Restaurants are slowly getting back to business — and the possibility of 100 percent seating capacity — with the lifting of restrictions this past weekend. You can catch a movie in Larimer Square or dive into a tiki drink on South Broadway; you can also avail yourself of gyoza, green chile and good times in Golden this week.
After you've chewed over all the possibilities during the next few days, get out your calendar and begin blocking out dates for all the upcoming events you won't want to miss this summer.
Monday, May 17
Head to Golden for bargain drinking and dining this week. May is Golden's Restaurant Appreciation Month, and for the next two weeks, you can get free swag just for spending your coin at the city's restaurants. Bring a restaurant receipt for at least $10 and dated in May 2021 to the Golden Visitors Center, 1010 Washington Avenue, to redeem it for commemorative glassware, the Golden Ticket and other deals. You'll get one-stop shopping at food halls Golden Mill (1012 Ford Street) and Tributary (701 12th Street), as well as all the other eateries around town. Find out more at Visit Golden.
Dinner at Bistro Vendôme, the Best French Restaurant in the Best of Denver 2021, is that much better when you can get dinner and a movie during the Monday night film series. Head to Larimer Square at 6 p.m. on May 17, when you can enjoy The Joy Luck Club as well as a five-course, prix fixe menu for $55. There's an at-home option, too; find out more here.
Tuesday, May 18
You've paired everything you can think of with wine and whiskey, and you're well on your way to covering your bases with cider and seltzer. Time to add sake to your paired tasting repertoire. On May 18, Colorado Sake Co., 3559 Larimer Street, is offering sake and bonbon pairings from 4 to 9 p.m. Pre-order your tasting on Eventbrite, and for $20 you'll get four pours of sake and four photogenic chocolates from Colorado Cocoa Pod. Sake flavors haven't yet been announced, but the brewery regularly turns out creative flavors like Green Machine (with cilantro and ginger — our fave!), lychee, lavender and horchata.
While it hasn't exactly been patio weather lately, Adrift Tiki Bar & Restaurant is looking forward to sunnier times ahead and bringing the beach back to South Broadway, with a new summer menu debuting May 18. “We want our guests to be fully immersed in our vibrant space and transported to another world,” says Adrift owner Loren Martinez. “Whether it’s through the tropics or wandering through street food corners, every bite and sip at Adrift should feel like a vacation that takes you on a culinary adventure.” Just a sip of the Dirty Dan is quite an adventure: The dark piña colada is twisted with the addition of Mezcal, grapefruit, housemade Mole syrup and Fernet. Or try a Flamingo Lingo, which features pineapple, Paranubes Rum, watermelon juice, guava, rhubarb, coconut and Aquavit. Adrift is open from 5 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Wednesday, May 19
If your brain turned to mush during 2020 and has yet to recover its pre-pandemic acuity, Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse, 3636 Chestnut Place, has the summer film series for you: Sandler Summer. Starting Wednesday, May 19, the tasting room will show the high points of Adam Sandler's oeuvre every other Wednesday, with seating beginning outside at 7:30 p.m. and screenings at dusk. The first installment is Billy Madison; subsequent movies include Happy Gilmore, 50 First Dates and The Wedding Singer. (Props to the distillery, which decided to leave the comedian's more cringe-worthy efforts — like I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and The Ridiculous 6 — on the cutting-room floor.) Tickets are just $5 and available on Eventbrite.
Thursday, May 20
Izakayas are more familiar to Denver residents than they were a few years ago — but even if you can navigate menus of Japanese drinking food with ease, you may not be as comfortable turning out karaage, pork gyoza with dipping sauce, garlic and ginger beef yakatori or udon noodles with bok choy and shiitakes in your own kitchen. Centennial's Uncorked Kitchen, 8171 South Chester Street, is here to help with its Japanese Pub Food class on Thursday, May 20. The lesson runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and is designed for couples, so grab your best drinking buddy and learn to make all of the above — plus green tea ice cream! — for $275 for two (that price includes a bottle of wine). Register on Uncorked's website.
Friday, May 21
Still setting out bags of Tostitos and grocery-store tubs of salsa when your friends come over? Get it together, friend. You're an adult, and it's time to start entertaining like one. If you have no concept of how to step it up (other than transferring the chips and salsa to bowls), consider the Seasoned Chef's cocktail party cooking class for two on Friday, May 21. The school at 999 Jasmine Street will equip you with grown-up recipes that you can make ahead of time, so you'll spend more time hanging out with your house guests than hovering over your cooktop. The six-course menu includes green chile crab cakes with chipotle aioli and lemon cubes, cucumber avocado gazpacho shooters with grilled-lime cream, and steak skewers with ancho steak sauce. Sign up for the 6:30 p.m. class, $180 per pair, on the Seasoned Chef's website.
Keep reading for future food and drink happenings.
Saturday, May 22
The love affair with adding bacon to everything seems awfully 2012, but this year's Bacon and Beer Classic will bring back a welcome taste of pre-pandemic times. Guests will be ushered along a path at Kennedy Golf Course, 10500 East Hampden Avenue, where they'll pause at stations to throw back beer, cider and pork products. This year's Classic also touts full-sized, bacon-based dishes instead of sample sizes. Purchase tickets ($79 or $59) on Eventbrite, where — like any bacon-munching, beer-swilling golfer — you'll need to pick your "b" time (11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) to start your beer and bacon death march. Visit the event website for details.
