Lounge 5280 makes a DIA delay palatable

Thanks to the years I spent traveling for work, I've got my airport routine down to a science: I usually show up with barely enough time to make my flight, so as to minimize the minutes spent on any concourse -- and eliminate my intake of crappy food consumed out of boredom.

But when my flight was delayed last week, I had an hour and a half to kill at Denver International Airport. And so I settled into Lounge 5280, a wine bar that opened on the mezzanine level of Concourse B last year.

And from now on, Lounge 5280 is where you can find me whenever I'm stuck at the airport. The wine list is impressive, with by-the-glass selections spanning the globe and including Kabinett Riesling, Falanghina (a weighty, savory white), Barbera and Rhone blends. The bottle list goes even deeper, and it's not just replete with the big-name producers that provide high-profit margins (though those, as well as some frequently name-dropped Napa producers like Opus One and Silver Oak, are also included). For travelers who aren't oenophiles, there are a handful of Colorado craft beers as well as a sizable cocktail list -- and about half of the drinks on that list are made with locally produced spirits.

Those libations pair up well with a menu of bar snacks that includes cheese, cured meat, nuts, olives and even venison paté. Racked with indecision, I ended up ordering a salumi misto platter loaded with smoked duck breast, sweet-spicy sopressata salami and cured coppa, as well as a glass of German riesling.The thin slices of salty meat were perfect for taking the edge off my afternoon hunger, and I got on my plane feeling significantly better -- and classier -- than I normally feel after succumbing to the burger and beer that most DIA spots serve.

Bonus: the comfortable, spacious Lounge 5280 was a good place to finish up some last minute work before take-off, too.

Although I may not show up early for flights just to imbibe at this spot, at least it'll make all future delays a lot more palatable.

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