Last week, after Esquire magazine pimped 15 Bars Every Man Should Drink In Before He Dies, we supplemented its list with our own list of ten Denver watering holes where a man should drown himself in liquor before he stumbles through the gates of Hell.
This week, we're hustling ten of our favorite bars where every woman should drink in before she joins the dude who just died next to her.
Z Cuisine A Cote, 2239 West 30th Avenue
À Côté was designed to be a staging ground for the original Z Cuisine, a wine bar where you could wait for a table. But it's become a destination all its own, with all the quirky, dream-of-Paris charms of Z Cuisine, as well as all the beautiful crowds. Still, it's worth waiting for just a taste of owner Patrick Dupays' blissfully good and authentic French greenmarket cuisine, for his small plates and some of the best charcuterie this side of Paris, and for his accent, which every woman should swoon over at least once.
Root Down, 1600 West 33rd Avenue
Justin Cucci's Root Down opened in an old garage space in December 2008 and immediately attracted a crowd of hipsters drawn by the aesthetic (Grandma Pack Rat meets Andy Warhol), the local food focus, and the well-stocked bar. During happy hour, groups post up in the round booths and at high tables, sipping a rotating list of cocktails and munching on such snacks as veggie-burger sliders and edamame hummus with wonton chips. Our favorite order: the 42 Below Rosemary-Lavender Lemonade and sweet-potato fries dipped in lime curry. Bonus points for a lovely deck with a stunning view of downtown.
Mo's, 1037 Broadway
The drinks are lethally strong, the shots ample and forthcoming, and let's face it: There's nowhere better than a gay bar if you want to feel loved and pampered, which is exactly what the very hot boys at Mo's are incredibly adept at doing. Had a bad day? Snatch a stool at the bar, order a shot and spill your woes to the tender, who won't let you leave without telling you how utterly fabulous you look. A hundred times over. Kiss, kiss.
Lala's Wine Bar, 410 East Seventh Avenue
Lala's has a small menu, elegantly spare. There are salads and snacks, and nibbles and bites for model types and, for the rest of us, pizzas and salumi plates whose offerings vary daily (Spanish lomo, Provençal salame, three-milk blended soft cheese and handmade burrata), and flatbreads with an assortment of spreads. Every day, the kitchen also runs up a few specials: pastas, risottos, a nice duck ravioli. There is no pretension here, just good, dependable food in a setting conducive to staying for just one more taste, two more glasses of wine.
Jonesy's EatBar, 400 East 20th Avenue
What's the quickest way to win diners over? Serve them a gigantic bowl of perfectly cooked French fries drenched in a macaroni-and-cheese-based béchamel and detailed with chives and chunks of bacon, a dish that will instantly shoot straight to the top of anyone's guilty-favorites list, including every drunk woman in Denver. From there, Jonesy's menu goes off in some unusual directions, but the food is generally strong, the room very neighborhood-y and the vibe far cooler than any self-proclaimed "gastropub" has a right to display. It's also incredibly loud, which means that a gaggle of girlfriends can commune in the bar and shriek and giggle, as we often do, without offending those who worship at the shrine of silence. Grizzly Rose, 5450 North Valley Highway Country music will never die in Denver as long as the Grizzly Rose remains. Live music six nights a week, concerts by Nashville nationals, free dance lessons on Wednesdays (and plenty of hot guys to dance with) and lots of space on the hardwood floor for honky tonkin' were among the attributes cited by the Country Music Association, which chose the Rose as one of the top clubs in the nation; regulars choose it because it's a local institution; women choose it because there ain't nothin' like a cowboy when you want to roll around in the hay. Delite, 32 South Broadway Dylan Moore built Delite to handle the overflow from his excellent Deluxe, but this comfortable, cool bar is a destination all its own. The menu, an offshoot of the Deluxe board and dosed with the same vaguely Californian sensibility, though short, is surprisingly satisfying. The green eggs and ham are brilliant: deviled eggs with bacon and pesto. The Chinese barbecued pork buns revisioned as American sliders are so good you'll want to order two plates. And like Deluxe, Delite serves the best fried oysters in town. Bonus: Moore is arguably one of the sexiest chefs/restaurateurs in the business. Just watch his butt strut.
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Williams Tavern, 421-423 East 17th Avenue
Besides serving some of the best Bloody Marys in town -- rich, spicy and spiked with globs of horseradish and cucumber spears -- Williams Tavern offers a free, all-you-can-eat brunch for the hungover hordes every Sunday. But don't look for quiche or candy-ass eggs Benedict here. Instead, bartender Gina Ko dishes up a simple, tasty buffet of stomach-anchoring dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, homemade hummus and falafel, beef-and- bean nachos, even macaroni and cheese. Come for the booze, but stay for the grub -- there's no better (or cheaper) way to chase down that hair of the dog. And what woman doesn't look forward to a full morning meal after a night of debauchery? Steuben's , 523 East 17th Avenue There are so many reasons to heart Steuben's: the classic cocktail list that never feels old, even though most of the drinks were in vogue around the same time as shag carpet; the righteous soundtrack that begs for a dance floor (or at least a small corner dedicated to disco); sexy, tatted servers and bartenders whose ink inspires you to get your own; nifty T-shirts that pimp pork; and a groovy menu that doesn't see darkness until the clock strikes eleven during the week and midnight on the weekends. And we're not talking about a bar menu or an abbreviated menu, but a full board of favorite American foodstuffs to satisfy the already well-lubricated, as well as those just getting started.
Rockbar, 3015 East Colfax Avenue
Rockbar could inspire a confirmed teetotaler to do a swan dive off the wagon within ten minutes of walking through the door. Conjuring the bygone decadence left behind by Perry's -- as the joint was known during the last days of disco -- Rockbar is the ideal place to relive your wasted youth. The decor in this late-'70s time-capsule remains pristinely intact, with exposed rock walls, patterned carpet, foil wallpaper and vintage lighting fixtures. There's also a notable kitsch factor about the place -- the trashy menu, the lowbrow drink selection (Mad Dog and brands of beer you swore you'd never drink again), the neon band-logo signage and the retro tuneage -- that has prompted some detractors to grumble that the brashness is a little too calculated. These people are completely missing the point. For those about to Rock, we salute you.