This post is going to be short because Alex and I have only ever spent one day and one night in Denver. Every other time I have visited, it has been flying into the airport and immediately leaving to head to the mountains, Boulder, or Colorado Springs. Hopefully one day, we will have a reason to spend more time in the city of Denver, because it is a vibrant and active city with a great food scene. A lot of up and coming chefs have restaurants in Denver, and mixology is taken to a whole new level at the bars.
Alex and I spent an afternoon and night in Denver, and made the most of our short visit thanks to some really awesome recommendations from our friends Finn and Laura. Laura lived in Denver at the time, so she had the inside scoop on all of the best places! There are so many places we wanted to try, but here are the ones we made it to.
Root Down was highly recommended to us by our friends. We had high expectations when we got to the restaurant, but our experience even exceeded our expectations. Root Down is a trendy farm-to-table concept, or as they refer to it, “field-to-fork.” The food is natural, organic, and local. The style of cuisine is American-eclectic and the staff is incredible and went out of their way to make our experience perfect. The restaurant also is fantastic at pairing cocktails with meals. We actually didn’t want drinks, but they made us delicious mocktails anyway! Root Down frequently changes its menus (see the current menus here) so you probably won’t see the items we had, which included goat cheese stuffed and bacon wrapped figs as a starter, and absolutely heavenly chocolate chip bread pudding as dessert.
If you are a beer snob like me, Colorado has plenty of great breweries. Great Divide is one of a few microbreweries in Denver and is a great place to stop and sample some beers. You may be familiar with some of their more popular beers: Denver Pale Ale, Yeti, and Titan IPA. We were too late for a tour, but had drinks in the tap room. One of the things I really liked was that you could pay various prices for various size samples. The smallest size was $1 or $2, so I ordered several of those so I could try as many beers as possible. I’m a big fan of trying everything! Great Divide also had a great atmosphere with knowledgeable staff. Definitely make a visit!
After Great Divide, we met our friends at Forest Room 5 for some cocktails. Forest Room 5 is to this day, one of my favorite bars that I have ever been to. It is cozy and eclectic. The decor inside is all wood and brick with antique touches and old books and the outdoor area has a bonfire. It was the perfect place to go for some small plates and cocktails, especially on a cold winter night. I would love to go back when it is a little warmer to take advantage of the outdoor area!
Finn and Laura also highly recommended that we stay at the beautiful and ornate Brown Palace, which opened in 1892 and is one of the oldest hotels in Denver. When we stepped inside, it felt as if we had stepped back in time. Many famous people have visited and stayed in the hotel, including The Beatles and every president since Teddy Roosevelt (except for Calvin Coolidge). The Brown Palace has its own artesian well which provides water to every faucet and fountain in the hotel to this day. The hotel also has a spa and several restaurant options if you are staying for a few days.
One thing you must do, whether or not you are staying at The Brown Palace, is have Afternoon High Tea there. It is such a fun and unique experience. I noticed several mother-daughter pairs and groups of girls, and most were very dressed up. I think it would be such a fun activity to do with a group of friends or female family members. In fact, I loved the experience so much that it actually inspired me to have a tea for my bridesmaids at our wedding later that year! Alex and I got The Royal Tea, which included a tea of your choice, a glass of Kir Royale, house-made scones served with Devonshire cream, preserves, finger sandwiches and classic tea pastries and finished with a Brown Palace truffle. I believe it was $100 each and was so worth it!
And before we recap, here are a couple of pictures from our walk/drive around Denver later that evening.
Root Down, 1600 W 33rd Ave, Denver, CO 80211
Great Divide Brewery, 2201 Arapahoe St, Denver, CO 80205
Forest Room 5, 2532 15th St, Denver, CO 80211
The Brown Palace, 321 17th St, Denver, Colorado 80202
[…] As always, we had a great time in Denver, even if it was only for a few hours. Special thanks to our friend Finn, who is a great tour guide! If you don’t have a few hours in Denver, but have a layover at Denver International Airport, make sure you grab a bite to eat at Root Down in the C terminal. I haven’t been to too many airports that offer award-winning cuisine from a local favorite, so take advantage of the opportunity in Denver! We were able to meet Finn and Laura for drinks there on our way back from Montana and previously enjoyed a dinner at the location in Denver (read about our last “Day in Denver” here). […]