When you host a meeting, incentive trip, conference or event in Denver, you’re not just treating your guests to the country’s best scenery. You’re also treating them to one of its most dynamic food, wine and spirits scenes.
Here, passionate chefs, vintners and distillers are working their magic on products plucked right from the nearby mountainsides, as well as ingredients imported from around the world. The results: A bounty of flavorful dishes and drinks that do more than just keep your guests energized—they get them excited about your next event.
Ready to host an event that will get people talking? Here are some of the city’s most popular restaurants, wineries and distilleries.
Denver’s restaurants are gaining a reputation. The city was recently named one of Zagat’s Top Five Most Exciting Food Cities. The culinary scene also attracted the attention of the TV network Bravo, which filmed season 15 of the Emmy Award-winning series “Top Chef” right here in Colorado. Many of Denver’s most popular producers, chefs and restaurants were featured on the show.
But it’s not just the media that’s taking notice. Here, you can wine and dine your guests at restaurants that have won some of the country's top food awards.
Host an intimate networking reception on the patio of Mediterranean-inspired Rioja, owned by a winner of the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest. Or treat your guests to elevated comfort food at Mercantile Dining & Provision; a winner of the Food & Wine magazine Best New Chef award (and himself a recipient of the 2018 James Beard Best Chef Southwest award) runs the restaurant. When it’s time for dessert, or if you want to take your coffee breaks to new heights, consider the cakes and cupcakes at D Bar Denver, a sweet shop owned by one of the country’s top pastry chefs.
If you’re looking for locations that meet all your event planning needs, several of the hotels offer first-class meeting facilities and first-class dining. Inside the Halcyon hotel, for example, “Top Chef” runner-up Gregory Gourdet serves bold and dynamic dishes like chili and lemongrass tiger prawns at his modern Asian kitchen, Departure. While the chefs at Citizen Rail, located in downtown’s Kimpton Hotel Born, craft traditional favorites like dry-aged steaks and a burger they say is “so rich it’s almost obscene.”
When it’s time for group excursions, consider a food market. At the Denver Central Market, you can enjoy fresh bread, charcuterie and seafood. Avanti F&B, inspired by European food markets, features a variety of vendors, as well as amazing views of downtown. Finally, The Source, an artisan food market occupying a former 1880s iron foundry, serves everything from street tacos to sour beers.
In addition to the award-winning vintners, Denver’s distillery and craft cocktail scene is also making a splash. From hidden speakeasies and lounges to rugged microdistilleries, Denver offers plenty of places for you to impress and entertain even the most selective of spirit connoisseurs.
Take the Cruise Room at The Oxford Hotel. The first bar in the city to open after Prohibition ended, the Cruise Room is often called Denver’s original cocktail lounge. You will love meeting and mingling over the mirrored bar and retro booths that were modeled after the ones aboard the original Queen Mary ocean liner. Pop a coin into the jukebox to get the party started.
For a sumptuous event, host a party at one of the city’s speakeasies. The Green Russell serves handcrafted cocktails behind a swinging door hidden in a downtown bakery. While the mixologists at Millers & Rossi work their magic in a hidden corner of one of RiNo’s most popular modern art galleries. After you make it in, order a drink made with spirits from one of the local distilleries, including Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, Vapor Distillery and Leopold Bros.
To learn even more about the local libations, you can also visit distilleries like The Family Jones Spirit House. Located in the trendy LoHi district, this spirit house makes its own vodkas, rums and whiskeys. The tasting room is also a great place to enjoy cocktails like “the heat of the moment”, which is a mix of rum, yellow bell pepper and black pepper syrup, or “the rock & rye”, made with fall spices, dried fruit and kola nut.
Another popular spot is Laws Whiskey House. In addition to tasting whiskeys like the smooth Four Grain Straight Bourbon Farmers Select, your group will also learn about the intricacies of the whiskey distilling process and how the open-air fermentation and barreling processes make Laws Whiskey House’s liquors so special.
Don’t want to make your attendees choose between their favorite Denver distilleries? Let VISIT DENVER help you arrange a tour of the city’s best. It’s a great way to educate your guests about the spirit-making process, turn them on to Denver’s best libations and reward them for all their hard work.