Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Southwest >
Sep 18, 2007 08:31 PM

Denver for Great American Beer Festival

I'm flying (from San Francisco) into Denver for the Great American Beer Festival in mid Oct. I get in Friday afternoon and leave Sun afternoon, attending the sessions on Fri and Sat nights (5:30-10).

We're staying at a hotel near the convention center. I know little about Denver, but I'm going to guess that, like most cities, the convention center is in a business district that shuts down on weekends / evenings? Hoping to find some good food options in the area!

Anyway, I'll spend some time looking through the boards, but it's hard to tell sometimes how accessible places will be. Any recommendations for places that are easy to get to from the convention center area (walking, short cab ride, etc.)? In terms of our meals, looks like we have Fri afternoon, Sat afternoon, and Sun breakfast to fill, in addition to any potential late-night eats for Fri and Sat. Would look forward to one semi-splurge meal, but, seeing as we won't be eating during the dinner hour, may be tough!

Thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The convention center is downtown and unlike some cities, you have many choices on the week-end and evenings. Walk or take the free bus down the 16th St. pedestrian mall to Larimer Square and Rioja, Bistro Vendomme, Tamayo and the Samba Room are all good bets. Head a few streets north & west from there and you're in LoDo where Vesta would be terrific choice along with Jax. If you're still in the mood for beer check out the Breckenridge Brewery or Flying Dog right around Coors Field. The 9th Door for Tapas is also superb. All of these places are within easy walking distance of the convention center. If that's not enough, a little bit north and east of Larimer Square is Panzano in the Hotel Monaco. Dynamite Italian.

    1 Reply
    1. re: IslayMan

      Thanks! Looks like we'll probably have to find something open to eat around 3 or so for Fri, so some of these places won't work (closed between lunch/dinner), but any should work for Sat. Thanks for the suggestions, I'll have to go through in a little more detail, and pick out a couple! (Pretty sure I'll be all beer'd out, haha, so may pass on checking out the brewpub!)

    2. Plenty of options. Conv center is in the middle of downtown, which is very lively at night. Check the board for "Downtown", and "Lodo" recomendations. Offhand, I would recommend Wynkoop (brewery I know, but owned by the mayor, and IMHO the single most representative bar of what Colo is all about).

      You will probably be staying close to Larimer Square (depending on which hotel you are at), which is full of options (also lots of recomendations on the list for that area).

      Downtown is very accessible, and most everything is within walking distance (at most 20 minutes, or less if you ride the mall shuttle).

      It is also very safe downtown, at all hours of the day, so don't worry about getting a little off the beaten path.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Booger

        Just a note, the Mayor recently sold his interest in his restaurants I believe so while he doesn't own it anymore I agree that it is a good place.

        Also, I've enjoy Alto which is just half a block from Larimer Square and had great drinks at Corridor 44 next to Rioja.

      2. Thanks all, for the suggestions!

        While I'm at it - anyone been to the beer festival itself? How are the food options there?

        3 Replies
        1. re: nsheth

          GABF is terrific! Food? I "think" there are some typical convention center type concessions but I've never really paid attention. I'm there for the beer!

          1. re: IslayMan

            Went last year and flew back home the next morning. Let's just say that scores of different beers (ranging from Bible black to chile infused) in the belly, a weekend of Mexican food and a confined, pressurized cabin do not mix!

          2. re: nsheth

            Food is concession stand, and there are quite a few beer vendors that supply salted pretzels to go with the beer. Plan on eating elsewhere.

            GABF is pretty awesome otherwise. Enjoy the beer!

          3. IslayMan's got you covered nicely on most of the finer sit-down establishments in downtown. All great recommendations for that area.

            I'd like to submit the cheap eats portion of this broadcast. Also, if I know anything about the Great American Beer Fest is that you'll want a good place for hangover food. Of which, I'll start with Sam's No. 3 on 15th and Stout. It's a Denver institution - quick, cheap. They serve a solid green chile burrito here and open all the time.
            Also, for pizza you may want to get a slice at Two Fisted Mario's on 16th & Market or go for yet more burritos and tacos at Illegal Pete's - ok, but cheap.

