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.
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.
An "experience that is thoroughly unique—insane, even." That's how the Denver Post describes navigating the gaming options inside Punch Bowl Social's 24,000-square-foot home. Besides classic bar games such as billiards, pinball, and darts, the emporium encompasses skeeball, board games, and a 1980s-style arcade. If that's not enough, a full-floor shuffleboard court and an eight-lane bowling alley add to the mix with comfortable leather seating framing play areas.
To match Punch Bowl Social's eclectic entertainment, its culinary team crafts equally fun and varied diner bites. On the weekends cooks focus on breakfast options such as mixed berry waffles, cast-iron skillets, and biscuits and gravy served with cage-free eggs. Lunch and dinner options include chicken and waffles, street tacos, a patty melt, and a catfish sandwich with jalapeno slaw. A special menu of pickled foods includes okra and jalapenos and helps game players make just the right puckered face to distract competitors from scoring. To complement all the eating and playing, bartenders serve local drafts, canned beers, adult milkshakes, and signature boozy punches until 2 a.m. every night.
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.
Sample varieties of cheese and salumi while sipping and studying selections from Sketch's well-curated wine library. The Mediterranean-styled café houses more than 40 wines available by the bottle from all over the world. The intro to wine course covers a wide range of topics including grape varietals, the production process, and correct food pairings. Each session is overseen by a certified wine specialist who is well versed in all aspects of wine from production to pairing. Sketch's interior features a hand-painted ceiling, wooden beams, and hand-troweled Venetian plaster walls, which collectively set the stage for suitable sipping of wine and knowledge. Reservations are required, so call ahead to reserve a spot.
Herman's Hideaway has lured music lovers with an action-packed slate of performers for more than 25 years. Before the show, guests can chat up a bartender over a draft beer or vodka tonic. Instead of hosting an all-polka lineup, Herman's Hideaway dabbles in many musical genres, welcoming rock bands, jazz combos, and reggae collectives from nearby neighborhoods and far-flung nation-states. On August 22, MC Frontalot will use song to explain how nerdcore hip-hop emerged from a bizarre accident involving an apple, a candy factory, and an optometrist's office. Local math-metal quartet Seris will launch a tour from Herman's stage on August 27, and 13-piece funk band Funkiphino will spawn a dance party with soulful rhythms and come-hither nostril flares on September 9.