Throughout the summer months, el Camino's rooftop garden blossoms with organic cilantro and mint leaves, providing ultra-fresh accouterments for the eatery's Mexican feasts. And though the small garden doesn’t cultivate all of el Camino’s ingredients, the rest of the bounty originates not too far from Highland. For example, the eatery's chefs stuff housemade tamales, tacos, and other lunch and dinner specialties with all-natural chicken, beef, and pork from local vendor Anderson Meats. They create guacamole, salsa, and each and every dessert completely from scratch, using produce supplied by two Colorado companies, Red Hat Foods and Arroyo Produce. Beyond supporting the local economy, el Camino tries to preserve the entire ecosystem by operating on 100% wind power and recycling all of its cans, bottles, and cardboard cutouts of Al Gore.
While satisfying hunger with decadent, locally sourced food, including a daily brunch, el Camino sates rippling thirsts for both beer and entertainment. The bar pours drafts from the likes of Del Norte, Avery, and Great Divide breweries, and mixes up potent bloody marys, mimosas, and sangria. Every night of the week brings a different treat, such as $1 street tacos on Tuesday and the Tito Del Barrio Malaga flamenco band every Saturday.
With owners transplanted from the Emerald Isle, Katie Mullen's Irish Restaurant and Bar is riddled with authentic Irish flourishes. The furniture, for example, was all imported from Nugent and Gibney Ltd in Ireland. Up to 500 people gather around the hand-carved tables, feasting on Icelandic cod battered with Harp Lager and burgers crowned with corned beef. Kathleen St. John of the Denver Post notes that the selection of food stands out among a sea of Irish pubs: “Katie Mullen's menu is intensely Irish, but that doesn't mean bland corned beef and cabbage.” In the kitchen, chefs combine diced lamb, veal demi-glace, and fresh herbs in slowly roiling pots of irish stew.
The fare fills the 11,500-square-foot interior with revelry, the clatter of silverware reverberating through four themed rooms: the Victorian bar, the Shop bar, the Pharmacy bar, and the Gaelic bar. Lights dangle from marbled and copper-paneled ceilings, and dark-wood and stone accents surround diners in each room. The same stonework, along with curlicues of wrought iron, warms in the sun around the large outdoor patio. On the weekends, live musicians strum their guitars and rock through ballads about how many pairs of sunglasses you should be wearing.
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.
BaRed takes its name from the crimson brick walls of the historic building that it calls home—but that name also carries cheekier implications. Owner Zach Young has designed a space that begins the day as a rustic New American restaurant, but fades into night as a low-lit, romantic cocktail lounge filled with sensuous live music ranging from hip-hop to jazz. The vintage art posters and hanging globe lamps create an atmosphere that's equally appropriate for a breakfast of fresh pastries and espresso, an evening spread of eclectic, international cuisine, and an interrogation from a cop who only speaks in beat poetry. Charcuterie platters are served alongside chilled oysters from the raw bar.
Perhaps the biggest draw, though, is its cocktail program. BaRed's head mixologist's original recipes and twists on classics have been praised by 5280, which attributed the "meticulously crafted cocktails" to "top-notch liquor (think cognac cocktails and house-barreled gin)."
Nallen’s Irish Pub, located in downtown Denver, is the perfect stop-off for anyone looking to find perfect pours of Guinness and affordable shots of Jameson. This cheap-drinking Irish bar offers $4 shots and similarly-priced Irish Car Bombs that cater to a decidedly younger, louder crowd that packs the no-frills bar. Despite the emphasis on drinking, this family-owned spot remains a pleasant place for anyone to come in and grab a seat for a while. Amiable bartenders – and, often, owner John Nallen himself – serve up large pours of whatever drink suits your fancy, and are more than happy to chat about the weather from behind the antique bar. There’s no kitchen inside the squat, rectangular space, but no one seems to mind if you bring in a meal from a nearby takeaway operation. You’ll need something in your stomach to soak all those shots of Jameson.
When Kristian and Amy Geiger met back in 2000, they fell in love with each other and with wine. On their honeymoon a year later, the Geigers didn't go to a tropical island, or spend an all-inclusive weekend in court like many newlyweds. Instead, they set out on their first winery adventure in Virginia.
From that point forward, they planned nearly every vacation around visiting wineries, and began enrolling in wine-education classes. As time went on, the couple began to feel the nudge of an evolving dream: to own their own wine bar. That dream came true in 2013 with Cana Wine Bar. There, Kristian and Amy fill glasses with old- and new-world wines, beers, and high-end whiskeys. The wine bar itself lends a homey vibe in which to imbibe those spirits, complete with private lounge rooms.