Step Out and Dig In: The Best Bars and Restaurants in the Most Walkable Neighborhoods

Photo Courtesy of Super Mega Bien on Facebook

What’s better than a culinary adventure right in your neighborhood? This is the ultimate -guide to exploring the coolest eateries in the most walkable neighborhoods. Whether you’re a foodie looking for the next hotspot or simply craving some good eats, lace up your shoes and discover the hidden gems waiting just around the corner in some of Denver’s favorite ‘hoods. 

Photo Courtesy of Senor Bear on Facebook


Jacques – While this newcomer French restaurant may have already won you over with its outstanding dinner menu, don’t sleep on popping in for brunch. Jacques offers several small plates that are share-worthy, like the Cèsar salad – chicory, chèvre-caesar dressing, garlic, crispy capers, gremolata and pecorino and the confit chicken hash with sunchoke, potato and a perfect egg. After that, dive fork first into the exquisitely folded omelette aux Boursin-filled with with Boursin and herbs. Get an order of the tater tots – the most perfectly crispy exterior and fluffy interior—C’est un bon début – a (really) good start to your day.

Kawa Ni – Looking for something to snack on and a great bar? Belly up and grab a hot order of the Szechuan dumplings – ponzu, garlic hot oil – and some cold sesame noodles – sesame-peanut sauce, chili crunch, and Szechuan pickled vegetables from Kawa Ni. Wash it down with one of Kawa’ Ni’s sake bombs – $5 for select happy hour options. Its cocktail menu offers a variety of flavorful choices like the Maya Bae – tequila, coconut, sesame, cucumber, pineapple and lime – as well as beer, wine and highball options that expand across the rest of the cocktail menu.

Señor Bear – If you are looking for happy hour, there is no doubt Señor Bear is on your radar. The Gordo crunch is always a standout – hard and soft shell, chorizo verde, special sauce, cheese and shrettuce – and be sure to get your dip on with house-made guacamole – topped with pistachio sikil pak and a side of tortilla chips. Or a mini order of queso – loaded with caramelized onions, rajas, peanut salsa macha, pepitas and queso fresco. Order yourself a shot of Espolõn reposado and splurge with a rotating frozie – pro move, make it “Miami Vice” style and get a twist of both flavors.

Uncle – Even with the warmer weather approaching, it’s safe to say there is no bad time of the year for ramen. If you head in for a steamy bowl of spicy chicken ramen – chicken & pork based spicy sesame broth, seared confit chicken, bean sprouts, soft poached egg, sesame seeds, scallion – or the Khao Soi – Northern Thai curry noodles in a vegan yellow curry broth, king trumpet mushrooms, chili jam, crispy noodles, red onion, pickled mustard greens, cilantro and lime. Stay for the soft shell crab buns – Panko crusted fried soft shell crab, coconut mayo, spicy cilantro nam prik, cabbage slaw – which are insanely fluffy, slightly spicy, and delightfully crispy.

Alma Fonda Fina – If you are on foot and find yourself craving some authentic, yet contemporary Mexican cuisine, look no further than Alma Fonda Fina.  The relatively new spot is rooted in Spanish tradition, “Alma translates to soul while Fonda Fina describes a humble neighborhood spot for friends and family to gather.” And it’s easy to see why this spot is getting so much attention. With a relatively small, but delightfully satisfying menu including select taco and crudo options you could almost order it all – with a crew, of course. Start with the quesadilla frita – chicharron prensado, queso fresco, salsa de tomatillo and crema agria – and keep it going with an order of the taco de suadero – heirloom corn tortilla, 8-Hour confit Colorado brisket, salsa de Chile De Arbol, scallions and cilantro. Any of the 3 crudo options would make your tummy smile, but the go-to is the callo de hacha al horno – Maine diver scallops, serrano ponzo, tomato butter and chives. Humble, soulful and dang delicious.

Occidental – Your favorite almost corner dive bar secretly has a refined and complex cocktail menu and a crave-worthy kitchen menu that puts out some seriously inventive bites. Expand your mezcal palate with the santa perrona – mezcal, serrano, avocado foam – or go for the crushable yuzu-2000-N-Late with vodka, gin, italian amaro, coconut, matcha and yuzu. Hungry? If you didn’t get the chicken shawarma tots – djaj chicken thigh, caramelized shallot, Tabasco, mozzarella, lemon parsley tahini, aioli, micro cilantro and parsley – did you even really go to the Ox?

