Football season is under way, and is always a good excuse to keep the weekend party going. While chicken wings and nachos loaded with beef and cheese are synonymous with game day, you might find it harder to track down plant-based options to accompany your football viewing. Here are eight bars and restaurants geared toward Sunday football action that also serve some great vegan dishes. (Now we just need to talk to the NFL about that pigskin...)
2015 Market Street, 720-878-2015
7101 South Clinton Street, Centennial, 303-790-8440
2680 West Main Street, Littleton 303-797-4829
ViewHouse airs not only every NFL game, but all college games, as well. For day games, the hearty vegan quinoa burger is topped with fried green tomato, avocado, red onion, spring mix lettuce, cilantro-lime vinaigrette and vegan harissa aioli, served on an Udi’s gluten-free bun. Drink deals include $5 cocktails, $4 beers or mimosas and $6 Bloody Marys. For night games, the stuffed zucchini is filled with mushrooms, quinoa, potatoes, tomatoes, toasted pumpkin seeds and a red onion jam. Plus, any of the bowls can be made vegan by swapping in portobello mushrooms for meat.
RiNo Beer Garden
3800 Walnut Street
With a 4,000-square-foot outdoor patio with twelve 65-inch televisions, fire pits and sixty beers on tap, RiNo Beer Garden is a great spot to catch all of the Sunday games. For eats, the vegan power bowl contains sautéed zucchini, red pepper, yellow squash, mushroom, onions, carrot, chickpeas, quinoa and guacamole. The spaghetti squash with pistachio pesto is also vegan, as well as sweet-potato fries, regular fries, guacamole and chips and salsa.
Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill
1605 Wynkoop Street, 303-623-0316
Thirsty Lion & Gastropub Grill opens bright and early at 10 a.m. on Saturdays for all of the college games and on Sundays for NFL games. The Impossible burger is topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and dill pickles, and the falafel wrap is mixed with chipotle hummus, cucumber, arugula, pickled red onion, olives and red pepper (ditch the yogurt sauce). Swap cauliflower for chicken in the orange chicken or kung pao chicken to make them vegan, too. For snacks, the garlic-sesame edamame are sautéed and coated in a soy glaze.
Esters Neighborhood Pub
1950 South Holly Street, 303-955-4904
2201 Oneida Street, 303-997-4173
Esters opens at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays for all of your football-viewing pleasure. Choose your own pizza toppings, starting with either the housemade marinara, San Marzano sauce or garlic olive oil. Opt for the vegan cheese and meat substitutes such as blackened tofu and Beyond Meat Italian sausage. There are a variety of elevated veggies to top your pie, such as roasted eggplant, dried figs, roasted squash, asparagus, roasted herb potatoes, zucchini and roasted garlic. There’s also a pumpkin curry that's vegan.
Next Door American EateryMultiple Locations
All seven Colorado locations of NextDoor air football every Sunday. The happy-hour menu has five plant-based options: green cardamom falafel, fries with curry aioli, guacamole and chips, kale chips and hummus. Other options include a charred cauliflower salad with raisins and chickpeas, a roasted broccoli salad with spicy sesame house aioli, and the roasted veggie bowl is filled with roasted broccoli, bell pepper, caramelized onion and crimini mushrooms.
The Cherry Cricket
2641 East Second Avenue, 303-322-7666
2220 Blake Street, 303-297-3644
This Denver institution is famous for its burgers, but plant-based diners will be pleased to know that both the chickpea patty and Impossible burger at the Cherry Cricket are vegan, along with an array of unique toppings: sauerkraut, peanut butter, grape jelly, Fritos, jalapeños, pineapple, green chile strips and much more. While the brioche bun isn’t vegan, both white and rye bread and tortillas are. On the side, corn tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole, steak fries, Spanish rice and tater tots are all free of dairy and eggs, as well.
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5280 Burger Bar
500 16th Street, 303-825-1020
4301 Main Street, Westminster, 720-887-5970
5280 Burger Bar’s downtown Denver location plays every game all season long, and the Westminster outpost has plenty of space for football watching, too. The housemade veggie patty is loaded with black beans, quinoa and zucchini. Request a lettuce wrap instead of the regular house-baked brioche bun (which includes eggs in the recipe) to keep it vegan. Top your burger with avocado, grilled chiles or salsa.
155 Court Place, 303-572-9273
14500 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood, 303-278-9273
8437 Park Meadows Center Drive, Lone Tree, 303-790-7453
Yard House offers happy hour during Monday Night Football from the kickoff to the final play, including $2 off beer, wine, spirits and cocktails. For eats, the Beyond burger is topped with dairy-free mozzarella, red onion, tomato, smashed avocado, arugula and pickles. There are plenty of shareable items for a plant-based group, including crispy Brussels sprouts and potatoes (without the aioli), Buffalo cauliflower, hot and spicy edamame and Gardein buffalo wings sans the ranch dressing. The red quinoa salad comprises roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted beets, cauliflower, pumpkin seeds and a blood-orange vinaigrette (just skip the feta).