Tommyknocker Brewery – Colorado Mountain Town Craft Beer

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Tommyknocker brews: 5 oz samples of each beer on tap, for a $1.50 a pop. Try them out – click on the picture to be brought to Tommyknocker’s Facebook page. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, OCT 2013

Loveland Pass is a great place to bring your friends and family when visiting the Denver area; here’s another place that you can incorporate on the way to Loveland Pass! Tommyknocker Brewery is located in Idaho Springs, one of many small mining towns west of Denver. It’s about a 40 minute drive in decent traffic from North Colorado Blvd’s i70 ramp.

When our friend Chris was in town from Michigan, we didn’t get the chance to run up to the Pass, but we were able to bring him to Tommyknocker’s to show him more of Colorado’s awesome brews. Whenever we stop there, I always order the Nuts and Berries Salad and pair it with the Tundrabeary Ale. If a pairing isn’t notated on the menu, your server will be able to suggest a great brew to go along with any food ordered, whether it be a juicy burger or pub food, like their Homemade Bacon Jalapeño Poppers.

To give Chris an idea of what Tommyknockers is all about, we ordered one of each brew in a 5 oz. sampler size for $1.50 each – that’s only .30 cents an ounce! Also, we ordered up our favorite Beer-Battered Mushrooms (pictured below) drizzled with balsamic glaze, and the Bacon-wrapped Jalapeño Poppers (also pictured below). Both of the pub appetizers came out piping hot, and reasonably portioned. It was pub-food heaven with our apps and 50 oz of delicious, assorted beers.

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Bacon-wrapped Jalapeño Poppers – these were a big hit, and might actually take over the number spot for me as fave appetizer at Tommyknocker’s! Click on the picture to head over to Tommyknockers menu. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, OCT 2013

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Beer-Battered Mushrooms with a balsamic glaze drizzle. The mushrooms are actually HUGE and super juicy – they aren’t your 2 am, drunken bar food mushroom, no sir! Click on the photo to check out Tommyknocker Brewery’s menu. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, OCT 2013

Not only did we order these kick-ass appetizers, of course we had to try out some mains! Steven had a giant reuben with sweet-potato tots, while Chris had a few brots with kraut and fries. Let me take a minute to describe the fries Chris received; smothered in buffalo sauce and blue cheese, the fries definitely made a good impression at our table. The pairing of buffalo sauce and blue cheese atop golden french fries is genius!

I was content with my Nuts and Berries salad – the produce and apples are always fresh, and the caramelized walnuts are to die for. Again, this paired with the Tundrabeary Ale guarantees satisfaction. Adding broiled chicken adds $2, but is well worth it. The salad is so ridiculously large -I’m never able to finish it. Hooray for lunch the next day!

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Check out the Reuben Steven ordered stacked with juicy, corned-beef. Are you seeing a pattern with the serving portions? They’re huge! Thanks, Tommyknocker’s. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

Everything is decently priced and beyond reasonably portioned – the plate sizes are huge! If you’re passing through and just want to try the brews and get a snack, split the Motherload Nachos – “A heaping platter of freshly fried tortilla chips, topped with chili con queso, cheddar cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, cilantro, and sour cream. Served with a side of salsa” (Credit: Tommyknocker Brewery menu). When they say a heaping platter, don’t take this statement lightly – these nachos are massive. Also, you can add some protein – chicken or buffalo; add guac as well, if you so dare.

Aside form the food and the brews, Tommyknocker’s venue is fantastic. You can see the beer being brewed while sitting in the brewery / pub area; it’s really incredible to watch the brewmasters go to work and do what they do best – brew outstanding beer! There is an additional room for restaurant seating as well. They also have a small shop, located right at the entrance, with a cooler full of their beer and rootbeer (that they ALSO brew themselves!), t-shirts, beer coozies, and other Tommyknocker gear.

Check out our glorious dinner!

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Check out this salad: apples, fresh greens, red onions, dried cranberries, feta cheese, caramelized walnuts, and a side of raspberry vinaigrette. I opted to add the chicken for an extra $2. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

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Check out that homemade ‘kraut! Strictly delicious. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

Check out the Tommyknocker Brewery website and see what specials and events they have going on down at the Brewery.

If you find yourself heading west, take a break and check it out. They have a great menu, appropriate for all ages with good comfort-classics. The wait staff and bartenders are friendly, and the venue is incredible. Watching Tommyknockers brew staff actually brew the beer while you eat, drink, and maybe watch a football game or two creates such a cool environment to take your out-of-town guests.

Check it out and let us know what you think!

Out to Lunch – Sushi Uokura in Golden, CO

Luckily, Golden is a short hop, skip, and a jump away from Wheat Ridge where my friend and I work; equally lucky is that Sushi Uokura has endless sushi during lunch for $16, (unlimited during dinner is $23) as well as other tasty specials. This may be a little backwards, however this is the scene after our delicious meal, and before we received our check:

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After this, my friend and I went back to work to fight to stay awake. Awesome lunch at Sushi Uokura; Credit: Kirsten Ebey, OCT 2013

Located at 815 Nile Court, Golden, Colorado 80401, Sushi Uokura is a hidden gem type of seafood restaurant with a sushi bar; my friend had told me that we had to go, and so last Friday we ventured on down the road to Golden. Tables are packed pretty efficiently inside the restaurant, and the place was hopping! Don’t let that put you off – the wait staff is attentive, the atmosphere homey and welcoming, and the food is fantastic.

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Sushi, including a Rainbow Roll and variety of spicy rolls. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, OCT 2013.

The rolls were a good size – not too large or too small, which can be pretty annoying when trying to enjoy good sushi. All of the ingredients used tasted fresh and deliberate; the presentation and appearance was awesome (before we started digging in, of course).

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Tuna Tataki – soooooo good!! This was an item listed on the specials – amke sure to check them out as well. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, OCT 2013

Pictured above was my favorite part of our meal – the tuna tataki. This seared tuna with sesame seed, jalapeno , crispy gyoza skin, spicy mayo, and ponzu was so delicious and refreshing. I can safely say this is my favorite tuna tataki experience in (or around) the Denver area yet.

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Outdoor shot of the restaurant – make sure you visit! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, OCT 2013.

Round of applause to Sushi Uokura for making incredible food, and providing us with a memorable lunch – we can’t wait to go back!

Few suggestions for when you visit:

  1. We went around 1 pm on a Friday – it’s going to be busy, so prepare yourself, or go at a later / earlier time to beat the lunch rush!
  2. Across the street from the restaurant / parking lot is under construction, but parking is still available along the road. Be careful where you park so as not to block the construction site or others dining within the restaurant.
  3. Come hungry! They know how to fill a belly well, that’s for sure.

Drinks, anyone? Earls Restaurant – Glenarm

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Honestly, Denverspeax may be a little bias… But we stand strong on the topic of Moscow Mules and that Earls Restaurant makes the best. Not really your thing? No worries – try a signature Frozen White Peach Bellini or an Earls Old Fashioned.
Stay tuned for more on one of our favorite, casual/fine dining restaurants that we have a love-love relationship with…
P.S. Hope you like our first attempt to post from a mobile phone! Whoop whoop!

Park & Co – A Fun “Some Place Else”

Situated uptown Denver on 17th, we stumbled upon (not the site- the physical activity) Park & Co when we were looking for a good place to have a light dinner. Of course, there are other fantastic restaurants in the same area, but we’d been to those – it was time to give some place else a chance.

It was love at first site – the patio Park & Co sports is more than legit – I would place this patio somewhere in the top 5 of awesome summer patios. There’s adequate seating and space so as not to feel cramped, and it’s a short walk right to the bar inside of the restaurant.

Although Park & Co is known for their award-winning burgers, I’m not much of a burger kind of gal. I know, not very patriotic of me, but I just like to try different dishes! And, that we did.

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Gorgonzola-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, mmm mmmm good! Credit: Steve Mercer, SEPT 2013 Click on the picture to be re-directed to Park & Co’s food menu!

Our appetizer consisted of Gorgonzola-stuffed dates that were wrapped in juicy, delicious bacon; upon advising a friend where we were having dinner, he insisted we order these delicious treats. Thanks, Mitchell! We weren’t let down in the slightest. This appetizer is so rich and good – completely takes the edge off of starving individuals (like us).

