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.
On an otherwise quiet corner of Chicago's Ukranian Village neighborhood, a crowd of 20-somethings spills out onto the sidewalk to smoke and mingle. Like its hipster devotees, The Empty Bottle seems to never sleep. The club keeps late hours and hosts bands or DJs nearly every night, from local showcases to celebrated dance parties such as the Windy City Soul Club. Even in the coldest months, the overfill spills out onto the sidewalk, where crowds huddle together for warmth beneath a black awning that reads “MUSIC/FRIENDLY/DANCING.” Inside, past the pool table and pinball machine, is a doublewide space and a small stage lit by multi-colored lights. Decorated with years of musical and barfly ephemera, the bar sits beneath a tilted chalkboard that displays the daily drink specials and beer offerings. The club prides itself on cheap drinks and cheap admission prices—all the better for checking out local acts you may never have heard before. Don’t try to take advantage of the staff’s friendliness, however, lest they decide to show you how the severed door of a CPD car came to hang above the exit.
Beneath the rustic beams at Old Mill Brewery, patrons linger over frosty pints of in-house crafted microbrews while chatting near the exposed-brick fireplace. It's here, after all, where local brewers trailblazed the art of creating fine beers before the trend took shape. Today, they continue to produce six stellar beers in styles that range from pilsners to lagers and IPAs to stouts. Bartenders also tap pours of seasonal brews, such as a coconut porter, double IPA, or a fruit-infused raspberry red. Platefuls of home-cooked American fare complement each sip of suds, and include classic burgers and sandwiches along with a slew of succulent entrees?such as homemade fish ?n? chips. Nestled in historic downtown Littleton, Old Mill Brewery welcomes scores of friends and family who flock to its homey charms for a leisurely meal or to enjoy televised sporting events on its big-screen TVs.
People first started patronizing Delizios' location back in 1890, when it was O'Briens General Store. The spot evolved with the times, though, first into a saloon and then, just as the car was growing popular, into a gas station. Today, after a nine-month renovation, Delizios' kitchen sits where the drive-through filling station used to be, and the dining room resides where the garage's "grease pit" once was.
You'd be hard pressed to find traces of the eatery's automotive past in its cozy dining room, though, which opens onto a breezy patio with views of Bega Park. In its cozy confines, diners sip their choice of the more than 70 wines on the wine list, and feast on Italian-inflected plates, such as choice cut tenderloin medallions with gorgonzola, or fettucine alfredo topped with grilled chicken breast. On weekends, the same Italian touches enhance brunch plates such as eggs benedict with crispy prosciutto, or banana's roster French toast served in a sea-worthy gondola.
Chefs at Little India's four locations infuse authentic Indian dishes with fresh and exotic ingredients, earning Top of the Town awards from 5280 magazine for "a decade running." The culinary creatives concoct a taste-bud-tempting lot of specialty dishes, from the butter chicken to the super-hot lamb madras, which makes taste buds sweat with scantily clad seasonings. Vegetarians can spoon a kaleidoscope of meat-free dishes, including the dahl makhani, lentils cooked with tomato and savory spices. Guests sip mood-enhancing beverages from the bar, and the friendly wait staff places plated Indian delicacies and unplated charades suggestions at their fingertips.:m]]
Jenni Lyons and Mike Burns founded Happy Leaf Kombucha by accident. Initially, their goal was non-commercial. They just wanted to brew enough kombucha to have it on tap in their house at all the times. Perhaps their extensive backgrounds in holistic nutrition and craft beer were what drove them to overshoot their goal. Its flagship, ginger-infused flavor, the lemon-hibiscus Longevity, is now sold in stores across Denver, as well as in their brewery's taproom, where it signature cranberry-lavender also intrigues palates. Those seeking more startling combinations can tap into the flavorful recharge of carrot-tarragon, mango-jalapeno, and grapefruit-rose.
Kombucha has a history that dates long before Jenni, Mike, and their partner Jeremy started making the healthy beverage. The tart fermented tea, brewed with sugar and a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, has been around for thousands of years. Its eclectic array of benefits range from helping detoxify the liver to aiding digestion, which used to include a process known as "chewing" before kombucha was invented. Happy Leaf Kombucha puts its own spin on the classic, though, both with a steady procession of seasonal flavors brewed in Rocky Mountain water, and a commitment to keeping their recipe raw, vegan, gluten-free, and organically sourced.