Fried chicken and wine may not seem like the most likely pairing, but it works well at Max's Wine Dive, a casual, wine-centric "dive" in Cap Hill with a focus on classic, southern comfort food. Some dishes are meant to be shared, like the Wine Dive Sliders. For patrons too hungry to share, the mains rise to the occasion, able to satisfy even the heartiest appetite. The eatery's famous jalapeño-buttermilk marinated fried chicken also comes in a "badass" gluten-free version. Alas, the rich and creamy Max 'N Cheese with cavatappi pasta, applewood smoked bacon and fresh jalapeños in a truffle cream sauce doesn't. This is not a place where diets do well but it succinctly hits the spot when you're craving comfort food late in the evening.
The Corner Office has long been Denver's pre-theater go-to spot, thanks to its location across the street from the Denver Center for Performing Arts. It's also the go-to for a post-theater bite and if that's when you're arriving there's likely going to be a wait. Like the quirky Curtis Hotel in which it sits, The Corner Office sports a retro-chic vibe, perfect for a place with a nice martini list and cocktails that include twists on the classic gimlet, old fashioned and daiquiri. The dinner menu is an international extravaganza featuring German, Italian, Indian, French and Asian dishes, but classic prime rib is there, too.
Accordion players. Poets. Swing dancing. Flamenco. It all happens at Denver's quirky, funky Mercury Cafe, where acclaimed artists and performance-inclined locals take to the mic and where diners are served from a primarily organic menu, including the beer. The whole place is powered by wind and sun. Management calls it "an exploration of food, the arts, politics and community" and that's as good a description as any for a place that in many ways defies description. You just have to go and experience it for yourself. There are several separate areas within the cafe. The Rose Dining Room is the main eatery where quiet jazz and classical music are typically heard. The Jungle Dining Room might feature community theater, opera, poetry or, later in the night, up-and-coming Indie bands. Upstairs, the dancehall is alive with concerts and swing, salsa, tango and samba classes. Open-mic nights are definitely a hoot.
Located in Denver's thriving Santa Fe Arts District, Interstate Kitchen & Bar is a go-to for diners in search of a menu featuring dishes made from scratch and paired with creative adult libations, all at an affordable price. The culinary focus is classic comfort food, from fried chicken and steak frites to burgers and hefty sandwiches. On the lighter side, salads are available, too. At the bar, patrons have nearly 200 different types of American whiskey to choose from, including some distilled in Colorado, along with other spirits and a nice selection of craft beer from Colorado and beyond. Interstate offers its full menu until midnight, seven days a week, and happy hour arrives twice daily, from 4 to 6 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to midnight.
Located in a former garage space in Denver's trendy Uptown neighborhood, Ace Eat Serve features Asian-fusion cuisine along with house-made sodas, fresh juices, Asian beers and craft cocktails. The casual-industrial aesthetic derives largely from repurposed, recycled materials and exposed brick walls, similar to that of the other eateries in this group Steuben's and Vesta. But Ace puts its own stamp on the space with a Ping-Pong hall front and center where patrons can play non-competitive games or sign up for tournaments. Dinner is served until 11 p.m., making Ace a good destination after spending time in Denver's rapidly expanding bar scene.
Yes, it's a national chain with locations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Connecticut, and Washington. Still, Tom's Urban fits well into Denver's eclectic restaurant scene, particularly in Larimer Square. Most important when you're considering where to grab a late-night bite, Tom's Urban serves food until 2 a.m. on weekends and 12:30 a.m on weekdays, plenty late enough for those craving food after a show, an evening of sipping cocktails or after a late evening work shift. The menu is heavy on comfort food including pizzas, burgers, tacos, mac-and-cheese and ribs, but there are also salads, veggies and asian-inspired dishes such as ginger chicken potstickers. If your crowd is divided on what kind of food to go for, this is a place with something for almost anyone, plus the beer and cocktail lists are extensive and there are wines by the glass, too.
This speakeasy serves cool bites and classic cocktails behind an unassuming door in a legitimate art gallery, the perfect element for Denver's art-centric RiNo district. Everything in the gallery and on the lounge's walls is for sale. "If it's not nailed down, it's for sale" is the motto of Aaron Bodrog, co-owner and founder. When you enter the spare, quiet gallery, there will be someone there to direct you to the door that serves as the transition between the gallery and the speakeasy. These are two very different worlds yet both equally right for the evolving RiNo neighborhood. The house signature drink is the Smoked Old Fashioned, but there are equally good, intriguing iterations of various spirt-based cocktails. On the food front, consider the steak & avocado pipe bombs. For a smaller crowd, go on Wednesday or Thursday evenings.
Part restaurant, part art gallery and part live music venue, La Cour serves up excellent French food in a two-story venue on South Broadway. Away from the downtown/LoDo tourist area, La Cour feels less like a restaurant and more like a gathering of neighbors, friends and family, even if you have never stopped in before. Downstairs, a comfortable bar and walls hung with artwork welcome guests. Upstairs, a cozy dining area, including a back space with a community table, sets the scene for jazz and blues every night of the week. Expect French classics on the culinary side and an eclectic approach to art, which is hung throughout the space, both upstairs and down.
Williams & Graham, with its upmarket speakeasy ambiance and dark interior, is paradise for sophisticated cocktail lovers and those who appreciate fine whiskeys, cognacs, liquors and liqueurs. It's for ages 21 and older only. Whether your preference is for a classic Old Fashioned or creative contemporary cocktail, Williams & Graham is your spot in the Highlands neighborhood. The drink menu is impressive, featuring dozens of cocktail options, cognac and brandy, American whiskies, blended and single-malt Scotch whisky and European and New World gins and vodkas, including small-batch variations crafted in Colorado. The list goes on. The food menu leans toward elevated comfort food with such options as roasted bone marrow with toasted ciabatta and bacon jam, mac and cheese, deviled eggs, braised pork shank with mole and a Williams and Graham burger. Parties of more than six can accommodated only in the standing area.
Tucked below popular LoHi eatery Colt and Gray, Saint Ellie is an excellent bar and lounge in its own right. It's also the place to sample some of the stellar fare for which Colt and Gray is known if you don't want to commit to a full meal. The menu is divided into snacks, smaller plates (including the superb charcuterie for which the restaurant is known) and larger plates, so whether you're hungry or just want a little something, you can't go wrong here. While traditional drink classics are always available, there's also a creative cocktail list that changes with the seasons. Or list be damned! Turn the decision over to one of the expert bartenders, who will create a cocktail that meshes perfectly with your specific liquor and flavor preferences.