READ: The Power Couple Behind Newly Opened Alma Fonda Fina
Photo Courtesy of Odell Brewing Co on Facebook

Sloan’s Lake/Edgewater

Side Pony – Finish off your 2.6 mile loop around Sloan’s Lake and head two blocks up to the corner of Vrain and Colfax to find yourself a prime seat at Side Pony. Not only is it the perfect spot for people watching with its floor to ceiling windows, but you can reward your hard work with the most perfectly frothy U Up? espresso martini – vodka, borghetti, averna, cinnamon and nitro cold brew. Not to mention happy hour is 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., so you might as well grab a baguette with butter and truffle salt and stay for another!

Barquentine – Just west of Sloan’s Lake this family owned brewery is pumping out traditional and modern options to make any beer drinker a happy happy human. Pick your favorite to drink there, or take out 16oz cans to enjoy at home. Introduce yourself with the Sloan’s Lake Yacht Club – an easy-sipping, straw-colored ale with a twinge of fruity yeast – and work your way up to the Mined, Bottled & Sold – a gold ale where fermentation esters combine Juicy Fruit and pear. Don’t worry dark beer lovers, you’re covered too – try the Splice the Mainbrace – a dark tavern ale with notes of dark cacao and toasted chestnuts in a medium-bodied, shadowy-brown beer.

Odell Brewhouse & Pizzeria – Another great option after a lake stroll that leaves you thirsty and hungry is Odells. With a rooftop and a dog friendly patio, it’s a great option for the whole family. With a variety of starters and salads to get you going, indulge in a creative scratch-made pizza like the Truffle Shuffle – sautéed Hazel Dell mushrooms, shallots, crunchy kale, truffle oil, mozzarella, homemade alfredo base – or the Diavola – pepperoni, jalapeños, fresnos, mozzarella and basil on a spicy red sauce. 16 tap handles provide all the beer options necessary to cool down any day.

Cholon – A new kid on the block with a familiar face is tucked right into the Lakehouse at Cholon. Expect your downtown favorites like the soup dumplings – steaming with French Onion and Gruyère Cheese – and the shrimp shumai drizzled with a garlic chili butter. Happy hour is 4 p.m. to  5:30 p.m. every day and features several small bite offerings such as the crispy chicken spring rolls and the pork potstickers with a candied ginger mustard. Basically the perfect spot for after work snacks.

The Electric Cure – Everyone’s favorite ‘weird little rum bar’ posted just off of Sheridan Boulevard. Quirky, vibrant, yet delightfully dark The Electric Cure might not be for everyone, but for those seeking a neighborhood craft cocktail bar it brings the heat. Happy hour boasts several beer and shot combos, a $3 glizzie, and a classic daiquiri with rum, lime and simple. The real fun starts as you work your way through the tiki style cocktail menu with creations like Altar Boy Blues – tequila Tromba, Rhum agricole, blueberry, yuzu, orgeat and lemon – or the Holy Water Hooch – house infused Thai chili-cinnamon Santa Teresa and Bacardi Ocho rums, honey and angostura bitters. With outstanding glassware, strong drinks and heavy vibes it’s a must try.

Rupert’s at the Edge – Being able to walk to breakfast or brunch should automatically be an option for neighborhood searches. With a sprawling menu offering everything from eggs to sandwiches there is a cure to any hangover or hunger pains you might be faced with. Whether you need a mimosa – by the glass or bottle – a traditional or spicy bloody Mary, or simply a cup of fresh brewed coffee Rupert’s has you covered. Look out for the Edgewater breakfast sandwich on a toasted brioche bun, with scrambled eggs, American cheese, roasted red pepper ketchup served with potato cakes – or give the vegan friendly French toast a whirl – French bread dipped in coconut and hemp milk batter, with chia seeds, cinnamon and nutmeg – and you’ll be ready to take on anything.

Photo Courtesy of Gold Point on Facebook


Hop Alley – Consider Hop Alley the big sister of Uncle, a great place for a date or just a night out with your bestie. With its new Chef’s counter dining available Thursday, Friday and Saturday prepare to treat yo self  with a rotating menu. Current selections include chicken fried swordfish – swordfish tonnato, caper and kizami wasabi – and a playful ‘bubbles and bites‘ – Dungeness crab dip, bbq chips and champagne. Prefer table dining? Build your experience and choose something from each category – like the gai lan – grilled Chinese broccoli with schmaltz, oyster sauce and house made duck salt – the incredibly addictive shrimp toast – pan de mie, whipped shrimp & chicken thigh, mustard gastrique, tiger vinaigrette – and the savory, umami packed mushroom fried rice – mixed mushroom. pickled shiitake, marinated tofu, fried egg. Cocktails are always on point and ready to pair with your meal – whatever path you choose.

