At their 11th Street facility, Verso invites guests to sample its Colorado-made vintages of cabernet sauvignon. Anniversary parties, wedding banquets, and corporate functions of up to 40 people learn about the finer points of winemaking with fun tastings and classes, while smaller private parties relax with small plates, appetizers, and drinks. Visitors can sip and mingle amid wine barrels, or relish in the experience of tasting wine twelve feet above floor level.
Sourcing grapes from California and its native Colorado, Ryker's Cellars' winemaker transform the fruit into mature, complex wines onsite. Available in six styles, the varietals range from dry, pre-dinner riesling to cabernet, with a rich, spicy bouquet of dark fruit, currants, and leather. Visitors can sample each of the wines at the tasting room or purchase a bottle or case to shatter on their cars before embarking on long journeys.
Revamped and relocated from its original subterranean location in Cherry Creek, the new Roo Bar rests atop the earth in a spacious location with the same neighborhood regulars, addictive wings, and a congenial staff. Melding the spirit of Denver with Midwestern staples such as butter burgers and Chicago-style hot dogs, Roo Bar's kitchen serves up a menu of casual eats. Weekly specials include all-you-can-eat wings on Monday nights. Thursday nights bring rounds of poker, and Wednesday evenings award beer and prizes to the trivia team with the highest combined pool of totally inessential knowledge.
The main dining room at Vita is a chic, lofty space that could easily pass for an art gallery if it weren't for the tables, chairs, and neatly folded white napkins. Collections from local artists are displayed on the walls and available for purchase, but most people are here to order up cocktails and modern American food—not paintings. The menu is divided into shareable small plates, such as upscale sliders, calamari, and housemade mozzarella with olive bread, and larger entrees that include steaks, fish, and vegetarian risotto. Weekend brunches offer benedicts and sandwiches, as well as mimosas, bloody marys, and bellinis by the glass and carafe. Vita's rooftop terrace is well known for its open-air dining and martinis garnished with moonbeams. The restaurant hosts live music Friday and Saturday evenings, and in the summer, musicians take to the upper deck in a sunset concert series.
It may call itself Central Bistro & Bar and characterize itself straightforwardly as an American restaurant, but the eatery's aspirations take it far from the middle of the road. The menu collects favorite comfort foods from across the country, then gives them a just-clever-enough twist. For instance, the Wisconsin cheese curds come with a sauce of preserved tomatoes, rhubarb chutney sweetens the chicken breast, and the mac and cheese is enriched by mascarpone and topped with crab.
Central Bistro & Bar's design also pays tribute to American heritage. The weathered materials—reclaimed from boxcars—complement brick walls and mod light fixtures, such as a giant lamp spelling out "HOT" that's actually half of an old hotel sign. Close inspection also reveals vintage pieces that owner Isiah Salazar found throughout the city, rather than in just one old guy's basement.
As cool as the decor and menu are, Central owner Isiah Salazar told Eater Denver that "the people are what I'm most proud of." Denver Post's William Porter would probably agree with that assessment, noting that "waiters are cheery, quick with good-natured banter . . . it makes for a warm feeling." The bar extends the warmth with a roster of classic and house cocktails centered on perhaps the most American of spirits, whiskey.
Hop to It! outfits DIY drinkers of every skill level with all the tools and ingredients they need to craft original alcohol in their own home, be it beer, wine, or mead. Although kits come with all the equipment needed to distill your own draught, ingredients are sold separately. On the day you redeem your Groupon, though, you will receive 10% off your first beer recipe. The shop's massive selection of specialty grains, yeasts, herbs, spices, sugars, hops, and malt extracts make it easy to recreate your favorite local brews, such as Boulder Street Wheat ($36.99) and Northern Lights IPA ($44.99). Mad suds scientists, meanwhile, can blend concoctions with coriander seeds ($1.99), sweet orange peel ($2.49), cardamom seed ($2.99), and banana flavoring ($6.49) to discover what a Christmas ale might taste like in Kenya, or with ferment licorice sticks ($1.59) and strawberry flavoring ($7.69) to make Twizzlerbrau.