It's our country's birthday, and in addition to the classic Fourth of July shenanigans (think free speech, parks, bugs, parades, beer and fireworks), Americans also enjoy many other rights and privileges (brunches, rooftop patios, picnics, barbecue and....well, beer and fireworks). This Independence Day, do your civic duty and take advantage of all the food and drink specials you're entitled to as a citizen of this great nation. Here are eleven great ways to celebrate in Denver with food and drink.
Highland Parade, Bike Contest & Picnic
16th and Erie streets
Want to host a big Fourth of July party (we mean a really, really big party), but don't have the space in your tiny Highland house? The Tenth Annual Highland Parade, Bike Contest & Picnic is here to save the day! The family-focused fun starts at 8 a.m., with a bike-decorating party for the kiddos at 32nd and Clay streets; after dolling up their favorite two-wheelers, kids will start out on the parade route at 9:30 a.m. The procession ends at Hirshorn Park around 10 a.m., where a live band playing classic rock, free hot dogs, a potluck (bring a dish to share!) and — here's the best part — a 200-foot long ice cream sundae created by Little Man Ice Cream will cap off festivities at 11:30.
Union Station Stars & Stripes Express Fest
1701 Wynkoop Street
This year, relocate your Independence Day celebration from the back yard to Union Station for the Stars & Stripes Express Fest, which runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 4. The Terminal Bar will double the size of its patio to fit more revelers, and Denver Beer Co. will be pouring lots of locally made suds; there will also be plenty of live music and family-friendly entertainment. Stars & Stripes is a free event (but the beer isn’t), and it will end early enough for you to catch a local fireworks display.
Dueling Pianos & Fireworks
The Square on 21st
21st Street between Larimer and Lawrence streets
If patriotic brass bands aren't your thing (sorry, not sorry, John Philip Sousa), check out Dueling Pianos & Fireworks on Tuesday, July 4, from 5 to 11 p.m. Baby grand pianos will be set up in this pop-up park to fight it out, and drinks will be poured courtesy of Great Divide Brewing and Mile High Spirits. Attendees on Independence Day will be treated to great views of the fireworks at Coors Field. Admission is free, but you must buy drink tickets if you want to imbibe; get yours in advance at eventbrite.com.
Beats on the Creek With Roger Waters
1400 Wewatta Street
Beats on the Creek is back at Coohills, which opens today for happy hour. Roger Waters is the featured performer at 8 p.m.; patio seating requires reservations and a guaranteed $60 per person in food and drink...but space on the bridge (which opens at 6 p.m.) is free! For more information, call 303-623-5700.
Keep reading for more events at local bars and restaurants.
Del Frisco's Grille
100 St. Paul Street
The Cherry Creek Arts Festival is a time-honored tradition over the Fourth of July weekend, but this year, it shut down before Independence Day. Not to worry: If you're in the neighborhood on July 4, you can still take advantage of sangria cocktails at one of the best rooftops in town. Through tonight, the white sangria cocktail at Del Frisco's Grille comes garnished with a popsicle for just $6. Bring your sunscreen, put your feet up and let the servers keep the drinks flowing — it's just like your own patio, except way, way better.
1650 Wewatta Street
Our forefathers fought and died for many reasons, not the least of which was the freedom to brunch. Celebrate on Tuesday, July 4, at Denver's newest Southern restaurant. Tupelo Honey is opening at 9 a.m. so that you can get an early start on honoring American freedom fighters with giant stacks of pancakes and $3 mimosas. And make sure you get your reservation now, or else fighting for a table might spark another American Revolution.
750 Sherman Street
Racines will be open for brunch from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dinner from 3 to 10 p.m., with special Fourth of July dishes including barbecue ribs and hot links. Find out more on the Racines website, and don't miss our recent Chef and Tell with Racines's chef, Thomas Wright.
523 East 17th Avenue, 303-830-1001
7355 Ralston Road, Arvada 303-830-0096
Denver's favorite comfort-food joint is offering picnic dinners-to-go for your July 4 needs. Steuben's menu seems custom-made for crafting your own dinner to take to the park and nosh on while you watch fireworks: fried or Nashville hot chicken, mashed potatoes, veggies, mac and cheese, and cupcakes or fried apple pie for dessert. Call ahead to order your basket and be a real American hero without having to break out the grill in your own back yard.
2715 17th Street
If your idea of a national holiday is more "reclining on a patio while sipping wine and watching far-away fireworks in a civilized manner" than "sitting in a park getting bitten by mosquitos and dodging sticky toddlers," Postino LoHi's patio might be your spot. Show up after 8 p.m.on Tuesday, July 4, and get a bottle of vino and a bruschetta board for $20, with a great view of fireworks launched from Elitch Gardens.
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8171 South Chester Street, Centennial
This cooking school south of Denver usually steps up for the holidays, offering relevant menus for Easter and Mother's Day, for example. And it doesn't disappoint for Independence Day; on Tuesday, July 4, it will be offering a couple's cooking class with an all-American theme of...tacos and margaritas (hey, every red-blooded American loves Mexican food). The class runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at $210 per couple, with truly fantastic views of the city from the kitchen classroom. And if you don't want to commit to a class, Uncorked is taking reservations for its patio at 7 p.m.; diners will have an expanded small plates menu and stellar views of fireworks along the Front Range.
The Post Brewing Company
105 West Emma Street, Lafayette
What's more American than barbecue? Nothing, that's what. So join Post Brewing for a barbecue and fireworks pre-party on Tuesday, July 4, at 4 p.m. Live music will keep things lively, and specials include a barbecue platter (smoked chicken, hot links, pulled pork, slaw, beans) and a can of beer for $16, not to mention $3 Post beer cans. At 8 p.m., the party moves down the road to Waneka Lake for fireworks viewing. If you don't want to make the drive to Lafayette, both Post Chicken & Beer locations (Longmont and South Broadway in Denver) will be offering the same barbecue special, as well as deals on buckets of beer (5 beers for $10).
19192 Highway 8, Morrison
Take a trip out of town and back in time on Tuesday, July 4. The Fort's Fourth of July dinner includes Colorado beer, half a rack each of buffalo and pork ribs, campfire beans and cherry pie for dessert, all served on the restaurant's patio overlooking Denver. For added historical verisimilitude, the cannon will be fired on the hour from 6 to 9 p.m. (just in case you forgot a revolution was happening.) Call the restaurant for reservations.
Ignite Kitchen + Cocktails
2124 Larimer Street
Money can't buy you everything — but it can buy you a prime fireworks-viewing location. For $20, you'll get in to Ignite's rooftop party on Tuesday, July 4, at 6 p.m.; fireworks at Coors Field will take place after the Rockies game. Raffle tickets are included in the cover, and although food isn't, there are a slew of specials planned. Taco Tuesday prices will be in full effect ($5 margaritas, $4 Coronas, $15 Corona pitchers and $4 fish tacos, among others), as well as $3 red (Redd's cider), white (Coors Light) and blue (Blue Moon) brews. Guarantee your spot by calling Ignite for reservations.