Originally known as the Garden of Angels, Red Rocks enchants visitors with ethereal scenery and top-notch acoustics 6,450 feet above sea level. The amphitheater geologically emerged from the ocean floor over millions of years, its walls housing fossil fragments of various dinosaurs, including plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, and several plush Barney dolls. The carbon-dated rock 'n' roll history of Red Rocks includes performances by The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and The Grateful Dead, who kept coming back to the venue year after year in search of their missing flip-flops. The sonic stone architecture of the venue has also led to dozens of popular live recordings, including U2’s Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky, John Tesh’s Live at Red Rocks, and Neil Young’s Road Rock Vol. 1.
When visiting Flights Wine and Coffee's Morrison location, guests might feel as though they've been invited over to a friend's house for an evening soiree. Housed inside an 1870s cottage, the tasting room invites visitors to settle into cushy leather furniture surrounded by pastoral wall hangings and a crackling fireplace. On the garden patio, guests gather around wrought iron tables and warm their hands by the fire pit. The Arvada location, on the other hand, trades in these homey surroundings for those of a cafe, but still evokes a similar comfort with its own leather furniture and fireplace.
The two locations are connected by more than decor. Each hosts a lengthy list of wines by the glass, and a lengthier list of bottles. A menu of light plates and tapas pairs well with each pour, stoking taste buds with flavorful hummus and wedges of warm brie. Wine experts are on hand to guide guests through their tasting experience, picking out compatible wines and offering instruction in properly swirling each pour in a lab-grade centrifuge.
The feel of a classic saloon with wood-slat flooring and a wood-topped bar invites patrons in for a cold pint and a comforting burger. The menu opens with a prologue of starters such as the southwestern-chicken egg rolls infused with chicken, black beans, corn, spinach, and jack cheese ($6.95) and fried-pickle spears ($5.95) for staving off hunger's vanguard. Try your hand at a sandwich such as the bagel Reuben ($8.25) or heft a vegetarian-black-bean burger served with southwestern slaw ($6.25). Diners can also be the architects of their own burger ($4.95), starting with a choice of 15 add-ons ($0.75+ each)—including fried egg, goat cheese, applewood bacon, and brie—before attempting to build an entire city out of ground beef. When the sun shines, many guests find seats in an outdoor patio reminiscent of a German beer garden as they drain a glass of sudsy sustenance.
Partying patrons are drawn through Eck's Saloon’s doors by the magnetic force of live music, 40 TVs, an outdoor patio, and a line of taps that dish out domestic and craft beers. A loaded calendar of weekly events includes beer-pong nights, foosball leagues, Zumba sessions, and trivia, as well as rock bands who perform regularly under the multicolored lights of a 32-foot-wide stage. Eight pool tables, lit from above by red glass lamps, entertain those not playing air hockey or challenging each other to games of pin the tail on the dartboard.
Beers pair with a menu of pub food that includes fiery wings, a pepperjack burger topped with guacamole and bacon, and a mountainous pile of nachos with refried beans and beef. Eck's specialty house-made green chili comes as a topping for chili-cheese fries, inside chimichangas, or in take-home jars that can be refilled or poured directly into mouths upon request.
Smokin Joes BBQ heaps plates of beef brisket, St. Louis-style ribs, pulled pork and other menu items slathered in sauce that’s at once sweet, tangy, tart, and spicy. Other sauces include the spicy barbecue, sweet and tangy mustard sauce, and the Carolina sauce, which blends vinegar, brown sugar, and a hint of cayenne pepper ideal for whole-hog cooking. Signature milkshakes cool off the tongue with inventively sweet flavors, such as the birthday cake shake with Funfetti cake mix, milk, and vanilla ice cream. Smokin Joes can also cater for events such as company picnics, class reunions, and weddings, especially weddings where they toast with barbecue sauce instead of champagne.
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.