If you haven’t wandered into a Denver hotel bar or restaurant over the past few years, 1. You’d be forgiven for obvious reasons and 2. You’d be missing out. The new breed of hotel lounges and eateries ditches the stale vibes and ho-hum menus we used to associate with hotel brands and instead gives us destination-worthy spots that can compete with the city’s best. From rustic-romantic design to celebrity chef-created food to crafty cocktails, these are the hotel bars and restaurants you’ll want to check out, even if you’re not checking in.
Thompson Denver’s Chez Maggy and Reynard Social
1616 Market St.
When Thompson Hotels made its Denver debut in February, there was a lot of talk about Chez Maggy, television personality and Michelin-starred chef Ludo Lefebvre’s first restaurant in town. The lobby level French bistro is certainly worth the hype—don’t miss the trout almondine, bread and butter, or, well anything—but to experience one of Thompson Denver’s best spots, you need to head up.
Take the elevator to the sixth floor, where you’ll find one of the best views around. The mega-windowed space—which is officially the largest bar in Denver, but somehow feels so cozy—looks out over the city, the stadium and the mountains. While the cocktails tend to stick to the classics downstairs at Chez Maggy, they’re more fun up here, with mixes like the Peak Interest (tequila, fig, raspberry, lime and egg white) and Summit Selfie (cucumber vodka, elderflower, lingonberry and herbal liqueur) at the ready for your sunset sipping.
Life House’s Wildflower
3638 Navajo St.
From the dreamy blue butterfly pea latte to the romantic Western décor to the work-of-art plates of food, Wildflower holds incredible visual appeal. The space is absolutely gorgeous, with hand-painted wallpaper, jewel-colored velvet banquettes, unique plant and floral arrangements and a gallery wall of western-themed art competing for what you should look at next. (Or what to use as your Instagram shot background.)
The bar and restaurant menus both embrace the wildflower theme, with floral notes showing up in cocktails—the Gimme Thyme mixes wildflower honey with gin, mead, thyme and citrus, and the In Full Bloom is a bouquet of hibiscus flower, rose water, cava and vermouth—and in the seasonal, plant-heavy dishes (even the watermelon radishes are cut to look like blooms in the roasted roots plate of sunchoke and carrots over sesame puree). It’s a very visual experience, but one that tastes as good as it looks.
Hotel Clio’s Toro Latin Kitchen & Lounge
150 Clayton Ln.
Two words: Ceviche bar. Yes, Toro’s pan-Latin menu has a lot going for it with dishes like sweet corn empanadas, adobo Spanish octopus and achiote marinated chicken, but it’s perfectly acceptable to settle in and stick to ceviche. Choose from Hamachi or striped bass ceviches; shrimp tempura or spicy tuna and crab rolls; or heck, don’t choose at all and have a full-on raw bar feast.
Led by chef Richard Sandoval (you’ve probably eaten his food at Tamayo or at one of his other 45 restaurants in 15 countries) and executive chef Oscar Padilla, Toro has quickly become a Cherry Creek favorite for its bottomless weekend brunch, hand-muddled cocktails on the patio, tequila lockers (where you can stash your premium bottles), and yes, that ceviche bar. Head there for the best sort of raw deal.