I'm bored and hungry in Denver - please help.
June 26, 2008 6:04 PM   Subscribe

In Denver for a conference and I need things to do and places to eat/drink. Would love Lesbian or queer-friendly suggestions too.

I am staying right near the 16th St. mall and need to fill up Thurs/Fri evening and also pretty much all day Saturday and Sunday. I do NOT have a car, so Boulder, mountains, Coors Brewery, Celestial Seasonings, etc. are not possible, unfortunately.

I've checked previous posts here, here, here, here, here, and here but the info seems to be 2 to 3 years old and much of it requires a car. I do now have a list of tourist-y things to do from these posts (art museum, capitol hill, museum of natural history etc.) and I understand that I cannot leave this city without seeing Casa Bonita.

So what I would really like to know are the good little nooks that the locals know and love.


- places to eat (don't forget about breakfast/brunch!)
- lesbian bars/cafes or even just queer-friendly places
- good people-watching
- good shopping
- neighborhoods/streets to avoid since I will be by myself (I live in Brooklyn so you can use that as your barometer).
- how best to get to suggested destinations

A lengthy post for such a simple question!
posted by anthropoid to Travel & Transportation around Denver, CO (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Casa Bonita, of course.
posted by rhizome at 6:31 PM on June 26, 2008

Best answer: For brunch, go to the Petticoat Bruncheon at Bump & Grind (439 E 17th Ave -- 17th and Pennsylvania) on Saturday or Sunday. It's within walking distance of the 16th Street Mall, the food is DELICIOUS and plentiful, and it will be served to you with a huge smile by an awesome drag queen.

Capitol Hill is very queer-friendly in general; perhaps a cocktail at Thin Man (2015 E 17th Ave -- 17th and Race) is in order.

In addition, don't miss Watercourse Foods (also on 17th Street, 837 E 17th at Emerson), which is perhaps the premier vegetarian/vegan place in the city and features hipster waiters, queer-friendly everyone, and awesome people watching. There's a reason this place gets packed. The outside of the building is under construction, so look for the scaffolding (and get ready for amazing things like vegan biscuits 'n gravy and fake girl scout cookies).

You also can't really go wrong with thrifting in Denver if you're into that kind of thing. The ARC stores are the best (there's one at Colfax & Florence that should be accessible by bus), and there is cute vintage shopping/people-watching on the cool strip of South Broadway, also accessible by bus (Boss at 10 S. Broadway comes to mind).

Hope this helps! Denver is a great city.
posted by mynameisluka at 6:37 PM on June 26, 2008

Best answer: I like going to the tattered cover on Colfax, I think a bus goes there. Bus info I'd take you to the Celestial Seasonings tour, that was one of the more fun things I've done in the year I've lived here. Oh there are also two cupcake shops on Colfax, I love me some cupcakes.
posted by yodelingisfun at 6:37 PM on June 26, 2008

sorry, tattered cover
posted by yodelingisfun at 6:39 PM on June 26, 2008

Response by poster: @mynameisluka - Awesome suggestions. What's it like walking to those places this time of night? Any avenues that are more interesting or safer? I really am clueless as to the what neighborhoods are like here.
posted by anthropoid at 6:54 PM on June 26, 2008

I do NOT have a car, so Boulder, mountains, Coors Brewery, Celestial Seasonings, etc. are not possible, unfortunately.

You can take public transportation to most, if not all of that, if you're willing to spend some time sitting on a bus or train.

If the Friday you'll be in town is the first Friday of the month, you might check out the first Friday art walk in the art district.

I think Lucile's is the best breakfast in Denver.

I'd say none of the places mentioned so far warrant much worry about safety.
posted by scottreynen at 7:04 PM on June 26, 2008

When will you be in town - cause there's often different things happening at different times. You can find some queer stuff and cafevivid.com.

The Baker neighborhood is a very queer friendly area just south of downtown. You can hop on the Broadway bus if you like or if you're a walker, it's about two miles.

