Swany’s Denver Guide for Snow Show 2012: Where to Eat and Drink

Wazee Supper Club offers pizza, sandwiches and plenty of microbrews in a fun atmosphere

We don’t have time or space to give you all the good restaurants in and around Downtown to visit during SIA Snow Show 2012.

Use the following list, though, and you’ll have no trouble finding good grub and drink. And don’t just believe us, see customer reviews for Lodo and other Denver locations at Yelp:

Lower Downtown: The neighborhood at the north end of the 16th Street Mall is loaded with bars and restaurants, consider:

The Market at Larimer Square serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as killer desserts and fine coffee.

Larimer Square: This historic block (on one of Denver’s first streets a few blocks from the Convention Center) has become a high-end restaurant mecca in the past decade. You’ll spend more here, you’ll also find some of Denver’s best restaurants, including:

  • Rioja (Mediterranean)
  • Capital Grill (steaks)
  • Osteria Marco (Italian)
  • Tamayo (Contemporary Mexican)
  • Bistro Vendome (French bistro).
  • Market: Informal and instantly comfortable, you can get breakfast, lunch and dinner (plus great coffee and desserts).
  • Sam’s No. 3: They offer diner grub, Mexican and Greek dishes here on plates overloaded with great food. Here’s the best part (besides the fact it’s just two blocks from the convention center): Breakfast is served all day!

Mexican: The folks at Chipotle didn’t invent the burrito, but they have made it into one of the tastiest and fastest growing restaurant concepts in the country. You’ll find them just off the 16th Street Mall at California Street, among many other places in Denver. Visit the chain’s very first location at 1644 E. Evans Ave. (a 10-minute cab ride from Downtown) to buy a T-shirt that says “I’ve Made the Pilgrimage to Evans.”

Anything good always gets copied, and the folks at Illegal Pete’s on the 16th Street Mall have some great burrito and tacos of their own, as do the gang at Wahoo’s Fish Taco in LoDo. For REALLY authentic Mexican, take a short cab ride to northeast Denver and Taqueria Patzcuaro.

BARS

Check out the staggering number of beers on tap at Fallng Rock Tap House

Nothing makes us happier than recommending good watering holes. Just remember this piece of advice: While it’s important to drink more fluids at high altitude (and we ARE at 5,280 feet), too much alcohol at altitude can be a killer for a flatlander. Consider yourself warned.

Denver and the Front Range have a well deserved reputation as one of the country’s microbrewing hubs. Here are some great places to explore foam on the range.

  • The Wynkoop Brewing Company was the first in Lower Downtown and in many ways remains the best. It’s a huge place (pool hall upstairs), with a great selection of beer (start with Railyard Ale) and decent grub.
  • You’ll find Breckenridge Brewery a few blocks away, just past Coors Field. Also large and comfortable, start with an Avalanche Amber Ale.
  • You want insane variety? Falling Rock Tap House has a wall (we’re not exaggerating) of taps to choose from and the bartenders know their stuff.
  • You just have a nasty thirst and need to DRINK? Nallen’s is for you, a spartan joint a few blocks from the Convention Center that is probably the city’s most authentic Irish bar (which doesn’t mean it’s cuddly).

All hotels have bars, but most hotel bars aren’t the best place to hang out. A couple worth noting, though.

  • Our favorite is the tiny Cruise Room in the Oxford Hotel. From the cool art deco design to the killer martinis, it’s almost worth the crush of people.
  • The Corner Office in the Curtis Hotel, just a block from the Convention Center, has a hip vibe and a good crowd.
  • Katie Mullen’s Irish Pub in the Sheraton Hotel on the 16th Street Mall, while hardly authentic, is a perfectly good place to find some good beers (and stronger stuff) while also accommodating a bigger crowd, often a necessity at a trade show.

Others to consider:

  • El Chapultepec has been serving up live jazz, cold beer and hot green chile longer than just about anybody. It’s small, generally overcrowded and pretty fun.
  • Bannock Street Garage (please, call it The Garage) in the Golden Triangle is a five-minute cab ride from downtown that delivers you to a comfortable, divey (but not a dive)  local watering hole.
  •  Cap City Tavern After you’ve had a few at The Garage, walk a couple blocks to this outpost for some food (and more drinks, of course).

Check out Swany’s other Denver Guides for Snow Show 2012:

  • Events: What’s going on outside the Colorado Convention Center? Try these.
  • Things to DoIf you want to escape the show, we’ve got plenty of ideas.
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