Denver Bike Cafe – Laid-Back & Local

Feature written by: Kat Wood, DenverSpeax

Denver Bicycle Cafe (DBC) has a great assortment of beverages and snacks to choose from. Credit: Kat Wood, June 2013

When I moved to downtown Denver in August of 2012, one of the first places I got excited about was the Denver Bicycle Cafe, which is conveniently located a block away from me at 17th and Lafayette streets. I can say without hesitation that it’s my favorite cafe in Denver. The staff who work at DBC are so down-to-Earth and personal; they’re always friendly and greeting you with a smile and  good conversation. They recognize me  by now and usually know what I want before I do! This, among many other reasons, is what keeps me coming back. 

DBC is located at 1308 E 17th Ave Denver. Check out these wicked snacks! Credit: Kat Wood June 2013

DBC was founded in 2011 by two friends who simply loved bikes, beer, and coffee, and wanted to create a place to share that love with the Denver community. The quite sizable building consists of two bar areas, window seats, two person tables, and picnic style tables.  They serve a wide selection of bottled and canned beer from local Denver breweries (keeping it in the community) as well as breweries from around the state. Not enough local for you yet? They also brew locally roasted coffee. They take pride in the grinding of the beans, using awesome hands-on techniques to brew your coffee right in front of you. I love the local theme at DBC; it’s obvious that the community is a priority, which is reflected within the products they choose to use – local, local, local. DBC also offers a selection of bagels and pastries, as well as some hot items, like tamales. They welcome you to bring your own food and also provide nearby eateries menues. 

 

Image

Sweet bike shop, dudes. Credit: Kat Wood, June 2013

Now that you’ve heard all about one side of this hybrid bike shop / cafe, let’s jump to the other: the bike repair/tuning section. You can make an appointment with the ever so knowledgable mechanics to tune up your ride, or simply remove a stuck pedal. Need a flat repaired? No problem. Their mission is to get you back riding as soon as possible! 

The outdoor patio is situated right next to the bike corral, so you can a keep an eye on your ride; however, in this uptown neighborhood, I don’t really find it necessary to have to watch your bike like a hawk if you bring a lock. I frequent the patio and its picnic tables on sunny days with my dog, Kokuma. Dogs on leashes are welcomed, and there is always a fresh water dish set out for the furry patrons.

The atmosphere of DBC is laid-back and hip. It’s filled with cyclists of all types: single-speed and fixed gears, to long distance, road cyclists, and mountain bikers. Come with a friend to have a beer on a sunny Saturday, or come during the quiet hours on weekdays to study, or work on your laptop. No matter the time, they will be playing EXCELLENT music (in my opinion). I remember a particular afternoon I was studying, and the playlist that was playing could have been straight from my personal iPod! 

DBC is always hosting events and celebrations. They often have coffee and beer tastings, and even beer and cheese pairings. They also host game night as well as charity events to give back to the community. These event dates can be found on their website: http://www.denverbicyclecafe.com, which is also embedded throughout this post.

Image

Click on the picture to be directed to DBC’s Facebook Page, and like ’em! Credit: Kat Wood June 2013

What it all comes down to, is,  if you like good music, bikes, beer and coffee – any or all of the above, you have to check out Denver Bicycle Cafe. It’s your place to be. 

 

Steep Coffee and Tea – Much Needed Modern Relaxation

Steep Coffee and Tea, 4100 E 8th Ave, Denver, CO 80220. Credit: Kirsten Ebey

 

While waiting for a haircut appointment, Steven and I decided to take a walk down 8th St, a neighborhood we haven’t really explored yet. This is when we stumbled upon a coffee and tea shop that looked long established, and fixated within the community. Oddly enough, Steep Coffee and Tea only came into existence 3 ½ months ago!

As cliche as it may sound, as you walk into the store, you can’t help but exhale a sigh of relief. Honestly, the relaxing, neat and simple-yet-orderly interior provides a familiar welcome of home. It’s definitely a place you can let your hair down while finishing up some work utilizing free wifi, reading a good book, or just catching up with a friend.

We were greeted at the counter with free samples of delicious blends of tea, cream, coffee, lemonade, and beyond – sometimes all at once. I thought I was some sort of self-created tea connoisseur before visiting Steep – nope, wrong. I had never had blends like Steep had created effortlessly – earl grey tea mixed with a vanilla cream, served chilled. Why didn’t I ever think of that? What an amazing combination! So of course, I order this new-found love of my life, and Steven ordered a strawberry Tea-monade, a mixture of strawberry, lemonade, and tea, also chilled – a super refreshing drink that is perfect for these summer months. Bonus: All tea varieties are gluten free and all signature drinks can be created Vegan. 

 

Of course, we couldn’t stop at just the drinks – Steep offers an assortment of baked goods (collaborating with another 8th Ave business, Leaf & Crumb) and panini’s. Their small, creative food menu is perfect for hanging out and having a snack, or on the go lunch. A small cooler area at the counter holds numerous Naked juices, Izze’s, and other on-the-go beverages.

Earl Grey Vanilla Cream (left) and Strawberry Tea-Monade (right). Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

 

While Steven ordered the Pesto Chicken Panini, I took a stab at the Chicken Tuscan. Our entire order – two fairly large beverages and two panini’s – was under $20. As you all know, it can be very difficult to get a good lunch for two under $20 in this city, and even MORE difficult to be completely ecstatic about what you received! I was so pleased that this beautifully modern, creative establishment had such affordable and delicious food. I’ll say it – I judged the book by its cover; I thought for sure our small lunch would cost closer to $30. Everything that we ordered was above and beyond my initial judgment – the food is affordable; the staff is easy going and polite; the owner, Dan Cohen, is a cool, down-to-Earth guy that is right there in the action behind the counter; the value is definitely apparent in visiting Steep.

 

Mmmm Chicken Tuscan “sammich”, as Steven and I say. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

After speaking with owner, Dan Cohen, we got the feeling that he was really aimed at bettering the community with his shop. For example, the napkins and cup containers are all biodegradable and / or recyclable, which is such a huge plus in lessening our footprint. He supports local artists by providing his shop’s walls as a place to display original artwork for sale. He worked relentlessly (with local design assistance) to get the ambience and atmosphere of Steep just right, and totally nailed it. Classes are held, discussing and educating the community on the world of tea and all of its benefits. The interest is so far from becoming the “Next Big Thing”, or another stuffy, materialistic tea and coffee shop, which we thank him for. If I wanted to go to a commercial chain coffee shop, I would have – there are more than enough readily available on 8th, and in Denver in general.

Steven Mercer enjoying his Pesto Chicken Panini. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

Steven Mercer enjoying his Pesto Chicken Panini. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

 

Visiting Steep can be done by car or bike – there’s plenty of free parking as well as street parking available. Opportunity exists in numerous areas around the shop to lock up your bike.

 

Definitely stop by and watch the patio come to life – Steep hopes to have this project completed next month, providing more seating and the ability to relax and enjoy outside. Additional pluses about Steep are the other product offerings within the shop. They have a plethora of tea paraphernalia like steepers, mugs, and pots (to name just a few) inside, available and ready for purchase.

 

For more information about Steep, be sure to click the links within this DenverSpeax’s feature and head to their Facebook page. I especially love all of the pictures they have reaffirming how awesome they are. Check it out!