Super Mega Bien – Located in the Ramble Hotel, SMB is playful, delicious and ready to be shared. With Latin and Cuban inspirations, you can expect perfect bites from the croquetas – arborio rice, pablano peppers, leeks, parmesan, pablano crema – and the savory Ropa Vieja – Cuban style slow braised beef, plantains, olive tapenade. Branch out and give the bacalao a go – oil-poached octopus, adobo marinated cod, ajo negro sauce, hearts of palm, roasted carrots and tomatoes. The cocktail menu draws from the same inspiration with options like a classic Fernet & Coke, and a Chicha Morada – dark rum, Peruvian purple corn, spices, pineapple. Order a few off either menu and relax. You’re in super good hands.

Cart Driver – Who knew that oysters and pizza could go so well together – Cart Driver did. Think of it as a playful Italian cafe, where you can get a variety of spritzes like the local nod to The Block Distilling Co. with TBDC house-made amaro and prosecco, market price oysters or a crushable seafood conserva -tinned seafood, black olive butter, piada, sambal pepper relish and fresh lemon. But don’t worry – if you come for the pizza you’ll get just as tasty of rewards – like its name sake Cart Driver – with sausage, kale, mozzarella and chili flake. Open from noon until midnight daily, its a solid option any time of day.

Gold Point – If you need a place to take an out-of-town house guest for cocktails, no doubt you’ll want to pop into Gold Point for the frozen Jameson Irish Coffee alone. Inventive and nostalgic, try the emmy lou – reminiscent of movie theater popcorn but make it rum – popcorn washed rum, dark rum, spiced syrup, creole bitters and cream soda pipette. They are host to many themed events throughout the year including a wildly fun game night, so be sure to follow along on social.

The Greenwich – A notable Larimer staple that is primetime for an “ingredient driven, unpretentious” experience, it offers a great happy hour menu with $8 and $9 cocktail options, as well as the nearly notorious lamb meatball calzone – tomato sauce, gouda, grana Padano and tzatziki. Its dinner menu is colorful and hearty with salad offerings and King Mountain cattle wagyu carpaccio – black garlic aioli, roasted sesame, pickled turnip – heading into the heavy hitters that include squash ‘orzotto’ – poached egg, Jacob’s oyster mushrooms, kale and grana padano. Happy hour or any hour, The Greenwich is a treat.

Patio dreams. Photo courtesy of Perdida.

Wash Park/Platt Park

Que Bueno Suerte! – Pearl Street’s favorite Mexican restaurant that blends the best of “the Baja, the basics, and The Rockies.” Start with brunch, where you can choose from all your favorite classics like tacos, burritos and fundido – oh my! Swing by for happy hour and snag a margarita and a rotating daily taco, or save it – and room – for dinner and opt for the que bueno “fiery fajitas” – tableside flambe fajitas with roasted peppers,  onions and fresh tortillas. Trust us, it’s bueno BUENO.

Restaurant Olivia – Want to get out of the house for a real treat? How does homemade pasta sound? With a standout wine menu and a variety of negronis to choose from – like gin, bitter bianco, salers, pear and lillet blanc – this Italian hot spot feels as homemade as it actually is – with the option to go straight for the tasting menu. Otherwise, expect the coziest comforts with the crab bisque – Dungeness crab, sourdough gnocchi, yucca chips – and the fluffy ravioli– packed with caramelized onion, gruyère fondue and crispy parmesan. An even better option is to keep the sweatpants on and order a take and bake lasagna to enjoy from your couch.

Perdida – All neighborhoods need that Instagram spot, and Perdida takes that role seriously. Consider it a coastal oasis and forget you’re in Denver for a minute. Start out with a ‘shotopus’ for the table, order any one of its creative margaritas – like the Firecracker with La Luna mezcal, watermelon, serrano, cucumber and lime – and get the Baja Trio – salsa, warm queso, guacamole. Come for brunch, a quick happy hour or a light tequila filled dinner.

Somebody People – Take a veggie forward menu that supports local farms and make it Sunday Supper. That’s what you get at Somebody People, and for $38 per person all you have to do is show up with your friends or family and enjoy a thoughtful, carefully curated menu without even missing the meat. Zero proof and full proof cocktails are there for the sipping, but truly it’s the natural wine selection you’ll want pouring.

Dive Inn – Just as every neighborhood needs a brunch spot, so the story goes for a dive bar. Step out and Dive Inn to this no frills, sports bar sure to be your go-to for bar games, sports games and everything inbetween. Grab a seat in the notorious boat, get a couple of beers and wait for your fried chicken from the guys next door at  Cluck.

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