Feel free to drop me a line and I can answer more specifics if you like.
posted by FlamingBore at 7:45 PM on June 26, 2008

I wouldn't be too worried as long as you stay on 17th. It tends to be pretty full of foot traffic on a weekend. Colfax can be kind of skeevy, but if you're a Brooklynite you'll laugh since the Denver version of skeevy is way less scary than the New York version.
posted by mynameisluka at 7:55 PM on June 26, 2008

Best answer: I'd like to second the fact that you can easily (very easily!) get to Boulder by bus from the 16th street mall. You want the Market Street station in Denver (conveniently located at 16th street and Market street). Take the escalator down into the bus station and you will see a big sign with the times for the buses to Boulder. The bus to Boulder lets off right in the center of downtown Boulder...like a block away from Pearl Street. You should totally do this.

As far stuff downtown goes...I really don't know or like a whole lot around the 16th street mall--I think it is actually about the cheesiest part of the city. Some stuff in LoDo that doesn't suck includes: El Chapultepec (1962 Market street) a little, old jazz bar. They have a live band every night, I think, and it can be nice....though on the weekends it can have some cheesy frat boy folks (though all of LoDo is overrun with them).

I also dig The Tattered Cover book store...the one on Colfax is mentioned above but it is way far away form LoDo. Fortunately, the downtown one is better (I think) and is at 16th and Wynkoop.

Really you would be well off to check out the Lincoln/Broadway area (the art museum sits just off of Lincoln to give you some perspective) as suggested above. I like Famous Pizza, Sputnik/High Dive, and Dazzle (more jazz). And, there are a ton of used book stores and other cool shops. 17th street, also as mentioned above, is another good area. The Thin Man, St. Mark's Coffeehouse, Hamburger Mary's (actually has all kinds of good food....very gay friendly).

Lastly, I would reccomend a nice walk along the river. From the 16th street mall just head west. You'll pass the train station....take the pedestrian bridge over the train tracks...then keep going west through the park to the river. Here there are nice paths....you can watch kayaker running the whitewater park...or, turn north and walk a half mile and get to an awesome free outdoor skate park which is just fun to watch. If you cross the river by the whitewater park you would end up at REI which is huge if you are into that kind of thing at all. 15th and Platte is actually kind of a nice neighborhood, too. Have fun!!!!

I also like The Market, 1445 Larimer St (so a couple of blocks from 16th street mall).

Lastly, for real, I think Casa Bonita is way overblown (especially if you were going by yourself...maybe if you bring a posse it would be fun).
posted by fieldtrip at 9:52 PM on June 26, 2008

Response by poster: @scottreynen - Might be a nice way to see the land outside of Denver.

@FlamingBore - I am here now, and will mefi mail you tomorrow to see if there is anything good going on that you know of!

@mynameisluka - I have to say that the younger (I am guessing homeless) hippies on 16th st. make me a little uneasy. I always feel like I could outrun the bums and drunks in NY!
posted by anthropoid at 9:58 PM on June 26, 2008

Okay, I'm going to stop now but I have to second Watercourse Foods (also on 17th)...and suggest that you pick up a Westword (the weekly arts newspaper available all over the city)...also online.
posted by fieldtrip at 10:00 PM on June 26, 2008

If you're interested in this sort of thing, the Cherry Blossom Festival is going on this weekend at Sakura Square.. it's on 19th and Larimer, only a few blocks off of the 16th street mall.
posted by everybody polka at 12:30 AM on June 27, 2008

Have you checked out the GLBT Arts & Culture page on the official city website?
posted by Carol Anne at 5:20 AM on June 27, 2008

I just wanted to second (third?) Bump & Grind. It is an easy walk from the mall and you will walk by several queer friendly establishments.
posted by Sheppagus at 12:24 PM on June 27, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks to all for the info - my time here will not be wasted. I ate at Watercourse tonight and it was one of the tastiest meals I've had in a while. Bump and Grind, Celestial Seasonings, Tattered Cover here I come.
posted by anthropoid at 8:52 PM on June 27, 2008

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