Being a little over-zealous, we also decided to order the Moroccan Lamb Sliders with cucumber mint yogurt. The presentation was amazing, and the sliders were incredible! I’m a huge fan of anything remotely resembling greek cuisine, and had to try them out. Another amazing food journey, brought to us by Park & Co!

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Lamb Sliders from Park & Co. Credit: Steve Mercer, SEPT 2013. Click on the picture above to be taken to their Facebook page! Make sure you like ’em.

Both appetizers we ordered actually complimented each other well. I loved the uniqueness of all of the appetizers listed on their menu, and look forward to trying more. I was also surprised that they didn’t cost an arm and a leg; what incredible small plates for the buck. When you glance at the menu as a whole, you’ll notice it not only screams courage and creativity, but is priced incredibly well so that patrons have the ability to try multiple dishes. Great job, Park & Co! We applaud you.

Additionally impressive is their drink menu. Just sayin’. Not only do they have plenty of great brewskis on tap, but their cocktail creations are fantastic; the mules are right on the money, and the jalapeño-infused vodka watermelon cocktail I ordered was exactly what I needed – refreshingly sweet & spicy. Of course, seasonality is going to play a part when ordering cocktails, so stop in and see what they’re mixing up! Happy Hour is from 2 – 6 pm Monday through Friday, and 11 pm until close each night, creating plenty of opportunity for you, friends, and co-workers.

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Jalapeño-Infused Vodka with any sort of sweet, refreshing juice is an awesome summer cocktail. Credit: Steve Mercer, SEPT 2013

I’m incredibly happy we found this place – it’s such a nice, chill atmosphere with friendly people – all enjoying and partaking in the same trendy, unique, and DELICIOUS dining experience. I suggest riding your bike, taking a cab, or walking if possible as parking can be limited on popular nights and weekends. There are plenty of spots to lock up your bicycle!

Stop in and check it out – play a little foosball while you’re at it. (Yes, they totally have a table!). Hope to see you there.

Your Local Watering Hole – The Elm

Walking into The Elm on Colfax brought me back a few months – back to a time when I frequented my local watering hole in Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Playstation Pub. Visiting always guaranteed good company, cheap drinks, and a ridiculously good time. Nicely enough, I felt this same genuine and welcoming vibe from The Elm the first time myself and 3 girlfriends had dinner and drinks there.

This homey, casual bar is comfortably situated at 5001 E. Colfax, on the corner of Colfax and Elm, in the Park Hill neighborhood.

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On the corner of Elm & Colfax – check out the Elm’s awesome porch! Click on the picture to check out the Elm’s website, where this fabulous picture actually came from. Thanks, Elm! Credit: The Elm Official Website, Aug 2013

Not only does the Elm have a bad ass patio, but the inside bar is also perfect to watch the game, enjoy happy hour after work with friends, or get together for lunch or dinner (like the ladies and I did).

The Elm provides a plethora of creative burgers and sandwiches, making each meal memorable. Also, everything is so moderately priced that you don’t have to save your pennies in order to visit frequently. Check out the epic meals the ladies and I devoured (with a couple of brews, of course!):

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The Elm’s Pulled Pork sandwich; delicious with coleslaw on top! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013.

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Amazing Reuben sandwich! Obviously, the Elm doesn’t skimp on the meat and other ingredients. Credit: Ashley Rentz, July 2013

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Quite sure you’ll leave The Elm full. If not, there’s something wrong with you, or you’re a competitive eater. Click on this pic to be brought to The Elm’s killer specials page. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

There’s room in the back, or on the street, for parking, but we always like to encourage bike riding. There are plenty of spots available to lock up your bike, so why not ride it?

Stop in at The Elm – grab a delicious burger, and slam a brew with some friends. Football season is almost underway, and I can guarantee the DenverSpeax crew will be in attendance at The Elm rallying for our fave teams across the US. Hope to see you there.

Steuben’s Food Service – A Classic Denver Eatery

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Outside signage on the side of the Steuben’s building – just added a touch of colors. Click on the picture to visit their Facebook page, and of course – like ’em! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

A few weeks ago on a Saturday night, my friends and I were jonesin’ for a place with great food where we could sit, relax, eat dinner, and be merry. Up until this point, I’m not quite sure how many people had looked at me in horror, and with a high-pitched voice exclaimed, “WHAT? You haven’t been to Steuben’s???!!??” No more of that – I have visited and endured the famous, comfort-food eatery that is Steuben’s Food Service.

