Booze

Two Colorado spots land on Food & Wine's fifty best bars in America roundup

'Tis the season to get obliterated with family members and co-workers, and just in time for those special events, Food & Wine has released its list of the fifty best bars in the country. And while you're sure to find it a useful guide if you're headed out of state, you don't have to jump on a plane to sample a couple of the winners. The roundup -- which name-checks such spots as Cure in New Orleans and the Clover Club, Death & Co. and Little Branch in New York City -- also includes a pair of Colorado spots with particularly epic beverage programs.

The first is Jimmy's, a fifteen-year-old Aspen watering hole with a tequila-focused back bar and a convivial neighborhood vibe. The publication bestowed the honors because "this Aspen institution has more than 100 tequilas and mezcals, makes terrific margaritas and hosts legendary Saturday night Latin-dance parties." It helps that it's surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, too.

Boulder's Oak at Fourteenth also nabbed accolades, which is pretty remarkable given that the place only opened last fall -- and then was closed for most of the year after a fire, just reopening this month. Head barman and co-owner Bryan Dayton didn't exactly rest on his laurels while his restaurant was being rebuilt, though. Instead, he remained deeply involved with the local and national bar scene, and he scored a major win at the GQ/Bombay Sapphire competition this fall.

His work on his craft paid off: Oak reopened with a sexy and innovative cocktail list that includes some unique beverage options, and while Food & Wine acknowledges that the restaurant, which Dayton owns with Steve Redzikowski, is a newcomer, the magazine points to the "NA (nonalcoholic), LA (low-alcohol) and HA (high-alcohol) drinks" list as particularly worthy of praise.

Cheers.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk