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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.

1. Colt & Gray

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1553 Platte St
Denver, CO
(303) 477-1447
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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

2. Acorn

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3350 Brighton Blvd
Denver, CO
(720) 542-3721
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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.

3. 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

4. Frasca Food and Wine

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1738 Pearl St
Boulder, CO
(303) 442-6966
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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.

5. Blackbelly

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1606 Conestoga St
Boulder, CO

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

6. Departure

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249 Columbine St
Denver, CO
(720) 772-5020
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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

7. Mizuna

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225 E 7th Ave
Denver, CO
(303) 832-4778
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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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8. Beast + Bottle

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719 E 17th Ave
Denver, CO
(303) 623-3223
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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

9. Mercantile Dining & Provision

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1701 Wynkoop St
Denver, CO
(720) 460-3733
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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

10. Hop Alley

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3500 Larimer St.
Denver, CO
(720) 379-8340
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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

11. Abejas

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807 13th St
Golden, CO
(303) 952-9745
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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

1. Colt & Gray

1553 Platte St, Denver, CO
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.

1553 Platte St
Denver, CO

2. Acorn

3350 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO

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.

3350 Brighton Blvd
Denver, CO

3. 12 @ Madison

Denver, CO
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.

4. Frasca Food and Wine

1738 Pearl St, Boulder, CO

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.

1738 Pearl St
Boulder, CO

5. Blackbelly

1606 Conestoga St, Boulder, CO
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..

1606 Conestoga St
Boulder, CO

6. Departure

249 Columbine St, Denver, CO
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.

249 Columbine St
Denver, CO

7. Mizuna

225 E 7th Ave, Denver, CO
Mizuna Facebook

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.

225 E 7th Ave
Denver, CO

8. Beast + Bottle

719 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO
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.

719 E 17th Ave
Denver, CO

9. Mercantile Dining & Provision

1701 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO
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).

1701 Wynkoop St
Denver, CO

10. Hop Alley

3500 Larimer St., Denver, CO
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.

3500 Larimer St.
Denver, CO

11. Abejas

807 13th St, Golden, CO
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.

807 13th St
Golden, CO

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