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Mar 17, 2010 03:12 PM

Denver - great food, young/hip scene, that wont break the bank

Hello Mountain State Chowhounders!

I'll be in Denver from NY this April on a sensitive trip. My best friend (born in Denver) is suffering through a terrible family health crisis for the last year so I am coming into town and staying with her for some moral support and hopefully one night of some serious fun/release for her.

I am treating her to a night in a hotel, dinner and hopefully a great cocktail or dancing scene. Money is a bit tight tho but we both appreciate all ranges of cuisine/nightlife (except for big dance clubs/velvet rope type places). We are staying in the newly renovated Sheraton Downtown.

Dinner-wise I'm looking for a hip spot for two thirty year old women -- but nothing too exclusive or obnoxious. Bottom line most important factor is excellent food. Pluses would add great cocktails and upbeat/chic ambiance. We eat all types of cuisine, and love ethnic/interesting eats -- so anything from standard to eclectic goes.

Entrees under $20 would be ideal - as would a BYO if there's a decent Denver byo restaurant scene. (We're lacking in Manhattan, sadly). Also would love any bar suggestions.

I dont know Denver so I am unfamiliar with neighborhoods and how to get around. Do we want to be in lodo? I'm assuming taxis from the hotel will be easy enough.
My friend knows Denver well but just moved back there so probably hasn't been to places that are newer in the past five years.

VERY much appreciate any suggestions!!

Mountain States Restaurants
410 S Lincoln Ave Ste A1, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487

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  1. You porbably DO wnat to be in LoDo, but don't spring for a taxi. Your hotel has an entrance/exit to the 16th Street Mall, and free, frequent shuttles will whisk you LoDo-ward. I don't know about places to dance, bur you might check out HBurgerCo, a burger joint by day (when I've been there) and designed as a hip lounge/restaurant in the evening (when I haven't been there). Also, check out happy hour specials. When a restaurant offers happy hour till 6:30 or 7, it kind of slides toward the dinner hour (well, maybe not for New Yorkers, but likely for your Denver friend). I wish her well and hope you two have a great time.

    1. if you had a little wiggle room on the under $20 entrees you could go to TAG (one $19 entree; the rest $22 to $29)

      Link to menu if you want to see:

      1 Reply
      1. re: southdenverhoo

        Definitely can wiggle - was just trying to provide some frame of reference bc i know people often post messages with few parameters. There's just too much out there to suggest!

        Thank you both for the tips. Going to do some yelp research as well, but Tag certainly looks like a great possibility.

      2. I love 9th Door - great vibe, awesome tapas and great location to various other bars etc.

        9th Door
        1808 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202

        1. BYOB at restaurants is technically illegal in Colorado.

          TAG definitely has a cool vibe and good cocktails (and a happy hour that starts early), as does Vesta. Colt & Gray is getting attention for its mixologists and food. Root Down might meet your criteria as well, although it’s in the Highlands.

          If you're out dancing, just a reminder that the free 16th Street Mall Shuttle only runs until 1:30 am and buses are less frequent at off-peak times, but it's a great way to get around the core of downtown without springing for a taxi.

          If you like dance music from Beatport and big name Euro DJ's, I think Beta has a great sound system. I'm in my late 30's and felt like an oldie, so it definitely has the young/hip thing going on without being so pretentious that they wouldn’t let my non-Prada-wearing behind in.

          The Sheraton is nice location-wise, but unless you've got a Starwood membership for an upgrade to a suite or want to shell out the $, it's not that impressive of a renovation compared to the amount of money they reportedly spent. I think they did a better job renovating the Westin in the Tabor Center on 17th and their “signature scent” is nicer. If you're not married to the Sheraton reservation, you might check out The Curtis for their funky themed floors, although I've heard the walls are thin. The Corner Office bar and restaurant is located on the ground floor.

          There are lots of great happy hour deals around. The daily Café Society blog on Westword is a good resource for eats and drinks:

          You might also have your friend pick up 5280 magazine. Their Top 25 Restaurants issue is out this month, although it skews to the high end. Lots of good ideas in there though.

          Root Down
          1600 W. 33rd Avenue, Denver, CO 80211

          Colt & Gray
          1553 Platte Street, Denver, CO 80202

          1. Thanks everyone for great suggestions especially re bars!!
            Would love more restaurant/dinner options if anyone else has a moment to chime in!!

            6 Replies
            1. re: bobjunior

              A few blocks south of downtown, but Dazzle on Lincoln and 9th sometimes has good live jazz and some decent bar munchies. Good food and a cozy atmosphere down the street at Bones, 7th and Grant. Could easily walk from there to Lala's at 7th and Logan, which has a pretty decent bar vibe for us in the 30ish demo. (Can also go to Gov's Park around the corner if you're craving 20's frat-boy scene and the Lancer Lounge next door to Bones is one of the few real dives left in this area.) Short cab ride back to the hotel from there. Of course, this is my block, so I'm biased...

              Lancer Lounge
              233 E 7th Ave, Denver, CO 80203

              1. re: HowlinPup

                HowlinP, I'm so glad you mentioned the jazz spot. I visited a lot of clubs around the country when I did the jetblue all you can jet pass. I dont even think I would have thought of taking my friend to see jazz but she will love it! Great suggestion!

                1. re: bobjunior

                  If you're thinking about jazz, bobjunior, be sure to see what's happening at El Chapultepec, which is across from Coors Field in LoDo (Dazzle is not in LoDo, so you'd need a cab). Now back to the food discussion. Can't wait to try Beatrice & Woodsley one of these days...

                  Beatrice & Woodsley
                  38 S. Broadway, Denver, CO 80209

              2. re: bobjunior

                I have to chime in because I can't believe nobody has mentioned Beatrice & Woodsley. It's a little bit further south (at "0" & Broadway) and you'd probably want to take a taxi for a few bucks.

                But if you were my friend that is the one place I would take you. I don't think there is another restaurant in Denver where you get as great of a combo of:
                -food (amazing - delicious, innovative, fun!),
                -atmosphere (totally un-Denver - something you'd find in a much more cosmopolitan/trendy city),
                -service (always great for us - they're my favorite servers in town!), and
                -value (for two people having a drink or two each you can get out well under $100 depending on how much you eat and what you drink)

                It doesn't fit into your < $20 entrees requirement because for the two of you you'll probably get 4-6 things depending on what you want and hunger - but isn't that more fun than the normal 2-3 courses? And the food is really innovative and delicious as well.

                It seems like some people on the web haven't been happy with B&W but we have never had anything but an excellent experience there and it's been our #1 in Denver for quite some time, beating out all the fancier & higher-end places in town.

                No matter what let us know what you do!

                Beatrice & Woodsley
                38 S. Broadway, Denver, CO 80209

                1. re: aguyindenver

                  I actually did mention Beatrice & Woodsley, but my post got deleted because I included specific blog links. :)

                  Ditto the equally eye-popping downtown bar owned by the same folks, Mario's Double Daughter's Salotto.


                  Beatrice & Woodsley
                  38 S. Broadway, Denver, CO 80209

                  Double Daughter's Salotto
                  1632 Market St, Denver, CO

                  1. re: tatamagouche

                    a guy in D and tatamagouche, thanks for the B&W suggestion. It's precisely the kind of thing I'm looking for.
                    To be truthful, the only reason I put the $20 parameter is bc I often notice that when people leave their chow posts too vague, its hard for fellow posters to make recs (i.e., the net is cast too wide). I am definitely flexible in terms of pricing but was trying to avoid recs for luxe (french laundry/per se type) suggestions despite the fact that I'm looking for a special night!