Establishment neighborhood
Il Posto
2601 Larimer St., RiNo
After nine years at its original location in Uptown, Il Posto has recently re-opened in this two-story space, double the size, in the RiNo area. The sculptural light installation, 12-seat bar topped with a slab of Carrara marble, dark wood floors, and impressive views of Downtown are certainly a sleek departure from the old space, but Chef Andrea Frizzi’s Italian menu continues to impress—take, for instance, the beef candle, a bone marrow appetizer that melts into a dip, or more classic Italian standbys like their house-made burrata with huckleberry jam and lavash cracker. The menu may be relatively small, but you can’t go wrong, whether it’s their made-to-order risotto or classic calamari.
Bar Fausto
3126 Larimer St., RiNo
Jonathan Power (The Populist; Crema Coffee House) and Koan Goedman (Huckleberry Roasters) teamed up to open Bar Fausto, a cocktail/charcuterie spot in Denver's River North Art District (RiNo) in 2015. The open 2,000-square foot Bar Fausto is a fun take on an industrial space—a white cinder block wall is painted with strips of vibrant colors; the blue host stand looks like it was lifted out of a hipster lobby hotel. The focus here, the large, modern bar, serves an expanding list of specialty cocktails—which are known by numbers (#42, #43, and so on) as opposed to name. There's also a tight selection of beer and wine to choose from. While Fausto is more bar than restaurant, on the food side, there's antipasti items, cheese and salami, salads, crudo, bruschetta, plus a couple of more substantial plates if you come hungrier.
4301 Pecos St., RiNo
This local coffee roaster began without a brick and mortar shop open to the public, but soon expanded into this flagship space thanks in part to a successful Kickstarter campaign. True to their creed, you’ll find some seriously good coffee inside, as well as a comfortable, bright space with colorful accents and outdoor seating. If you’re interested, you can also sign up to take one of their coffee workshops, which are designed to teach everything from brew methods and extraction basics to milk steaming to sensory evaluation.
Hop Alley
3500 Larimer St., RiNo
Tommy Lee from Denver's popular noodle bar, Uncle, named his second spot in honor of Denver's original Chinatown—Hop Alley's small, creative food menu takes cues from a range of Taiwanese, Cantonese, Sichuan, and Hunan flavors. We like to come for drinks most, though—the cocktails are likewise inventive: In addition to their original concoctions, Hop Alley puts their own spin on classics—like an old fashioned served with amaro, madeira wine, and smoked tea. The eclectic beer/wine list matches suit.
The Populist
3163 Larimer St., RiNo
Nestled among the bars, breweries, and art galleries occupying the former warehouses of Denver’s flourishing RiNo (Riverfront North) Art District, the Populist has plenty of urban charm. Chef Power regularly rotates the concise menu, made up of New American dishes, to ensure a different experience almost every visit, and the communal tables and small plates are meant to encourage a shareable dining experience. Menu favorites include the Korean croquettes, leek fonduta agnolotti, and the grass-fed burger, and we like to order salt and vinegar popcorn to munch on as soon as we sit down.
2500 Larimer St., RiNo
The second restaurant from restaurateur Kelly Whitaker, Cart-Driver occupies an unimaginably tiny shipping container tucked into a cozy corner of RiNo. Like at Basta, his restaurant in Boulder, Whitaker specializes in perfect-crust pizza, and here, the only other menu items to distract you are fresh oysters and a small handful of appetizers. There's a lovely patio and simple, all-you-need cocktail list, plus prosecco on tap, so it makes a great happy hour spot when you want to do a bit of snacking. (That said, they're open until midnight every night.)
The Plimoth
2335 E. 28th Ave., RiNo
Located north of Park Hill in a neighborhood where there aren't many other restaurants, the Plimoth feels a little off the beaten path, and since the interior is cozy and dimly lit, that has the effect of making it feel a little romantic, too. The menu (which changes frequently depending on what's available) is a French/Italian hybrid that makes great use of adventurous vegetables in dishes like a cracklin' chicken with red corn polenta, apple, mushroom, rutabaga, celeriac, and butternut squash; a pork loin with clams, broccolini, and yellow-eye beans; and pavlova made with preserved Colorado cherries.
The Source
3350 Brighton Blvd., RiNo
Culinarily—and culturally—speaking, The Source is probably one of the most important developments Denver's seen in the past few years. Occupying a spacious former brick foundry, it's packed with some of the best restaurants and food vendors in town, and topped off with a few office spaces (Slow Food makes their Denver headquarters here), so depending on when you arrive, you'll see people going out for drinks or dinner, doing their daily shopping, or heading to work. Right when you walk in, you'll find Comida, a Mexican spot with a great happy hour and tacos, and Acorn, the Denver restaurant from Oak owner/chef Steven Redzikowski that's easily one of Denver's top fine dining establishments. There, ask for a seat in the mezzanine, which has beautiful views of the mountains during the day. People drive from across town for the baguettes and ciabatta at Babette's bakery, and you can see cuts of meat hanging through the plexiglass from her next-door neighbor, Western Daughters Butcher. Across the way, there's a small-but-mighty art gallery, Svper Ordinary, and Mondo Market, where you can pick up spices, oils, vinegars, and other pantry items. Meanwhile, in…
2862 Larimer St., RiNo
This hipster coffee shop was an early comer to RiNo, and it's still a reliable neighborhood caffeine-pump all week long—you'll always find people typing away on laptops, or local artists and business owners getting together for meetings (particularly in the summer, when you can sit on a lovely outdoor patio). They're known for great coffee, but it's a mistake to skip the food here, particularly the brunch—we love the sweet potato waffles, the pork belly banh mi sandwich, and the everything cookie, which is packed with Oreos and pretzels.
Topo Designs
2500 Larimer St., RiNo
Topo Designs is a Colorado-based company, and this shop was their first-ever brick-and-mortar (though they now have several locations in Denver and Boulder). The outdoor brand is best known for their brightly colored packs for hiking, backpacking, bike commuting, or just bopping around town (they also make the best, most durable laptop sleeves), and for the fact that all of their products are made in the United States. In the shop, you’ll find a full selection of their offerings, plus favorites from Zeal and Smith Optics, Ursa Major, Wigwam, and Hestra.