver Beer Co. is hosting a virtual happy hour and tasting every Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. on Facebook Live and its YouTube channel; the taproom's head brewer and owners will discuss select brews each week, which will be posted on DBC's Facebook page in advance so you can drink along if you'd like.
Proof Wine & Spirits, 3360 Larimer Street, is moving its weekly in-store wine tastings into the virtual Wild West (aka Instagram). Each Tuesday, the shop will announce two wines that it will uncork; you can order the bottles on Proof's website and pick them up at the store. Then on Friday at 6 p.m., join store manager and sommelier Jessica Barrand on Instagram Live as she tastes and takes notes on the wine. We'll raise a glass to that.
Curtis Park residents have an easy way to decide where to order Friday night takeout: Curtis Park Neighbors has recently formed the Curtis Park Meal Train. Each week, nearby denizens can order a meal for two for $35 (plus two drinks for just $5 more if the selected restaurant has a liquor license!) no later than Thursday for Friday night delivery straight to your doorstep — if you live within five miles of the participating restaurants. Past participants include Dio Mio Handmade Pasta, Hop Alley and Lou's Italian Specialties. Stay tuned for upcoming collabs and order on the Meal Train website.
Beast + Bottle, 719 East 17th Avenue, is turning the sidewalk in front of its Uptown restaurant into a drive-by farmers' market on Saturdays. Since many of the region's markets are closed to in-person browsing, Beast + Bottle has teamed up with Longmont's Ollin Farms to offer produce boxes for pick-up every Saturday. Order and pay online between 11 a.m. Tuesday and 5 p.m. Thursday; different veggies are available every week (previous boxes have included rhubarb, radishes, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, mixed and mustard greens for $30), and you can add on items like fresh asparagus, microgreens, local honey, hot sauce, pickles and peanut butter. Then pull up to the loading zone outside the restaurant on Saturday between 10 a.m. and noon (you must wear a face mask) for contact-free pick-up. Details are up on Beast + Bottle's Instagram page.
Long I Pie owner Shauna Lott Harman has been peddling pies for years, but has had to hit pause because of the current pandemic. Despite the shutdown, Harman still makes sure her love of baking gets shared with anyone who wishes to bask in it. Each Sunday from 1 to 2 p.m., Harman is hosting a free virtual baking class on Zoom, where's she's turned out carrot whoopie pies, homemade Oreos, biscuits, cornbread and more; upcoming classes will include soft pretzels, pizza dough and cookies. To sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org or message Long I Pie's Facebook page and you'll receive a link to the class.
Boulder denizens seeking high-end dining have long relied on Frasca Food and Wine, 1738 Pearl Street, to scratch that itch. That's finally possible again with Frasca recently reopening its dining room, but you can still get the white-tablecloth experience at home. Every Sunday, the restaurant is offering Frasca at Home kits, with enough ingredients to create an entree for two people (don't worry, you'll get detailed instructions and a video tutorial), plus appetizers, dessert and a bottle of wine. Previous kits have included paella, fresh pasta with Bolognese, and roast chicken seasoned with fennel pollen (all with accompanying sides, breads and wines). Orders must be placed on Tock no later than 5 p.m. Saturday for pick-up on Sundays. Want to order but live in Denver? No worries: Order on Tavernetta's Tock page and collect your goods at its Denver dining room, 1889 16th Street.
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