Steuben’s is situated at 523 E. 17th in Denver, on the corner of 17th and Pearl in an old auto-garage turned restaurant. The restaurant sports many areas to park (and lock up) both your bike and your car; however, with the popularity of this place I’d hands down suggest riding your bike. It can be tricky to find a spot to park on the weekend when everyone has the same idea as you to visit!

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Simple and beautiful table arrangements with a filling, great-tasting menu. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

What’s great about the Steuben’s experience is the fact that there’s something for everyone (kids included!). The menu is so diverse and does a great job of including new and old American comfort food favorites. Capturing regional influences, dishes are re-created from fan favorites all over the country, and provided for a moderate price here in Denver at Steuben’s. Favorites include shrimp and grits, mac n’ cheese, fried chicken, and (my extremely satisfying choice) a cayenne etouffee. For starters, we ordered up some steubie snacks – little fried pieces of meat topped with powdered sugar, paired with a delicious sauce that actually off-set the sweetness of the powdered sugar. Simply genius, fellas – simply. genius.

We sat inside, and unfortunately with the lighting, the pictures I took of our food were reluctant to provide real insight into Steuben’s awesome offerings; thus, I left them out. By the way, in addition to having indoor seating and bar seating, Steuben’s also provides a great patio, perfect for the weather we’ve been experiencing here in Denver. The ambience where we sat was nice, calming, home-like, and welcoming. I could definitely sit back, relax, and enjoy some great food – just what we were hoping for!

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Walking into Steuben’s to get some good eats! Click on the pic to visit Steuben’s Official Website Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

Don’t really have time to sit down and eat? No worries – they offer a take-out menu, food truck, and sell a Vesta cookbook! Not really hungry, but interested? Look up their episode on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives and see for yourself before you try it out.

Another awesome place to visit in Denver; go check it out this weekend when you have a hankering for something new. Quite sure you won’t be disappointed!

Need something to do? Check out 16th St. Mall

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Looking at the 16th Street Mall from the median. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I took my new friend Jeff (also a Michigander – we’re everywhere) to the 16th Street Mall to walk around, as he had never been. As he had just moved to Denver a week prior to our mall excursion, I felt it necessary for him to see it in all of its glory! It’s a mall in the sense of the British term, so more related to a boulevard. Shops, banks, and other businesses line the street on either side, and free pedestrian buses drive up and down. There are multiple stops along 16th street, collecting and dropping off the tons of people that inhabit the area each day. Not only are the free buses a great way to get to one end or the other in a timely manner, they can also be a savior when your feet are disagreeing with your choice of walking shoes.

In addition to the commercial shops of the mall, art pops up everywhere – different sculptures of wood, metal, and everything in between line the 16th St. Mall, making it THAT much cooler to get out and walk both sides. Along the middle, or median, of the 16th street mall, brightly-painted pianos reside, ready for anyone and everyone to stop and play. These were placed by the Downtown Denver Partnership in a launch lovingly referred to as “Your Keys to the City” in 2011. All pianos are painted by local artists, using their own particular inspirations.

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Jeff found a new friend on the 16th St. Mall! Pictured: Jeff Doorn. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2013

Whether you stop in at H&M, have a burger at Johnny Rockets, or just lolly-gag around, there’s plenty of things to do and see on the 16th St. Mall. Pick up a sweet Colorado shirt from one of the many tourist shops along with a few rad postcards to send to your friends and family. Make sure to take in all of the interesting and entertaining people watching and street performers. A robot street performer named RoboMike, pictured below, is an expert at making passers jump, laugh, and smile – make sure you say, “Hey” when you see him!

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RoboMike is an awesomely funny performer that is guaranteed to crack you up – give him a shout the next time you’re on the Mall! Pictured: Jeff Doorn (left) and RoboMike (right). Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2013

Have a great time visiting the 16th St. Mall – definitely one of my favorite places to hang out in Denver!

