West End Tavern
926 Pearl St., Boulder
Truly a neighborhood bar, West End Tavern has been around for decades—though you wouldn't know it from the updated décor. Everything about the place is as inviting and warm as you might hope: The menu is full of genuinely delicious comfort food, from sautéed greens and deviled eggs to burgers to roast-pork sandwiches and shrimp po’ boys, plus some seriously good barbecue. Of course, the bar has craft cocktails, more than seventy-five bourbons to choose from, and a draft and bottled beer line-up that really showcases Colorado’s craft beer culture. There’s indoor and outdoor rooftop seating with some of the best views in the area, and this is also a great place to watch a Buffs game.
Work & Class
2500 Larimer St., Curtis Park
Work & Class is named to represent its simple ethos, which is their goal to provide a “square meal, stiff drink, and fair price.” And really, that kind of undersells it—the Southern–Latin American menu from chef Dana Rodriguez is full of inventive small plates from bacon-wrapped jalapeños, shrimp and grits, and chickpea croquettes to salads like their “massive attack” (tempura broccoli, asparagus, avocado, spinach, cucumbers, parmesan) to substantial meat and fish offerings like whole fried Idaho trout and cochinita pibil. Designed inside some re-purposed shipping containers, the restaurant is small, always packed, and pretty loud and lively.
1651 Broadway, Boulder
Boulder's original natural foods store has an extensive selection of organic produce, premium versions of just about every item you can think of, a great selection of vegetarian- and vegan-friendly products, plus a slew of gluten-free products (including a whole case dedicated to gluten-free pastry). Locals and out-of-towners alike come for the shop's deli and sushi stand at lunchtime; and their wine shop is a must-stop (they offer happy-hour tastings, 5pm to 7pm, on Tuesdays and Fridays).
2418 W. 32nd Ave., Highlands
Everything in this family-run, neighborhood LoHi café is amazing, from their breakfast pastries (prepared fresh on-site each morning, they typically sell out quickly) to their coffee, to their flour-less apricot oatmeal bars. Their egg sandwich, served on toasted brioche—which you can customize with add-ons like bacon, Swiss, or arugula—gets a special shout-out. The space itself is as charming as you would expect, and the absence of WiFi fosters a community vibe you didn’t realize you were craving.
2040 W. 30th Ave., Highland
Opened in May 2011 and set in the old Olinger mortuary building at the LoHi Marketplace, Goldyn’s OG brick-and-mortar boutique is like a highly fashionable conduit for indie designers more typically found in, say, LA and NYC. But the goods here translate perfectly to the hip LoHi neighborhood and Denver’s generally laid-back vibe; here, you’ll find chic, versatile pieces from designers the likes of Rachel Comey, Lauren Manoogian, Helmut Lang, MM6, and Apiece Apart; boots by Freda Salvador; sunglasses by Illesteva; hats by Janessa Leone; locally made home goods; and handmade beauty products by R.L. Linden & Co.
MAX Clothing Store
264 Detroit St., Cherry Creek
Max Martinez and his eponymous stores (there are also locations in Boulder and Aspen) are really the cream of the Colorado fashion crop. An early buyer of now-household names like Isabel Marant, the boutiques (a partnership between Martinez and owner Scott Seale) always carry a mix of name-brand classics and little-known newcomers. It’s probably the most luxurious of the area’s boutiques, so go for investment pieces like Nili Lotan sweaters, Céline bags, and Pierre Hardy boots. If you can, try to stop in when Max is in the store—in addition to being the warmest host imaginable, he has an amazing eye for pieces that flatter.
1475 E. 17th Ave., City Park
A relative newcomer to Denver’s taco scene, Dos Santos is among the best: Whether you choose their grilled steak, slow-roasted pork, or chicken tinga tacos, you won’t be disappointed. Our favorite is the O.M.F.G., a bib lettuce-wrapped offering filled with raw tuna, lime cilantro aioli, pickled onion, avocado, and cabbage. (Their guacamole is just as inspired: If you’re so inclined, you can try it with fresh fruit and bacon, or with pumpkin seed, nopal, and roasted tomatillos.) Cement floors, exposed brick, and colorful chairs add to the taqueria’s charm—as does a nice selection of local and Mexican beers, plus amazing margaritas.
Hazel & Dewey
70 S. Broadway, South Broadway
Hazel & Dewey is a haven for hygge-inducing home goods and gifts, with an emphasis on creating the perfect, cooly curated kitchen. A small sampling of what you’ll find here: beeswax candles; artisanal bitters and cocktail mixers, shakers, and other home-bar essentials; clean bath & body products for men and women from Los Poblanos; glasses, plates, serving ware, knives and cutting boards, and (our favorite!) Staub cookware; cookbooks, mandolins, and beautiful handcrafted cherry-wood spoons of all kinds by Jonathan's Spoons; edible treats, from small-batch candy to tea and coffee to jams, spices, and local honey; hand-thrown ceramic mugs, Japanese stoneware...the list goes on.
59 Broadway, South Broadway
Fancy Tiger originally started as a clothing boutique selling Colorado designers and key accessories like hats and jewelry (along with home goods like candles and pillows), but recently, they opened a craft-focused sister shop next-door. They sell everything it takes to make your own clothing, accessories, and home goods—fabrics, yarn, sewing notions, dyes, patterns for sewing, plus kits for crocheting, knitting, quilting, embroidery. You can also take hands-on classes here, from beginner-level (think: Sewing 101) to intermediate, project-based courses where you’ll learn how to knit hats and scarves, read and make patterns so you can design and create your own clothing, and even turn a cherished Pendleton blanket into a clutch or tote bag.
Cedar & Hyde
2015 10th St., Boulder
Cedar & Hyde is a one-stop shop for modern-mountain-chic giftables for everyone on your list—from minimalist jewelry, clean perfume oil, and aromatic candles for her, to denim, henleys, leather accessories, and grooming provisions for him. Sisters Christie and Poss Lambert own and curate this charming his-and-hers lifestyle shop, keeping it stocked with a dreamy array of small/indie/artisanal designers like Lauren Manoogian, Amo Denim, Baserange, Hope, Jessie Kamm, and Hansel from Basel; plus, hand-picked home goods, of-the-moment cookbooks, quarterlies, and magazines (i.e. Gather Journal); hand-made wooden and ceramic plates, bowls, and pottery, hand-woven turkish towels; and even camping gear. Good luck leaving here without a few gifts for yourself on top of a slew of souvenirs for your loved ones.
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