Denver spots I'll miss the most
If I were going to open my own restaurant, the one in Denver I would most draw influence from is, without a doubt, Table 6: More than any other joint in town -- and more than most other eateries I've been to in my life -- this restaurant has created a world that I absolutely love to live in for the duration of a meal. The place is whimsical and warm but refined enough to justify celebrating every special occasion at one of those tables. I dig the quirky wine list, the inventive menu, owner Aaron Forman's irreverent presence and the team of servers who so clearly love their job. But most of all, I dig the restaurant's ability to make every single person feel like a much-loved VIP, whether that person is a first-timer or has been through the doors 100 times.
The Great Divide Tap Room
An awesome side effect of being deeply involved in the restaurant scene in this town meant that I was also inextricably attached to the beer world, since Denver's breweries are booming and owning the industry at a national level. I'm going to miss all of the tap rooms, the bars with obscenely good kegs and the opportunity to drink the rare, local stuff that we totally take for granted because, hey, this is beer country. The place that most symbolizes all of that for me, though, is the Great Divide Tap Room, which I hit more often than I hit most bars, sitting on the patio with some rad one-off draft. I'm hoping I can at least coerce someone into sending me a shipment of Colette when it's available and the occasional bomber of Yeti to get me through my withdrawal.
It's too easy for me to end up at Star Bar every night of the week: The drinks are reasonably priced, the bartenders and owner Justin Lloyd are awesome, and I'm bound to run into someone I know. That makes it the perfect place to stop for a nightcap -- which usually turns into one of those oh-shit-I'm-out-until-2-on-a-school-night situations. Plus, the more time I spend there, the more I find details to love: the tally the bar keeps of every time someone plays Journey on the jukebox, the kick-ass karaoke nights and the always-eclectic crowd. The place is also a home base for the geeky beer community -- with taps befitting of such an audience.
The second I moved into the LoHi neighborhood, I knew a full-blown addiction to Masterpiece Delicatessen was imminent. I didn't disappoint myself. I spent weekend mornings on that patio with a paper and a breakfast sandwich, and I wrote a lot of stories for Westword at the back counter, massive cup of coffee in hand. I always looked forward to the spot's specials -- especially the wintertime cassoulet -- and I dream about the braised beef brisket sandwich, dripping with tallegio and saddled with caramelized onions.