Denver food and drink?
September 28, 2005 7:35 AM   Subscribe

What to do in Denver?

I'll be in Denver next week (Oct 2 - 8) for business and I'm looking for good dining and bar suggestions. Especially interested in Mexican food and indie style live music. I'll be staying in the DTC area and will have a car. Any other suggestions on cool things to do is appreciated.
posted by white_devil to Food & Drink (14 answers total)
Stroll up and down Broadway in the Baker area. Plenty of nifty shops (used books, vintage clothes, etc.) and bars there. And See also.
posted by scratch at 7:57 AM on September 28, 2005

In the DTC, Tosh's has decent Mexican food (for Denver). Ghandis has a good vegetarian Indian buffet, but if you drive south a few exits to Hampton, India's is one of my favorite restaurants. Casa Bonita is famous for its cliff diving schtick, but for heaven's sake, don't eat the food. Finally, in this thread, I recommended the Tattered Cover bookstore, and I repeat the recommendation. Finally, try Jazz at El Chapultepec.
posted by bibliowench at 8:09 AM on September 28, 2005

The Denver Museum of Natural History is excellent.
posted by wsg at 8:10 AM on September 28, 2005

I can't remember any dining/drinking establishments, but I do remember killing almost an entire day shopping at Wax Trax. Thank the gods that this guy bought out his portion of the name so he could survive the doofii in Chicago.
On preview: scratch's link points out another person voting for a visit to Wax Trax.
posted by NoMich at 8:13 AM on September 28, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far. I lived in Denver for a year back in the late 80's but I know it's changed a ton since then. Went to Casa Bonita back then, can't believe it has survived so long. Got a real kick from seeing it as the focus of Cartman's desire on South Park.
posted by white_devil at 8:52 AM on September 28, 2005

For buying music, there is no more inviting atmosphere than Twist & Shout records. It's bookish equivalent is of course the Tattered Cover (fair disclosure: ex- TC employee here). For eats and drinks, check out the Wynkoop Brewery, started by entrepenuer cum Mayor John Hickenlooper. Or you could pay a visit to My Brother's Bar.

For Mexican restaraunts, Tosh's is indeed excellent, but definitely check out the area just south of downtown, on Santa Fe and between Sixth Avenue and Colfax. You can find El Noa Noa (with it's lovely patio) and some very authetic taco places (with soft tortillas, and carnitas that are so good you don't ask what's in them). Denver is a great town offering much more varied dining experiences than its past "cowtown" reputation would suggest. Have fun!
posted by Verdant at 9:43 AM on September 28, 2005

This might help if you're dead.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:45 AM on September 28, 2005

Best answer: I'm a Denver native (and no longer a resident), and I gotta tell ya that the best burritos are a Chubby Burger Drive-in on W. 38th and Lipan (known affectionately as "Chubbies"). You have to go there in a car (there's no seating), and go inside, stand around with the (mostly) latino/local crowd, order, then wait for your food. What to get? The "special" burrito, smothered with green. Special just means beans and onions, the green chile is so good it makes me cry (and my nose sweat, but that's a different story).
The story on the place is that when the owners bought it (back in the 60's I think) they couldn't afford to change the sign, so they left it as Chubby Burger, even though they mostly sell Mexican food.
By the way, do not be fooled by the other (ersatz) Chubbies - none of them hold a candle to the original.
I always take a couple of quart Nalgene bottles with me and get some of the chile to go (and freeze before I leave, if I can), I've been doing that for almost 20 years, and back when I started they didn't even have quart prices on their menu - no they do, so I assume others do it as well.
Also, if you like libraries, the downtown main public library rocks! especially the room that houses their Western collection of rare books.
It's also worth a trip to Red Rocks just to check out the most fabulous outdoor concert venue on the planet (and the scenery as well) - it is part of Denver's "mountain parks" - afterward, take one of the back roads into town, for a little different take on things.
posted by dbmcd at 10:31 AM on September 28, 2005

I'll second Casa Bonita. The food isn't that good, but the place itself is a hoot.
posted by cog_nate at 10:33 AM on September 28, 2005

Best answer: I grew up in Denver, but I haven't lived there for 11 years. These are the places I try to hit when I go home:

Sushi Tazu. Yeah, you're getting sushi, 2000 miles from the nearest ocean. Yeah, the place where I really honed my sushi palate was Chicago, which also has to fly in sushi. But my sushi-snob (Chicagoan) girlfriend ranks Tazu as one of her best sushi meals ever, and although she hates Denver and never wants to go back, she wants to stop by at least for a trip to Tazu.

