Best places for a drink (or three) at DIA

It's the holiday season, that magical time of year when we endure a couple of hours of airport torture in order to enjoy days of family torture.

In honor of that, we're serving up tips on how to eat and drink well at DIA, starting with great places for an airport breakfast and good grab-and-go spotson each concourse.

Now for the most important list of all: the best bars at DIA. Here's where you can find us getting smashed before -- or after -- a flight.

Best spot for a beer: Colorado's microbrews have flooded the airport, which means DIA now has several good spots to grab a beer. For a beer and a game, head to Rock Bottom Brewery on Concourse C, where you'll find a selection of the brewery's locally brewed ales on tap and plenty of TV sporting events. On Concourse A's mezzanine level, Mesa Verde Grill's list features everything from Great Divide to O'Dell's to Breckenridge Brewery. And if you're an East Coaster looking for a final fix of Fat Tire before returning to your New Belgium-less homeland, you'll find it at the breezy New Belgium hub in the gates B80-B95 section of Concourse B.

Best place for a glass of wine or a cocktail: Though we didn't mind sucking down a glass of cabernet at the Chop House on Concourse A, we were pretty excited when Lounge 5280 recently opened on the mezzanine level of Concourse B. The sleek, upscale wine bar pours a selection of reds and whites in addition to cocktails and local brews. And if your trip to Italy has thrown off your internal alcohol clock, the place opens at 8 a.m.!

Latest last call: If your flight's taking off in the wee hours -- whether because of delay or you simply chose the red-eye, you'll find that DIA's restaurants close on the early side. So head to Concourse A, where Chef Jimmy's Bistro & Spirits, in the center core, and the Mesa Verde Grill will both pour drinks until 11:30 p.m. -- the latest last call in the airport.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk