Great Escapes!

Big-city diversions beckon in Atlanta, Chicago and Denver, and with new nonstop flights from KCI to all three of these destinations, your trip just got a little sweeter. Here are the most stylish places to eat, drink, stay and play, right now, vetted by our local experts.



Lost Lake Tiki Bar in Chicago

Clayton Hauck

Chicago

Midwest's Culinary Capital

   Whatever you’re into, you can do it well in Chicago, the Midwest’s crown jewel. Love to eat? It’s a world-class restaurant city. Live to shop? Boutiques here stock some seriously stellar finds. Here’s how to experience the Windy City like a pro with an emphasis on some of its most recent and chicest new entries.

 

EAT

Nico Osteria Chicago

Nico Osteria - Fogelson/Jetel

Nico Osteria

Do your designer shopping on fashion-forward Rush Street, then treat yourself to a meal at this slick temple of Italian cooking, lodged in the Thompson Chicago hotel, and from one of Chicago’s top restaurant groups, One Off Hospitality. They’re best known for their seafood, such as the salt-crusted branzino and a selection of delicate crudi. 1015 N. Rush St., (312) 994-7100, nicoosteria.com

 

Girl and the Goat

Years after opening, Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard’s rollicking gastropub remains one of the hardest tables to score in the city. Make a reservation well in advance of your trip — like, several months in advance — and make sure the roasted pig’s face makes an appearance in your meal, a celebrated dish that’s tastiness belies its name and that has appeared on the menu since day one. 809 W. Randolph St., (312) 492-6262, girlandthegoat.com

 

Parachute

This indie darling from a husband-and-wife duo explores Korean-American cuisine with both polish and heart. The potato bing bread, a hearty, addictive loaf studded with bacon and chives, is one of the city’s buzziest dishes. Also on the menu: pork belly and mung bean pancake with kimchee, black garlic, hen egg and pineapple or udon with Dungeness crab, guanciale, fava beans and sabayon. 3500 N. Elston Ave., (773) 654-1460, parachuterestaurant.com

Intro Chicago

caramelized sea scallops, with crispy potatoes, kohlrabi and chervil from chef Jessica Largey (current chef at Intro as of Press time) - courtesy of Intro

 

Intro

You never know what you’re going to get at Intro, because every few months, a new rising-star chef takes up residence in the kitchen and puts out a brand-new tasting menu (in $65-$95 price range). Though there is a standing menu of a la carte options from a permanent kitchen leader, taking a risk on the rotating talents and their creative, carte blanche menus is half the fun. Expect anything from baby artichoke risotto with Meyer lemon and fall herbs (guest chef Stephen Gillanders) to Berkshire pork with fermented black garlic, kale and smoked potatoes (guest chef Aaron Martinez). 2300 N. Lincoln Park West, (773) 868-0002, introchicago.com

 

Green Street Smoked Meats

The messy, flavorful Texas-style smoked brisket makes for a great, casual meal in the always-trendy West Loop. If you’re nearby during the day, pop in for a snack break at Sawada Coffee, the daytime-only sister spot known for its green tea and white chocolate Military Latte. 112 N. Green St., (312) 754-0431, greenstreetmeats.com

 

IMBIBE

Lost Lake Tiki Bar Chicago

photo by Clayton Hauck

Lost Lake

Accolades keep pouring in for this tropical hot spot, and with good reason — the drinks are light years more interesting than your standard, sugary Mai Tai. (The coconut and passionfruit Tic-Tac-Taxi can convert even the staunchest of tiki doubters.) Owner Paul McGee scavenges all over the world for rare rums, giving the bar an impressive bottle list. 3154 W. Diversey Ave., (773) 293-6048, lostlaketiki.com

 

GreenRiver

Admittedly, the location (the 18th floor of a medical center building, of all places) leaves something to be desired. But sip one of head bartender Julia Momose’s Chicago history-inspired cocktails, perhaps the whiskey and plum bitters combo called the Gray Wolf; take in the sleek, modern space with skyscraper views; and you won’t mind the address one bit. 259 E. Erie St., (312) 337-0101, greenriverchi.com

 

Cindy’s

Perched atop the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Cindy’s boasts a stylish terrace with prime views of Millennium Park, downtown and Lake Michigan, making it the perfect backdrop for your vacation Instagrams. Nandini Khaund’s nuanced cocktails, such as the vodka and jasmine tea Grey Garden, are an attraction in their own right. 12 S. Michigan Ave., (312) 792-3502, cindysrooftop.com

The Violet Hour Chicago

photo by Michael Robinson

 

The Violet Hour

The bar that launched a thousand speakeasies — a windowless storefront covered in ever-changing murals, a no-cellphone policy, a line halfway down the block—recently won James Beard recognition as the country’s top boozing spot. Inside: an elegant atmosphere modeled after French salons with crystal chandeliers, velvet curtains and high-backed chairs. Try the vodka-laced Love After Death with lime, Ancho Reyes, fresh ginger and Campari. 1520 N. Damen Ave., (773) 252-1500, theviolethour.com

Band of Bohemia Chicago

Band of Bohemia

Chicago is a beer lover’s paradise, and you can find plenty of superlative ales in craft breweries all over town. But if you’re willing to go for something offbeat, Band of Bohemia pours some of the most unique beers you’ll find anywhere in funky, stylish digs. You’ll leave a believer in their beet-thyme beer. 4710 N. Ravenswood Ave., (773) 271-4710, bandofbohemia.com

 

SHOP

Rider for Life Chicago

photo courtesy of Rider for Life

 

Rider for Life

This boutique has a little bit of everything — edgy men’s and women’s apparel, art, beauty products, and, yes, cotton candy to snack on while you shop. 1115 W. Lake St., shoprider.us

 

Felt

Women’s Wear Daily recently dubbed the Logan Square neighborhood Chicago’s next great shopping destination, and Felt is the perfect example of why. The shop stocks a mix of well-known (Equipment, Yigal Azrouel) and up-and-coming womenswear designers (LACAUSA, Heidi Merrick) and is staffed with some of the friendliest sales clerks anywhere. 2317 N. Milwaukee Ave., (773) 772-5000, feltchicago.com

 

South Loop Loft

Browsing this home-goods emporium sometimes feels like stumbling upon the world’s coolest garage sale. If you’d like to peruse Beth Berke’s impeccably curated collection of boho-chic furnishings, take note that the showroom is only open from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. on Saturdays or by appointment. 308 N. Leavitt St., (262) 490-4215, thesouthlooploft.com

Ikram Chicago

photo courtesy of Ikram

 

Ikram

For luxe designer eye candy, Ikram is the best of the best, stocking hard-to-find designer labels such as Rodarte and classics like Chanel and Céline. The slick red storefront is a work of art unto itself. 15 E. Huron St., (312) 587-1000, ikram.com

 

Merz Apothecary

It’s not a new spot by any stretch of the imagination — in fact, this old-school stop has been in business since 1875. Age ain’t nothing but a number, though, because this 140-year-old spot is a beauty junkie’s dream, with international goodies and niche perfumes (D.S. & Durga, Etat Libre D’Orange) you only wish you could find at Sephora. 4716 N. Lincoln Ave., (773) 989-0900, merzapothecary.com

 

STAY

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

photo by Alan Shortall

The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

The former historic club-headquarters-turned-hotel maintains much of its art deco charm thanks to a careful, recent restoration. And for a visitor, the location across the street from Millennium Park and steps from Michigan Avenue’s shopping and museum attractions can’t be beat. (Plus, there’s a Shake Shack in the building for late-night burger binges.) 12 S. Michigan Ave., (312) 940-3552, chicagoathletichotel.com

The Langham Hotel Chicago

Photo Courtesy of The Langham, ChicAGO

 

The Langham, Chicago

The river and skyline views. The Mies van der Rohe building. The midcentury-chic furnishings. It’s the new standard for luxury accommodations. 330 N. Wabash Ave., (312) 923-9988, langhamhotels.com/chicago

 

Virgin Hotels Chicago

This is billionaire Richard Branson’s first big foray into boutique hoteling, and the ultramodern two-chambered rooms come equipped with Bluetooth speakers and a proprietary bed design. 203 N. Wabash Ave., (312) 940-4400, virginhotels.com

 

CULTURE FIX

The Bedroom Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh "the Bedroom". 1889. The Art Institute of Chicago, Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection

 

Art Institute of Chicago

The granddaddy of all Chicago museums always merits a visit (or a revisit). Right now, its Van Gogh’s Bedrooms exhibition (through May 10), which delves deep into the artist’s most intimate works, and is the most talked-about show in town. 111 S. Michigan Ave., (312) 443-3600, artic.edu

 

Aspect/Ratio

For the latest in video and performance art, this cutting-edge gallery, located in the West Loop, is the top spot. (In fact, it’s the only commercial spot for this kind of work in the city.) Past shows have included Iris Bernblum and Sabina Ott. 119 N. Peoria Ave., (773) 206-7354, aspectratioprojects.com

 

Corbett vs. Dempsey

One of the major players in the Chicago art scene is this 12-year-old space, which does a little bit of everything: music, books and shows of under-the-radar but important artists (photographer Amy Blakemore’s  work will be on exhibit through April 23.) 1120 N. Ashland Ave., (773) 278-1664, corbettvsdempsey.com

 

Stony Island Arts Bank

Artist Theaster Gates set about turning this once-abandoned 1923 bank building into the South Side’s premier arts venue, with film screenings, gallery shows and performances. 6760 S. Stony Island Ave., (312) 857-5561, rebuild-foundation.org

 

The 606

Much like the High Line in New York City, this 2.7-mile long elevated trail on a former railroad line has quickly become the go-to spot for a sunny-day stroll. There’s plenty of art to take in during your walk, including an impressive rubber-tire-and-steel sculpture called “Brick House 2015” by Chakaia Booker. the606.org

 

Atlanta

Capital of the South

   Often referred to as the capital of the South, Atlanta is equal parts big-city glamor and small-town Southern charm. Atlanta’s food scene is having a moment with James Beard-nominated chefs delivering one polished restaurant of Southern-inflected fare after another. The fashion flock will want to check out the new The Shops Buckhead Atlanta with sleek boutiques like Tom Ford, while hipsters will gravitate to the new Ponce City Market and its vibrant food hall, housed in a renovated brick warehouse. Even Hollywood has taken a shining to Peach City, seemingly turning the entire city into a living movie set.

 

EAT

JCT. Kitchen & Bar Atlanta

photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

 

JCT. Kitchen & Bar

A stylish but casual setting and can’t-be-beat farm-to-table fare are the draws at this Atlanta classic in the Westside. Don’t miss the famous fried chicken, deviled eggs topped with a pink curl of Benton’s country ham, or the divine vegetable stand plate with dumplings. The drink list is equally curated, and the outdoor bar, overlooking surprisingly scenic railroad tracks, is one of the best drinking spots in town — particularly on weekends when live acoustic music draws crowds.  1198 Howell Mill Road, (404) 355-2252, jctkitchen.com

 

Taqueria del Sol 

This cult classic provides ultra-cheap eats, with lines forming out the door on a daily basis. Try any of the blue pate specials such as seasonal fried oyster tacos or the always-on-the-menu Memphis taco of pulled barbecue pork with jalapeño slaw, paired with a salty margarita. Three area locations, taqueriadelsol.com

The Optimist restaurant Atlanta

Maine Lobster roll - photo courtesy of The Optimist

 

The Optimist

This eatery’s chic, seafood-shack decor almost overshadows its menu of  seafood delicacies, including a signature lobster roll, seafood gumbo and hushpuppies with cane syrup butter. The raw bar is equally fun, and don’t miss the sweet side patio with mini putting lawn. 914 Howell Mill Road, (404) 477-6260, theoptimistrestaurant.com

 

Other Eats Beats:

For New South cooking at its best, head to Hugh Acheson’s Empire State South in Midtown with bocce court, renowned wine list, and even “put-ups,” i.e. pickles and preserves, you can take home; or nearby Miller Union for sorghum-glazed quail with grilled Vidalias and smoked beets. Top gourmands head to Anne Quatrano’s prix fixe Bacchanalia, or the jewel-box Little Bach below, both which source ingredients from her Georgia farm. For the best Italian fare in A-town, head to cozy BoccaLupo in Inman Park for chef Bruce Logue’s lush, handmade pastas, including his famed black spaghetti or 20-yolk tagliatelle. For cult Neapolitan pizza in a casual, off the-beaten-track spot, head like the Hollywood celebs do to Antico Pizza. Want to be on the cusp like all those Instagramming foodies? Sample Kevin Gillespie’s dim-sum-service-inspired Gunshow and Ryan Smith’s critically acclaimed Staplehouse.

 

IMBIBE

Himitsu Atlanta

photo by Emily Andrews

Umi and Himitsu

Umi was the sine qua non of watering holes for Buckhead’s posh set. That is, until the sleek and tiny sushi den went even further upscale with its neighboring (and hidden) Japanese speakeasy Himitsu. The swanky two-level space was decorated by the celebrity London design firm David Collins Studio, and the drinks are equally fancy (try the Sakura: sake, pickled plum vinegar, dried cherry blossom). But good luck navigating the exclusive admission process (via email request to hello@puraibeto.com). If all else fails, settle for sophisticated drinks and pristine sushi at sister restaurant Umi. 3050 Peachtree Road N.W., (404) 841-0040, umiatlanta.com

 

Holeman and Finch

The brainchild of Linton Hopkins, this gastropub and craft cocktail bar launched a thousand imitators. However, the original is still one of the best for cutting-edge libations and the famed after-10 p.m. H&F burger. 2277 Peachtree Road N.E., (404) 948-1175, holeman-finch.com

 

Kimball House

Decatur, the quaint college town housing Emory University, makes for a fabulous field trip. While there, be sure to hunt down Kimball House, lodged within a former train depot, and the darling of glossy magazine editors. The vintage-chic spot boasts some of the best craft cocktails and oyster platters in Atlanta, as well as a special “Absinthe Service.” 303 E. Howard Ave., Decatur, (404) 378-3502, kimball-house.com

Gypsy Kitchen Atlanta

Photo by Adam Davilla

 

Gypsy Kitchen

Head here for the most glamorous (and one of the only) rooftop bars in Buckhead. Order up the red sangria with a decidedly cherry tang and soak up the piped-in Latin-style music at this sultry hangout. 3035 Peachtree Road N.E., (404) 939-9840, gk-atl.com

 

Other drink dens:

Head to Inman Park neighborhood for a global-themed bar crawl. Barcelona is an always-buzzing, urban tapas spot with potent pitchers of sangria and black-and-white celebrity photos splashed on the wood-slat walls. Next: head to MF Sushi for sushi and sake with the stylish set and Ford Fry’s casual mini seafood eatery Beetlecat for Fish House Punch. End at Polynesian-inspired The SOS Tiki Bar for Mai Tais in kitschy glasses. Hipsters are also congregating at Venkman’s, the new Old Fourth Ward lounge from Atlanta’s favorite Yacht Rock band, for choice cocktails like Tequila Mockingbird and eclectic live music. Lastly, master mixologist Greg Best has just opened Ticonderoga Club, a snug cocktail den in the popular new Krog Street Market, for “special cups.” Try Bitter Southerner #2 (apple brandy, lime, Peychaud’s, Herbsaint, cane sugar, salt and tonic). 

 

SHOP

Virginia-Highland

Virginia-Highland is one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in Atlanta, and its main drag makes for a delightful afternoon of walking, shopping and dining. Don’t miss the old-school Fontaine’s Oyster House, bean-to-bar chocolate confectionary Cacao, and stylish gifts and decor at Stanton Home Furnishings.  virginiahighland.com

 

Westside

The original design district built out of un-scenic territory near the water plant has turned a real estate frog into a prince. Some design stores have since decamped, but Bungalow Classic remains a go-to source for pared-down chic furnishings, while Anne and Sid Mashburn are famed for their his-and-her tailored and preppy fashions. Don’t miss Star Provisions, the market shop of chef Anne Quatrano, for a  killer pork shoulder bahn mi, as well as a bakery, butcher shop and other gourmet provisions. westmidtowndesigndistrict.com and westsideprovisions.com

 

Buckhead Boutiques

Lush Life Home & Garden, housed in a little cottage on East Andrews Drive, is the chicest gift shop-cum-florist in town. Go here for crystal obelisks, tasteful coffee table books, Diptyque candles and blooms. Check out nearby Pieces for punchy modern home decor items; Huff Harrington Home for French-country-inspired housewares, gifts and jewelry; and B. Braithwaite for the most adorable baby-chic boutique — its entrance marked by giant teddy bear topiaries. Fuel up at nearby Henri’s Bakery, an Atlanta institution that makes fresh chocolate eclairs daily.

hRobert Brown Townhouse Atlanta

Robert Brown Townhouse - photo by Erica George Tines

 

Antiques and Home Decor

Antique lovers will want to head to Interiors Market at the end of Bennett Street for a well-curated selection of booths (interiorsmarket.com). Fine antiques dealers coalesce at the Galleries of Peachtree Hills (galleriesofpeachtreehills.com), many selling their continental wares to top interior designers in the Southeast and beyond. Don’t miss: the modern-glam wares of designer Robert Brown at his eponymous shop and gallery-worthy fine art by Spalding Nix. Lastly, head to neighboring ADAC (Atlanta Decorative Arts Center) — a vast maze of designer showrooms by luxe vendors like Jim Thompson and Scalamandré and newly open to the public. adacatlanta.com

Le Bilboquet Atlanta

Le Bilboquet - photo by Heidi Geldhauser

 

The Shops Buckhead Atlanta

One of the most recent additions to Atlanta, this upscale shopping and dining complex boasts cobblestone streets and glittering storefronts for labels like Tom Ford, Christian Louboutin and, soon, Dior. Even if you can’t splurge on the designer wares, you can soak up the stylish atmosphere via the French cafes (Le Bilboquet is our fave for a little piece of Paris on Peachtree), Italian coffee bars and rooftop lounges. There’s even an easy-on-the-wallet Shake Shack. Afterward, head across the street to RH Gallery, a gorgeous emporium of housewares located in a six-story mansion with garden. 3035 Peachtree Road N.E., (404) 939-9290, theshopsbuckheadatlanta.com

 

STAY

St. Regis Atlanta

photo courtesy of the st. Regis Atlanta

 

St. Regis Atlanta

For the ultimate in glamour, check into this French Regency high-rise in Buckhead. Each room includes a marble foyer and signature butler service. Afternoon tea is served in the grand two-story lobby, while the handsome St. Regis Bar is a popular watering hole for the well-heeled. World-class art, including a Picasso, Matisse and Francis Bacon, match the artistic dishes on the menu at Atlas restaurant. The hotel pool may be small but it looks like a movie set. 88 West Paces Ferry Road, (404) 563-7900, stregisatlanta.com

Atlas St. Regis Atlanta

tenderloin at Atlas - photo by Patrick Heagney

 

The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead

True to the Ritz’s heritage, this hotel represents discreet, Old World elegance in the heart of Buckhead, within walking distance to the Phipps and Lenox shopping centers. The lobby bar acts as Atlanta’s gracious living room with roaring fires in winter, impeccable cocktail or tea service, and a lavish Downton Abbey-style brunch every Sunday. 3434 Peachtree Road, (404) 237-2700; ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/georgia/buckhead

 

W Atlanta - Buckhead

The fashion and hipster set gravitate to this Buckhead hotel for modern if diminutive accommodations; an upper-deck pool; and an exterior glass elevator that whisks guests straight to Rande Gerber’s rooftop bar, Whiskey Blue, with its stunning city views. Note: The W also offers two equally sleek properties in Midtown and Downtown. 3377 Peachtree Road N.E., (678) 500-3100, watlantabuckhead.com

 

CULTURE FIX

Jackson Fine Art

This gem of a museum, housed in a Buckhead cottage on a quiet side street, showcases some of the most renowned photographers in the world. Past shows have highlighted everything from the works of Italian Vogue photographer Greg Lotus to portraits by regionalist Sally Mann.  On show through April 16: desolate Western places shot by Andrew Moore and vintage fashion photos by William Klein. 3115 E. Shadowlawn Ave. N.E., (404) 233-3739, jacksonfineart.com

 

High Museum of Art

This dazzling white temple of art designed by Richard Meier and Renzo Piano almost upstages its art collection. While the High is short in old masters, it is rich in contemporary works, and riveting special exhibits. On show now: the works of global artist Vik Muniz, who assembles unusual materials from chocolate to garbage into works of art (through Aug. 21); and the futuristic fashions of Dutch conceptualist Iris van Herpen (through May 15). 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., (404)733-4400, high.org

 

Atlanta Botanical Garden

The garden is a true jewel in Atlanta’s crown with its lush display of flora in the heart of Midtown. Past art-in-the-garden exhibits have featured masters such as Henry Moore. On show April 30-Oct. 30, the flamboyant works of international glass artist Dale Chihuly. Summer brings outdoor concerts on the lawn. (Catch Smash Mouth and Toad the Wet Sprocket on July 23 and The Mavericks and Los Lobos on Aug. 28.) 1345 Piedmont Ave. N.E., (404) 876-5859, atlantabg.org

 

The Center of Civil and Human Rights offers a more sober educational experience, including select papers of Martin Luther King Jr. on display in a showcase piece of architecture by David Rockwell. 100 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd. N.W., (678) 999-8990, civilandhumanrights.org

 

Atlanta History Center and Swan House

History buffs will want to inspect Atlanta History Center in Buckhead for exhibits on the Civil War and other topics. However, the highlight is a tour of the adjacent Swan House, an iconic 1928 Southern estate and garden. Don’t miss the Swan House Coach House for one of the most adorable gift shops in town.  After your tour, drive through the surrounding neighborhoods of Buckhead for some of the most gracious estates in town on aptly named streets like Tuxedo Road. 130 West Paces Ferry Road N.W., (404) 814-4000, atlantahistorycenter.com

The Fashion Museum at SCAD

Savannah College of Art and Design recently debuted a  focused new fashion museum at its Atlanta campus in Midtown. The inaugural exhibit was curated by former Vogue editor André Leon Talley and highlighted the couture of the late Oscar de la Renta. 1600 Peachtree St. N.W., fourth floor, (404) 253-3132, scadfash.org

 

Denver

Mile-High Style

Even five years ago, Denver was a forgotten middle child — less cosmopolitan than the hubs of Los Angeles and Chicago, too rustic to hang with more hipster enclaves like Portland and Seattle. Its proximity to the mountains made it a convenient pit stop for powder hounds, but they never stayed for long; they had other places to be. Now, though, the Mile-High City is a destination unto itself, bustling with bars, restaurants and entertainment while still retaining a uniquely casual charm. Here’s how to explore it.

 

EAT

Beast + Bottle Denver

photo courtesy of Beast + bottle

 

Beast + Bottle

Beast + Bottle’s elevated brunch, with innovative menu items such as chai French toast and pork shoulder tostada — the latter comes with eggs laid by the bistro’s own flock of Rhode Island Red hens — is farm-to-table food at its best. 719 E. 17th Ave., (303) 623-3223, beastandbottle.com

 

Cart Driver

At Cart-Driver, a 640-square-foot restaurant in a reclaimed shipping container, the pizza is made in the authentic Neapolitan style, the oysters are sublime, and the prosecco is on tap. Order the clam pizza with littleneck clams, pancetta, roasted garlic, and panna and, if it’s available, the toasted marshmallow gelato. 2500 Larimer St., No. 100, (303) 292-3553, cart-driver.com

 

Hop Alley

You’re probably not heading to Denver for its Chinese food, but 4-month-old Hop Alley’s chilled tofu and steamed eggplant dishes will have you raving about the softly lit, minimalist spot for weeks after you return home. 3500 Larimer St., (720) 379-8340, hopalleydenver.com

Guard and Grace Denver

photo courtesy of Guard and grace

 

Guard and Grace

Restaurateur Troy Guard is a household name in the Mile-High City, and his modern steakhouse, Guard and Grace, shows off his brand with a mix of classic (filet mignon) and surprising (Alaskan black cod) options that will leave everyone in your party satisfied. 1801 California St., (303) 293-8500, guardandgrace.com

 

IMBIBE

Black Eye Coffee

The 6-month-old outpost of Black Eye Coffee functions as a coffee shop by day and a sophisticated bar at night. Order the deconstructed cup of coffee, a flight of food and spirits that mimics the flavors of one of three featured coffees on the menu. 800 Sherman St., (303) 955-1205, drinkblackeye.com/caphill

Williams and Graham Denver

Photo courtesy of Williams & Graham

 

Williams & Graham

Helmed by renowned bartender Sean Kenyon and named the best bar in America at last year’s Spirited Awards, Williams & Graham produces balanced cocktails in a speakeasy setting that can’t be beat for its ambience. The blackberry sage smash is always a winner. 3160 Tejon St., (303) 997-8886, williamsandgraham.com

Bar Fausto Denver

Photo by Andrea Behrends

 

Bar Fausto

Bar Fausto doesn’t have the same kind of atmosphere as Williams & Graham, but its variations on classic drinks like the #13 (Leopold Bros. apple whiskey, ginger, spiced honey, lemon, egg yolk soda and nutmeg), a take on a fizz, can stand on their own. 3126 Larimer St., (720) 445-9691, barfausto.com

 

Call to Arms Brewing Co.

Although Denver’s not hurting for craft breweries, many have adopted the austere, concrete-floor-uncomfortable-stool vibe. For a bit more class, stop by Call to Arms Brewing Company, which is full of brick walls, wood paneling and enormous glasses of beer. As many as three new brews are tapped each week, so it’s hard to predict what will be available, but a recent release included a pear-flavored farmhouse ale, a coffee-infused porter and a session-imperial stout hybrid. 4526 Tennyson St., (720) 328-8258, calltoarmsbrewing.com

Tivoli Brewing Co. Denver

photo courtesy of Tivoli Brewing Co.

 

Tivoli Brewing Co.

Once the largest brewery in America, Tivoli Brewing Co. closed its doors in 1969 — but last year, both its signature buck beers and its former production facility (a classic brick building that’s housed the Auraria Higher Education Center’s student union) were brought back to life. Head to the new brewpub for a taste of Sigi’s Wild Horse Buck Beer, which was originally brewed from 1864 to 1874. 900 Auraria Parkway, (720) 458-5885, tivolibrewingco.com

 

SHOP

RH Denver

Photo courtesy of RH Denver

 

RH Denver

The 6-month-old RH Denver, Restoration Hardware’s 70,000-square-foot showroom at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, is more of a gallery than a true store. It is, however, a perfect place for visitors to ogle glittering chandeliers, oversized sofas, and soaring banana plants, the latter in the rooftop conservatory. 2900 E. First Ave., (303) 331-1938, restorationhardware.com

Hazel & Dewey Denver

Photo by Circe Baumgartner of Circe B Photo

 

Hazel & Dewey

For items you can actually take home, stop by kitchen goods store Hazel & Dewey. There, you’ll find a souvenir with no whiff of tourism, whether it’s a Flat Iron mountain-patterned kitchen towel or soapstone whiskey rocks. 70 S. Broadway, (303) 777-1500, hazel-dewey.com

 

Ily Iley

Better yet, add a new piece to your closet from year-old boutique Ily Iley, owned by Ilyse Mark and Bailey Lemak. Look for designer brands like Whitney Eve and Velvet by Graham & Spencer. 2525 15th St., Unit 1C, (303) 284-3814, ily-iley.com

 

Armitage & McMillan

For menswear, look no further than Armitage & McMillan, run by former New York City buyers Darin Combs and Daniel Armitage. To give it even more credibility, GQ fawned over the store, which focuses on classic basics and includes brands like UNIS and Steven Alan, in June of last year. 1550 Platte St., Suite D, (303) 284-6222, armitageandmcmillan.com

 

Rockmount Ranch Wear

There’s no better place to buy cowboy boots — or any Western garb — than Rockmount Ranch Wear, whose founder was the first to put snaps instead of buttons on Western shirts. Here, you’ll find handmade Lucchese boots, plus a museum of newspaper clippings and other memorabilia documenting the history of the iconic, 70-year-old store. 1626 Wazee St., (303) 629-7777, rockmount.com

 

BE SEEN

  • Absorb yourself in the city’s architecture and history with free tours of more than 70 landmarks, thanks to the Doors Open Denver event on April 23 and 24. Don’t miss the Governor’s Residence at the Boettcher Mansion and the 125-year-old recently reopened Historic Elitch Gardens Theatre. doorsopendenver.com