Watercourse, recommended in the other thread, and strangely raved about by a broad spectrum of non-Denverites who have discovered it on their own.

The Blue Bonnet, which offers a particular style of mexican food that I associate strongly with Colorado: I've heard it's called tex-mex, but I'm not sure.

Benny's, mexican; for the fish tacos. Well, Wahoo is probably the canonical place for these, but Benny's is closer to home and I think has a broader menu otherwise.

I have to mention Racine's because I worked there and I would eat there again. But it's sort of one notch above Denny's. I often ate the Ni├žoise salad for my shift meal, or the Bandito Skillet for brunch; stay away from the pastas if you've ever been to Italy. The mexican: feh. Margaritas are good, though.

I've never been to Casa Bonita and I have no desire to go, cliff divers or no.

The best Ethiopian food I've ever had was on East Colfax; that place is now closed, but seven other places have popped up in its place. Shoot for the one with all the taxicabs parked outside: Axum

It can't hurt to check Westword's Best of Denver: Food and Drink.

Also if you find a sketchy hole-in-the-wall selling tamales by the dozen, buy a gross of them and send me half. I can't remember the place where my family goes (it's somewhere roughly in the area of the Mercury Cafe, but not really close at all), but they're a sacrament for me.

Oh, you lived there for a year in the late 80s, so by walking down my own memory lane I'm just relling you stuff you already know.

Confidential to my girlfriend: my mom & sisters are thinking about us all meeting up in Denver for Christmas this year.
posted by xueexueg at 11:16 AM on September 28, 2005

I'm in Denver.

Casa Bonita is good if you're in a touristy mood but the food absolutely sucks.

Chubby's is good, I prefer Las Delicias on 19th.

As for indie music, pick up a copy of Westword when you get here, there will be plenty of listings.
posted by m@ at 12:47 PM on September 28, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for great info. If any Denverites are up for a beer drop me an email and the 1st round or 2 is on me next week!!
posted by white_devil at 1:18 PM on September 28, 2005

More expensive than some of the other suggestions, but Tamayo might be worth a visit. Mexican restaurants with ambitions beyond good / cheap eats are relatively scarce in most towns, and this one is quite good.
posted by mhuey at 3:48 PM on September 28, 2005

For Mexican food La Loma in North Denver (2527 W. 26th Ave) is the best that I've had; they've won awards from Westword and such to that effect. dbmcd is right about Chubbies, it's great. My wife, a native of the East Side and a Latina, goes there frequently. It's a mildly tough neighborhood, but don't let that scare you. Julia Blackbird's has great New Mexican style food in Denver Highlands (3434 W 32ND Ave).

If you haven't been to Denver in a while, go spend a day walking around downtown. It's changed a lot, and there's much to see and do. There is a mall now (the Denver Pavilions), LoDo is chock full of clubs, bars, and restaurants, etc.

The Botanical Gardens is cool. I've heard that the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster is cool. I drive by what used to be called Ocean Journey (700 Water Street), the name may be different, but it is a cool aquarium. I think there is a restaurant there, now, too, but I know nothing about it.

As someone else mentioned, El Chapultepec is great and a Denver fixture for many decades (but it is very, very small. Get there early).

Sorry that all of my selection are on the north end of town, but to me the traffic out in the DTC makes it like the Ninth Circle of Hell, so I don't ever go there.
posted by teece at 5:21 PM on September 28, 2005

« Older Text Messaging Using PC   |   Pantone gradients in Illustrator Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.