While people usually come out to Colorado for the mountains (hiking or skiing), I do get the occasional, make that frequent weekend guest on a desperate mission to escape the Chi-beria winter (yes, it is always warmer here). And while I like to tailor everyone’s trip to their interests and tastes, there are certain locales that completely embody everything offbeat, quirky and forward-thinking I love about Denver. So if you’re planning to visit me, be forewarned, we will probably be making these three stops.
Linger – Denver isn’t exactly known for it’s insane variety of ethnic food (we pretty much have Mexican and Vietnamese and that’s about it), so it’s nice when you can get it all in one place. And while I don’t normally trust restaurants that try to specialize in too many cuisines or genres, Linger manages to pull it off without a hitch. An international tapas joint, forget everything you thought you knew about dining. Residing in the space of a former mortuary, the tables are actually the old examination tables and the dessert menu comes playfully in the shape of a body tag. Morbid, maybe; unique, absolutely. Don’t try to come without a reservation though, as it is always packed, especially around sunset, offering one of the best views of the city with drinks served on the roof out of an old VW hippie van. Save some room for dessert because it’s hard to miss the line around the block leading up to a life-sized milk bottle, the ever-delicious homemade Little Man ice cream. Salted Oreo, I love you.
Williams and Graham –When it’s time for an actual nightcap, stumble down the block to Williams and Graham. The epitome of a speakeasy, walk through the bookcase to enter and be treated to some of the best mixology in town. They singlehandedly put Denver on the craft cocktail map, and while we don’t have them on every block like NYC or Chicago, this one’s good enough to have won some seriously prestigious national awards for both Bartender of the Year and Cocktail of the Year and was the first Denver spot to be named one of the Top 50 bars in the World.
The Source – Conveniently located right next to my apartment, the Source pioneered the concept of artisanal indoor markets. Named for the fact that everything is “locally sourced,” enjoy perusing purveyors of gourmet coffee, cheese, meats, cocktails, an art gallery, two restaurants, a brewery, and more all under one roof. A cool space in general, this warehouse conversion turned living piece of street art was designed with graffiti-clad walls and exposed beams to section off the various vendors. If you happen to be there around dinnertime, Acorn, from the highly acclaimed team behind Oak on Fourteenth in Boulder is strongly recommended (get the meatball and the shrimp and grits).