If the only things you know about Ukraine are its figure skaters and land wars, you're missing out. On Saturday, May 22, find out exactly what you're missing at a Ukrainian cooking class. From 2 to 6 p.m., you'll make borscht (beet soup); potato, cabbage and mushroom varenyky (similar to pierogi); banush (a cornmeal dish traditionally topped with bacon, cheese and mushrooms); and syrnik (a cross between a cheese souffle, pancake and cheesecake). The class will run you $45, which also includes wine, and is being held at the Retreat at Solterra, 15250 West Evans Avenue in Lakewood; visit Facebook for details, then purchase your ticket here.
Sunday, May 23
Sip sweetly on Sunday, May 23, at the launch of the Family Jones's limited-edition honey liqueur, Nectar Jones. The beverage was created with the help of artist Kristen Hatgi Sink, whose 2018 MCA exhibit, Honey, included photographs and videos of honey being dripped over people and objects, as well as a memorable in-person installment of a leotard-clad woman writhing about in a tank of the sticky substance. That honey was ultimately used to make Nectar Jones (germophobes, no word on whether the full-body honey was utilized in distillation). The event takes place at Grow & Gather, 900 East Hampden Avenue in Englewood, from 4 to 7 p.m., and your $80 ticket includes a full-sized bottle of Nectar Jones, small bites, cocktails, bee education and a silent auction. Buy tickets now on the Family Jones website.
Sunday, May 30
If your idea of brunch is less "I need some hair of the dog" and more "I've been partying since Friday night — why stop now?," Munchies and Mimosas is the event for you. After over a year on hiatus, the party is returning to the Hangar at Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora, for a brunch event with bottomless bubbly and a banger vibe. For $40, from noon to 6 p.m. you'll get a brunch spread, all the mimosas you can drink and over a hundred people dancing to tunes from DJs KScott, Simone Says and KDJ Above. Visit the Munchies and Mimosas Instagram for details, then snag tickets on Eventnoire.
For a weekend celebration that will be just as messy as a bottomless mimosa brunch (but in a very different way), go west — to the VFW Post 4171 at 15725 West Tenth Avenue in Golden. Chef Jeff Stoneking (formerly of ChoLon and LeRoux) is putting on a seafood boil from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 30. The main attraction is the aquatic spread — mussels, clams, shrimp, oysters, crawfish, crab cakes — but there will also be burgers, hot dogs and chicken to nosh on, drinks from the VFW bar (no $13 cocktails here), live music and a guitar raffle. Local vendors including Moon Raccoon Baking Co., Mama Sue's Kitchen (chili oil), DittyPop Smoothies and Sasta's Shroom Shack (mushroom tacos and quesadillas) will also be on hand. Admission is free, though you can pre-order a plate for $30 that includes seafood, slaw or salad, a glass of booze and a raffle ticket on Stoneking's website.
Friday, June 4
Nothing says summer like pink patio pounders — and Carboy Winery's Denver outpost, 400 East Seventh Avenue, is bringing together a pack of producers for its Rosé La La La festival on Friday, June 4. In two sessions (3:30 to 5 p.m. and 5:30 to 7 p.m.), you can sample rosé wine from thirteen Colorado wineries, including the Storm Cellar, Sauvage Spectrum, BookCliff Vineyards, Jack Rabbit Hill Farm and Chill Switch Wines. Admission is a steal at $38 — which includes apps and a stemless wine glass to take home — but finding your perfect post-COVID summer wine is worth its weight in gold. Visit Carboy's website to learn more and secure your spot.
Thursday, June 17
Restaurant and bar workers need a party after the last eighteen months (hoo boy, do they ever). Enter Drink Red Wear Red, an industry bash on Thursday, June 17, that is even more impactful in 2021. That's because the event, put on by the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA) and Foundation (CRF), benefits the CRA Mile High Chapter's Hardship Relief Fund as well as the CRF, which administers the statewide Angel Relief Fund. (Both assist hospitality workers facing hard times.) This year's party is an open-air celebration at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, and includes wine (red, or course), cocktails, bites from a dozen Denver restaurants (including the Bindery, Esters, GQue Barbecue, Maria Empanada, the Pig & the Sprout and Comida) and live music from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets are currently $45 or $125; VIP tickets include 5:30 p.m. entry as well as a rooftop reception with views of City Park and downtown Denver. Get your tickets on the CRA's website before prices go up on June 1.
Thursday, August 12
Treat yourself to a long, boozy weekend in Vail from Thursday, August 12, to Sunday, August 15, at the Vail Wine Classic. The fest — which was one of the very few events that didn't go digital or "postpone" (aka cancel) its 2020 iteration — is putting on a pair of two-hour grand tastings at 1:30 and 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets will run you $99 for GA; $129 for thirty minutes early entry; or $225 for the aptly named "double trouble" pass, which gets you into both sessions at the early entry time. The tastings are an outdoor affair at Vail Athletic Fields, 646 Vail Valley Drive. Details about wine dinners, seminars and the inevitable day-after brunch are yet to be announced, but you can visit the event website for complete info and Eventbrite for tickets.
Know of an event that belongs on this calendar? Send information to email@example.com.
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