            Denver's nightlife is in LoDo (Lower Downtown). I haven't participated in a few years now, but back in the day there would be a street vendor or two selling homemade burritos on the corner of Blake & 22nd where all the clubs were. It made for great after party noshing. Not sure if that still occurs. Otherwise, forgive me for the reminisce. :


            Good luck.

            7 Replies
            1. re: popcorn_denver

              Most of the offerings at Illegal Pete's are OK, but the fish tacos are great there.

              For a Friday mis-afternoon dinner, try Victory American Grill, which is near the convention center. The food is solid (if not spectacular) and the location is great.

              Your will also be walking distance to Wazoo's Bar-B-Q. Call ahead and order the Bob!

              1. re: Megiac

                Just a quick note- Victory Grill closed down in the last month or so. Hopefully something else will replace it as the dining room was pretty cool.

                1. re: Megiac

                  Couldn't find a link to Wazoo online. I'm curious! What's the Bob?

                  Thanks for all the suggestions - getting pretty excited about going!

                  1. re: nsheth

                    I think Megiac had a typo and meant Yazoos bbq. Home of the Denver famous "BOB."


                2. re: popcorn_denver

                  I loved "Nancy's Fancy" Burritoes out of the red coolers. If you waited too long, they would be all out of the potato and green chile, and you would be stuck with bean and cheese.

                  We always made sure to get out just before the mad rush to ensure our pick of the best.

                  Not sure if they would have been as good without a lot of beer on board, but darned if those didn't taste like heaven those nights.

                  Thanks for sharing your walk down memory lane.

                  1. re: popcorn_denver

                    Speaking of cheaper eats, I recall reading an article about a lunch spot that opened up somewhere close to downtown where the patrons work off their meals by doing dishes, etc. Outside of the costs, I read that the food was rather inventive and tasty. Problem is that I have no idea where I read it and therefore no idea of where to start looking for the place. Any ideas of what it might be?

                    I'm coming in for the festival as well with a couple of friends from Montreal. But we're in town for the Thursday and Friday sessions and can hopefully partake in more of the business week lunch spots. I went last year as well, and stumbled upon Illegal Pete's in the after hours. I've got to say that it certainly hit the spot after spending several hours downing beer with nothing to eat. I'm not sure I'd recommend it for other occasions as I'm sure there is better, but it did the trick late night.

                    1. re: nyctreal

                      It is the "Same Cafe" on Colfax. No prices- you pay what you think the food is worth. Not walking distance from downtownn but not too far away. Based on my two experiences the food is good but basic- I would stick to the soup. I think you would eat here to support the idea more then for a great meal. I believe the work option is for those who cannot afford to pay anything.


                  2. I have some fun suggestions for you:

                    Late night splurge I recommend: ZENGO (website) -- they have a lively bar that serves the full menu or you can get a table pretty late on weekends.

                    A short taxi ride will take you to: MIZUNA's (website)
           -- I am not sure how late they will seat you but this is a wonderful place.

                    Friday and Saturday afternoon - Lunch is pretty good at a number of spots within walking distance from the convention center. If you walk over a few blocks Panzano's is great (website)
           - their brunch is wonderful - a little pricey not too bad but it is great people watching!

                    More laid back but right on the 16th Street walking mall is the Realto cafe - - another good brunch/lunch choice.

                    MY FAVORITE is a very worth while short cab ride away. Benny's Cantina - great green chili, breakfast burritos served late on weekends.The outdoor patio is very relaxed. - you have to try their red beers, bloody marys, or my favorite the margarita - fantastic!!!

                    ***Note; If you are by chance staying across the street from the convention center at the Hyatt Convention Hotel - don't miss the bar on top which has unsurpassed views of the city and makes a great place to watch a sunset or have a nite cap! Have fun at the festival!!!