Denver and romance go hand in hand. Whether you're on your first date or your 50th, here are some of our favorite starry-eyed spots.
HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDE
16th Street Mall
You're heard the Frank Sinatra lyrics: "Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage." We can't help you with popping the question, but if you want to add some spark to your love life - or just rekindle the romance, slow down the pace and take in the historical sites of downtown Denver from the intimate confines of a horse-drawn carriage - we highly suggest this classic carriage ride that meanders along the 16th Street Mall and the city's surrounding side streets. Various pick-up points along the 16th Street Mall. 303-670-3134
3030 E. 6th Ave.
The lovely two-top, buttressed against the flickering glow of the fireplace, is not just one of most sought after tables in town, but also one of the most coveted spots for an intimate tête-à-tête. Named for the wine of the Northwestern Italian province of Piedmont, Barolo Grill is a convivial restaurant, strewn with grapes from the vine, wine bottles and farmhouse touches, all of which give it an air of rustic sophistication. Executive chef Brian Laird, whose cooking compliments the expansive wine roster, turns out sharable dishes like the fritto misto per due - fried shrimp, calamari and scallops pooled in harissa mayonnaise.
1420 Larimer St.
Flirting habitués find fun and romance at this Larimer Square French food temple that speaks oh-la-la at every turn. Tucked into a secret back alley, Bistro Vendome's sunflower-yellow interior, with its warm golden glow of flickering candlelight, whimsical chalkboard menu, scarred hardwood floors and welcoming vibe, is an idyllic date spot. The scarlet canopied, foliage-flush jardin is just as ambient, especially during spring and summer when the showers of flowers are in full bloom. But no matter where you park your tush, chef Matt Anderson's menu - foie gras, escargot, steak tartare, mussels and frites - is a jubilee.
650 15th St.
From the skyscraping 27th floor of the towering Hyatt Regency Denver, you can pop the cork (or question) while beholding the heart-palpitating panoramas from the Peaks Lounge, a gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windowed bar showcasing memorable vistas of the Rocky Mountains and bright-lit city skyline. Furbished with plush oversized sofas and chairs and illuminated by flame of a blazing fireplace, it's a place that invites lingering, even if the altitude-high drink prices might cost you more than an engagement ring. But, oh those views!
COUPLES COOKING CLASSES
Cook Street School of Fine Cooking, 1937 Market St.
Denver boasts a smorgasbord of culinary schools, several of which offer classes for couples. The intimate "Date Night" get-togethers at A Cook's Kitchen, a contemporary cooking school spearheaded by Elizabeth Woessner and television personality Claudine Pepin, a James Beard award winner, flaunt flutes of bubbly and a four-course dinner, while Cook Street School of Fine Cooking is a perfect opportunity to treat your soul mate to a multi-course romantic dinner for two - and then experiment with the recipes in the privacy of your own kitchen.
1717 Champa St.
It's easy to get lucky in love at Hotel Monaco, renowned for its elegantly appointed rooms and suites bedecked with feather down pillows and comforters, bold color-schemes (think racy reds), deluxe bath amenities and playful furnishings. Indulge in the hotel's afternoon wine hour, complete with complimentary chair massages, slide into a booth for two at Panzano, the excellent, on-site Northern Italian restaurant, and in the morning, luxuriate in a massage, either in your room or at the Renaissance Aveda Spa and Salon.
LANNIE'S CLOCKTOWER CABARET
1601 Arapahoe St.
If you're bored with the bar scene, but still fancy a classy place to sip and sup while taking in top entertainment, join the other canoodling couples at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret, a sensually attired, Parisian-styled nightclub, tucked in the basement level of the historic D&F Clocktower in downtown Denver. The sexy showroom, owned by local songstress Lannie Garrett, dazzles with its clusters of chenille-draped tables illuminated by antique chandeliers dangling cowboy boots and clocks. Everyone from piano bar crooners and vocal impressionists to vaudeville comedians and jazzy national acts grace the sprawling stage.
VESTA DIPPING GRILL
1822 Blake St.
This distinctive concept of dipping and sharing entrees makes Vesta Dipping Grill one of the first restaurants in town to sell out for Valentines Day. Mostly two-tops and cozy booths fill this chic downtown spot. The lighting is just enough to see what you’re dipping into some of the 36 sauces offered. Ready to split a dessert? Take turns dipping it into hot fudge, crème anglaise or strawberry Cointreau, and compare notes – and maybe more…