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Eleven Denver Restaurants with Killer Cocktail Programs

Because every great dish needs an equally impressive sip

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The ever booming dining scene in Denver is at no loss for attractive new (and older) restaurants to try. The Mile High City also has its fair share of bars to crawl through, but the one thing that tends to be tricky is finding those spots that have what we like to refer to as the whole dining experience package, which is what this guide is about.

Whether you’re craving a hearty authentic Italian meal paired with one of several bottles of wine to choose from or traditional Chinese cuisine with a zodiac themed cocktail menu, there is a bit of everything in here.

Disclosure: The editor is married to one of the developers behind The Source, the development in which Acorn resides.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Colt & Gray

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Known not only for exotic meaty fare — think bacon and cashew caramel corn or baked duck eggs — but also a creative cocktail menu, this LoHi classic comes with seasonally inspired ingredients and the friendliest of service. And if you’re looking for something a little more intimate, sister bar Ste. Ellie’s is right next door and there’s plenty to eat there too.

Emily Hutto

If the contemporary American menu from chef Steven Redzikowski isn’t enticing enough —which rarely is the case — then surely the cocktail menu will be that extra push you need to make it into this RiNo hot spot. Try the City Park Swizzle, made with with H&G px sherry, Ron Zacapa 23 rum, five spice, lime, blackberries, and angostura bitters.

12 @ Madison

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Since opening in Congress Park in December of last year, chef Jeff Osaka charmed diners with small plates from a seasonally rotating menu, but barman Alex Kady is giving guests an extra reason to come or return: his cocktail menu.

12 @ Madison

Frasca Food and Wine

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It is hard to imagine that a cocktail menu can shine in a wine palace like this Boulder restaurant, but bar manager Allie Anderson likes a challenge like that. Grab a seat at her bar and order one of her seasonal creations.

Blackbelly

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This east Boulder gem owned by chef Hosea Rosenberg is one of those places where the inner carnivore will struggle to make choices surrounding what you’ll eat. The cocktail menu changes seasonally but there is always a rotating bartender’s punch..

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Departure

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This Cherry Creek hot spot that features a pan-Asian menu has a cocktail selection that fills the bar nightly. There are even tasty “no proof” options if consuming alcoholic isn’t on the agenda.

DEPARTURE -  DENVER Adam Larkey

This flagship French spot from restaurateur Frank Bonanno brings not only classic dishes but also an inventive and often-changing cocktail menu curated by barman Austin Carson.

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Beast + Bottle

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Not only is this sibling run eatery known for its quaint boutique bar and carefully crafted and sourced menu but the cocktails are fairly memorable too. Barman Jon Feuersanger also reigns over the booze menu at sister restaurant Coperta.

Beast + Bottle Scenes

Mercantile Dining & Provision

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Chefs Alex Seidel and Matt Vawter keep guests returning with elevated seasonal cuisine but the cocktails at this Union Station spot are also a major highlight. his dishes. Try the Nine and Nine, a tart and sweet cocktail made with Leopold Brothers gin, Dolin Blanc, Dimmi, kumquat, lemon, raspberry, honey, and sencha (a type of green tea).

MERCANTILE SCENES Rachel Greiman

Hop Alley

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The modern menu at this RiNo spot features Chinese fare with chef and owner Tommy Lee’s own twist. The clever cocktail lists brings creatively named cocktails — some named after zodiac signs — that are often as fun as their titles. Try the Happy Valley, made with Espolôn blanco tequila, pomegranate, gentian, and lime.

HOP ALLEY Adam Larkey

This quaint downtown Golden restaurant serves a menu that emphasizes seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. The cocktail menu matches the Colorado mountain feel with drinks like the Free Heel, which combine Spring44 Distilling gin, Leopold Bros three pins, housemade spruce liqueur, prosecco, and lemon.

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Colt & Gray

Emily Hutto

Known not only for exotic meaty fare — think bacon and cashew caramel corn or baked duck eggs — but also a creative cocktail menu, this LoHi classic comes with seasonally inspired ingredients and the friendliest of service. And if you’re looking for something a little more intimate, sister bar Ste. Ellie’s is right next door and there’s plenty to eat there too.

Emily Hutto

Acorn

If the contemporary American menu from chef Steven Redzikowski isn’t enticing enough —which rarely is the case — then surely the cocktail menu will be that extra push you need to make it into this RiNo hot spot. Try the City Park Swizzle, made with with H&G px sherry, Ron Zacapa 23 rum, five spice, lime, blackberries, and angostura bitters.

12 @ Madison

12 @ Madison

Since opening in Congress Park in December of last year, chef Jeff Osaka charmed diners with small plates from a seasonally rotating menu, but barman Alex Kady is giving guests an extra reason to come or return: his cocktail menu.

12 @ Madison

Frasca Food and Wine

It is hard to imagine that a cocktail menu can shine in a wine palace like this Boulder restaurant, but bar manager Allie Anderson likes a challenge like that. Grab a seat at her bar and order one of her seasonal creations.

Blackbelly

Blackbelly Facebook

This east Boulder gem owned by chef Hosea Rosenberg is one of those places where the inner carnivore will struggle to make choices surrounding what you’ll eat. The cocktail menu changes seasonally but there is always a rotating bartender’s punch..

Blackbelly Facebook

Departure

DEPARTURE -  DENVER Adam Larkey

This Cherry Creek hot spot that features a pan-Asian menu has a cocktail selection that fills the bar nightly. There are even tasty “no proof” options if consuming alcoholic isn’t on the agenda.

DEPARTURE -  DENVER Adam Larkey

Mizuna

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This flagship French spot from restaurateur Frank Bonanno brings not only classic dishes but also an inventive and often-changing cocktail menu curated by barman Austin Carson.

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Beast + Bottle

Beast + Bottle Scenes

Not only is this sibling run eatery known for its quaint boutique bar and carefully crafted and sourced menu but the cocktails are fairly memorable too. Barman Jon Feuersanger also reigns over the booze menu at sister restaurant Coperta.

Beast + Bottle Scenes

Mercantile Dining & Provision

MERCANTILE SCENES Rachel Greiman

Chefs Alex Seidel and Matt Vawter keep guests returning with elevated seasonal cuisine but the cocktails at this Union Station spot are also a major highlight. his dishes. Try the Nine and Nine, a tart and sweet cocktail made with Leopold Brothers gin, Dolin Blanc, Dimmi, kumquat, lemon, raspberry, honey, and sencha (a type of green tea).

MERCANTILE SCENES Rachel Greiman

Hop Alley

HOP ALLEY Adam Larkey

The modern menu at this RiNo spot features Chinese fare with chef and owner Tommy Lee’s own twist. The clever cocktail lists brings creatively named cocktails — some named after zodiac signs — that are often as fun as their titles. Try the Happy Valley, made with Espolôn blanco tequila, pomegranate, gentian, and lime.

HOP ALLEY Adam Larkey

Abejas

Abejas Facebook

This quaint downtown Golden restaurant serves a menu that emphasizes seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. The cocktail menu matches the Colorado mountain feel with drinks like the Free Heel, which combine Spring44 Distilling gin, Leopold Bros three pins, housemade spruce liqueur, prosecco, and lemon.

Abejas Facebook

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