 

  • One of the largest craft beer and food pairing events in the city, BrüFrou (April 30) features 80 local brewers and chefs creating mouthwatering combinations and giving 30-minute talks on topics at the forefront of the culinary scene. This year, it’s being held at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, which is housed in a World War II-era hangar. culinarypairings.com

 

  • To get a diverse taste of the Denver music scene, snag a ticket to the Battle of the Bands: Rematch, the Colorado Symphony’s annual fundraiser ball, on April 23 at the Fillmore Auditorium. There, the orchestra, funk-blues hybrid group Tracksuit Wedding, and rock ’n’ roll outfit DaVita Blues All Stars will perform live — and your real-time fundraising for each band will determine the winner. coloradosymphony.org

 

  • Afternoon tea has been served at The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa since the hotel’s early years (it opened in 1892), and the elegant service hasn’t lost its shine yet. Go for the scones made with Devonshire cream that’s shipped from England and the soft tones of the harp or piano that add to the opulent experience. 321 17th St., (303) 297-3111, brownpalace.com

 

STAY

The Crawford Hotel Denver

photo courtesy of The Crawford Hotel

 

The Crawford Hotel

You wouldn’t think train-depot accommodations would be all too comfortable, yet the 112-room Crawford in the recently renovated Union Station manages to be both elegant (vaulted ceilings, clawfoot tubs) and modern (in-room iPad minis and courtesy Tesla car service within a 2-mile radius). Plus, the commuter rail line from Denver International Airport to Union Station opens this month, so you can go straight from the plane to the pillow with minimal effort. 1701 Wynkoop St., (720) 460-3700, thecrawfordhotel.com

The ART a Hotel Denver

photo by rouse photography

 

The ART, a Hotel

Located next to the Denver Art Museum, this 10-month-old, 165-room boutique hotel features its own collection of original paintings and sculptures curated by former longtime DAM staffer Dianne Vanderlip. Some pieces, like Larry Bell’s wind-chime-like Light Knots in the fourth-floor FIRE Restaurant, were commissioned explicitly for the ART. 1201 Broadway, (303) 572-8000, thearthotel.com

 

BookBed

Literature lovers must try to, ahem, book this sophisticated apartment, located above (and run by the owner of) independent bookstore and wine bar BookBar. The apartment’s black, white and gray color scheme imitates the palette of book pages; a chalkboard wall in the chef’s kitchen bears signatures from visiting authors; and you can take home any riveting tomes you find on the shelves for an extra charge. 4280 Tennyson St. To make a reservation, send a message via bookbeddenver.com or book via Airbnb.

 

CULTURE FIX

  • If you travel to the Mile-High City, you can’t miss the Denver Art Museum — literally. A striking mélange of silver geometric shapes, the institution’s Frederic C. Hamilton Building — designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind —foreshadows the impressive collection of modern and contemporary art it holds. 100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway, (720) 865-5000, denverartmuseum.org

 

  • On the first Friday of each month, many of Denver’s arts districts hold an art walk, during which all the galleries in the neighborhood open their doors to the public. The Art District on Santa Fe boasts the largest number of galleries, but we recommend heading to the burgeoning RiNo ‘hood on First Fridays; you’ll avoid (some of) the crowds and be closer to trendy restaurants and bars. Various locations, rivernorthart.com

 

  • The 5-year-old Clyfford Still Museum is the rare institution that’s devoted to one individual, in this case, a leader in the abstract expressionist movement following World War II. Yet it goes even further to create a haven for the art lover through everything from the building itself, which was designed to showcase the pieces in natural light, or the innovative events it holds. On April 10, for instance, the galleries will play host to the Colorado Chamber Players, who will perform classical music that Still listened to while he painted. (We know because his record collection is part of the museum’s archive.) 1250 Bannock St., (720) 354-4880, clyffordstillmuseum.org

 

  • The Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum doesn’t have quite as many planes and rockets as the National Air & Space Museum, but flight nerds will still be impressed by the F-111 aircraft, the B-18 bomber, and a scale replica of the X-Wing fighter from the original Star Wars films. Plus, the building itself is a hangar that dates back to World War II. 7711 E. Academy Blvd., (303) 360-5360, wingsmuseum.org