Ace Eat Serve- Asian Comfort Food & Ping Pong

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Ace Restaurant, situated at 501 E 17th Ave in Denver, CO. This shot doesn’t come close to doing the incredible porch justice, but you can make out the mist pretty well! Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

You heard it right – Asian comfort food AND a dedicated Ping Pong (or Table Tennis) Hall reside at Ace Eat Serve Restaurant in Denver, CO. Add a bar and spacious outdoor patio with mist ducts along the rooftop edges, and you’ve got a feature-packed restaurant that’s perfect for numerous occasions such as hanging out, lunch with the family, or drinks after work.

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With so many faves, it’s so hard to choose just one! Or, two… or five. Click on the pic for Ace’s menu! Shawna Jones, pictured. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

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Pictured is the drink Ms. Shawna Jones ordered: Ace’s blackcherry soda and vodka. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

My friend, Shawna Jones, and I biked the 5 miles (roundtrip) to Ace on one of the hottest days we’ve had this summer, and sat out on the patio for lunch. First thing on our mind: cooling off. The falling mist was glorious, and checked that issue right off our list. Second thing on our mind: cocktails – that bike ride in the heat kind of wore us out, so in addition to water, we thought it best to order a tasty adult beverage.

While Shawna ordered a Vodka and ACE Blackcherry Soda (delicious, by the way- pictured right), I grabbed a Shiner Ruby, my favorite summer seasonal brewski that mixes grapefruit with ginger; also, what a great beer pairing for our upcoming feast.

The menu features a ton of Asian-style food favorites – dumplings, pork ramen, bibimbap, you name it. There are so many favorites listed that both Shawna and I ordered a total of five items to share – it’s THAT HARD TO CHOOSE. I had been to Ace one time previously and had an idea from that experience of what I just had to order: steamed vegetables (only $3 bucks for a heaping plateful of garlic- and ginger-infused, steamed veggies – that’s a steal!) and a Pork Bao Bun. Shawna ordered the Kalbi (Korean BBQ short beef ribs) and chicken dumplings. We both decided that since we were there, we really needed to just go for it, and ordered the vegetable potstickers as well – it was necessary. So, as mentioned earlier, a feast was had.

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Table sauces pictured: Black Bean Sauce (left) and Crisp Chili Oil (right). Click on the picture for a link to Ace’s Menu! Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

We waited probably about 20 minutes, which is such great timing. Although Ace‘s dishes appear to be so simple, each dish has crazy, complex flavor. Paired with their two signature table sauces, you can’t go wrong: the Crisp Chili Oil sauce (my favorite – I dump it on everything) consists of dried red chilies, sesame oil, and textured vegetable Protein while the Black Bean Sauce consists fermented soy beans, chilies, dark soy, and garlic (info gathered from Ace’s Official Website).

Pictured top, and clockwise: Veggie potstickers, steamed veggies, and Pork Bao Bun. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

Of everything we ordered, I honestly can’t pick a favorite – everything was amazing, and adding the Crisp Chili Oil sauce adds a whole new twist, bringing out flavors of the dish you would not otherwise notice as well as serving as a great enhancement for very lightly marinated, steamed veggies. If I had to guess though, I would think that the short ribs have found an irreplaceable spot in Shawna’s heart. In addition to the amazing food, the ambience is so incredible – there’s a very large hall within the restaurant dedicated for Ping Pong enthusiasts everywhere. On their website, you can view the rules of the game, as well as spot openings for when you and your friend can grab a table. The outside patio is perfect for these summer months, with the cool mist making it incredibly refreshing and comfortable to sit in the partial sun. The menu is built for all ages – kids menu, drink menu with happy hour specials, dessert menu, and juice bar in addition to the lunch and dinner menus, of course. There’s no way to peg what type of person to bring, and for what type of occasion – Ace Restaurant is so versatile yet welcoming that it’s the perfect location for business lunches as well as a stop during your night on the town.

Pictured above: Korean Short Ribs (left) and Chicken Dumplings (right). Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

There are plenty of places to park on the street, as well as bike racks available (remember your Ulock!). An extra bonus is being able to see your bike from the patio!

I hope you have the opportunity to stop and check out this great place; Ace Eat Serve is such a cool place to eat and hang out, and I can’t wait to go for my third time! There are so many places to eat in Denver, but sometimes you just find places that really resonate with you – Ace is definitely one of them. Go check them out! NOW.

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The amazing menu of Ace Restaurant. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013 Click the picture to be taken to Ace’s menu!

 

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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. 

 

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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.

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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.