Light streams in from floor-to-ceiling windows inside Fire + Spice, pouring over cozy leather chairs, curved booths, and a sleek wooden bar. But the interior of this comfortable yet upscale restaurant isn’t the only picturesque element in the place. Southwestern fare, inspired by Mexican spices, is painstakingly prepared and arranged into edible works of art, much like Picasso’s canvases during his stew period. Notable menu items include chipotle chicken enchiladas, shrimp tacos, and Alamosa striped bass with crispy yucca root.
Dad & Dude's Breweria's father-and-son duo pair small-batch craft beer with classic and inventive pizzas fashioned atop dough sweetened with spent beer grains and agave nectar. Acquaint taste buds with the menu's surrealist creations by sinking teeth into the Shroom pie ($11), a portobello-mushroom cap brimming with spinach, roasted garlic, and a reduction of Dali's daydreams. Dad & Dude's specialty pies crisscross the line between classic and creative with the italian-sausage-topped Tommy Gun ($13+) or Da Rasta Mon ($12+), speckled with jamaican jerk chicken and caramelized pineapple. Keep tables securely seated on the floor by topping them with a hefty selection of more than 10 sandwiches ($7+) or heaping bowls of pasta ($10 each) such as the pepper jack mac 'n' cheese suffused with spicy-white-cheddar-jack-ale-cheese sauce and pancetta ham.
A year after Scott Kerkmans created the role of Chief Beer Officer for the Four Points by Sheraton hotels, it began to get around that Denver was the "Napa Valley of Beer." As NPR later reports, the rumor is a culmination of a life spent steeped in beer culture. Before creating Colorado Beer Week and beating out more than 7,000 applicants for the title of CBO, Kerkmans was on the production side at Alaskan Brewing Company. He’s since authored articles for Draft Magazine, taught at Cook Street School of Fine Cooking, and judged burped renditions of the Pledge of Allegiance at the Great American Beer Festival. He shares his taste in microbrews with more than 140 hotels and restaurants worldwide through the Four Point's beer program, but keeps his feet planted firmly on his home turf during his nine-day spring festival, which highlights the finest pours from Colorado breweries including New Belgium, Oskar Blues, and Ska Brewing Company.
In 1993, the basement doors to the former Johnny’s Pub and Grille opened to unveil Brendan’s Pub. Over the next nine years, the cozy space hosted various blues legends, such as Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, and Alto “Alto Saxophone” Saxophone. Rising rents, however, forced Brendan’s to pack it up in 2002, where it remained a pleasant memory until taking over the space that once housed the legendary Club 404 in 2011.
These days, the revamped Brendan’s pays homage to its bluesy heritage with blues jams every Tuesday evening, as well as weekly karaoke nights and a packed lineup of live musical acts. Cooks complement the onstage riffs by whipping up everything from Angus burgers to tacos to prime rib dinners—a nod to Club 404's famous steaks—, while bartenders keep libations flowing until 2 a.m. every night.
Comfort and elegance, experienced simultaneously—it's an ambitious goal, but the staff at LaMark15 rises to the challenge. Situated in one of Denver's oldest buildings, the loft-like lounge encircles patrons with reclaimed wood in several gleaming stains, rugged exposed brick, and high-backed booths. Three-dimensional patterns made of wood and stone pop in dramatic lighting from fixtures that range from luxurious to industrial, while flat-screen TVs entertain those who are genetically immune from optical illusions. LaMark15's food seeks to achieve the same lofty goal as its atmosphere, with a menu of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Fresh bread is laden with artisan ingredients to create sophisticated flavor pairings like the cambozola, sliced apples, roasted garlic, and sourdough of Babs' Blondie.