Denver, here we come
We are headed to Denver for a 5 day conference and are looking for restaurants and bars to go to. Staying downtown near the convention center, no car but taking a cab is no problem.
1. Delicious food. Not overly fancy, but not TGIFriday's
2. Delicious beer and cocktails, preferably local brews but a good selection of all (a mixed co-worker bunch, all of us alcohol snobs)
3. Mexican food at least once (my AZ upbringing has me longing for real Mexican food - sorely lacking here in Boston)
4. A decent breakfast/brunch spot
Where would you take out of towners, if you had to stick around downtown?
WOW, these are all really great suggestions that all fit the bill. Thank you all so much. I know that actual Mexican food may be hard to come by in a convention center area, but, really, I am sure that even the not-so-authentic Mexican food there surpasses the "authentic" Mexican here.
Just dying for chile verde.
Well, you'll find that just about everywhere—at greasy spoons like the aforementioned Sam's too. If you really must have Mexican downtown, I agree with e_bone that Tamayo is good—not great, IMO. If I were going to one of Sandoval's places I'd rather go to Zengo, which is also good, not great, but more interesting—Asian-Latin fusion. Then again, sounds like that's not what you're really looking for.
As for cocktails besides the Cruise Room, which is especially about the decor (well worth it), I'm a former Bostonian myself and the craft cocktail scene is really just gearing up here. I wouldn't call the cocktails at Mario's Double Daughter's Salotto craft, but they're sure interesting all right, and the space is great. I had an amazing cocktail at Osteria Marco recently (blogpost attached). There's some good mixing at Panzano. If you're willing to venture by cab, cocktails at Steuben's, Root Down, and Beatrice & Woodsley are all good bets too.
Ditto Snooze, my favorite breakfast spot. They also do good weekday lunch. Wynkoop Brewery will probably fit the bill for good beer and decent, affordable eats too. My Brother's Bar has good burgers and brews. Marco's Coal-Fired Pizza in LoDo is my other pick for affordable and tasty.
For good Mexican, you have to leave downtown. Hop a cab to the Highlands (not far) to Taqueria Patzcuaro. There are some other good eats in the Highlands if you want to venture out, some are a bit pricier - Z Cuisine (restaurant) and A Cote (bar), Duo, Root Down, Vita.
For breakfast/brunch/lunch, try Cafe Options on Curtis just off 16th and therefore very near the convention center. It is a project of Work Options for Women, a fine organization that prepares disadvantaged or sturggling women for culinary and food service careers. It's an attractive space with good scratch-made food. Take a look at the website (http://www.cafeoptions.com/).
I'll address the beer issue: go to Falling Rock so you can have your pick from a bazillion craft brews and a knowledgeable bar-person to boot. Why doesn't this tool have spell check? I know I jorked up Knowledgable. Knowledgeable. Smart. Experienced. Mexican food near convention center.. .hrmmmm <strokes chin> REAL mexican and not New Mexican Mexican or Tex-Mex... hrmmmmm... You can do "splurgy" Mexican at Tamayo (A Sandoval joint.. I don't recommend since I think good Latin-influenced chow can usually be had without the $30/person price tag and $9.00 margaritas... but the place has a lot of fans. Good/ amazing Guacamole too). I love Sams on 15th but it's a Greek diner with Mexican cooks (what restaurant doesn't have Amigos in the kitchen??) that has very good New Mex / Mex food on the menu. I would recommend, highly, Los Cabos but it's really Peruvian food. So.. close to Convention Center I'm not thinking of good Comida Authentico.
Cocktails: Cruise Room is a must for any out of towner. Don't do Shelby's since you come from Boston.. you've been to a Shelby's. I'm blanking, which is odd when it comes to cocktails.
Food: check this board for Denver Downtown.
Lucille's is my favorite breakfast. Snooze is also excellent, just pay attention to the baseball schedule because it is near Coors Field and you don't want to go for brunch when there's an afternoon home game.
Good beer is not a problem, the number of microbrews in these parts is staggering, I have my personal favorites but every place you visit will have different things on tap. Just do yourself a favor and avoid the mass marketed choices like Fat Tire. If you want brewpubs, you could go to the Wynkoop Brewery (owned by the mayor) in LoDo, walk or take the free mall shuttle, no need to take a cab.
Corner Office is very close to the convention center and a fun hip place for drinks and good food.