Take a tour of Denver, the Rock Chick World, through these great shops, bars, coffee houses and restaurants…and, if you find yourself in Denver, don’t miss this stuff. Seriously.
Barolo Grill – www.barologrilldenver.com
3030 East Sixth Avenue, Denver, Colorado
Indy and Lee’s destination for their first date (kind of). I had a truffle risotto here that I would happily hand over my first child to experience again (I don’t have any children, by the way, just in case you’re worried). Whenever I even drive by this place, my mouth waters. Divine!
Beau Jo’s Pizza – www.beaujos.com
Locations in Denver, Arvada and Idaho Springs
Indy and Lee have been going to Beau Jo’s with their families all their lives. There’s a reason why. It’s the best pizza EVER! (Okay, some of my family are from Chicago and Chicago pizza is known to be the best but Beau Jo’s DEFINITELY gives Chicago pizza a run for its money, and trust me, I know pizza.) No frills because they don’t need it, the pizza is so dang good, you’ll think you died and went to pizza heaven. If you skip pouring honey on the thick crust at the end, you should be shot.
Bonnie Brae Tavern – www.bonniebraetavern.com
740 South University Boulevard, Denver, Colorado
This is where Hank takes Jet for dinner while she’s on his watch. This is also where he flirts with her proving those boys next door can be just as dangerous as the bad boys. Mm. There are a lot of good places to get good food in Denver but there are only a select few where you go and you know you’ll go there time and again. This is due to ambiance and brilliant freaking food. This is Bonnie Brae Tavern. This place has been there for yonks, feels like it, and when you go, you’ll want to ask if they’ll set up a cot for you so you can stumble out of bed and order something different off their menu every day. And seriously, anyone who decorates mostly in turquoise has my repeat custom (turquoise being the official stone of the Rock Chick). Visitors outside Denver might not ever find it, but if you read my website, you better not miss it!
Buckhorn Exchange – www.buckhornexchange.com
10th and Osage, Denver, Colorado
Hank takes Roxie here for their first date in Rock Chick Redemption. The Buckhorn Exchange is the oldest restaurant in Denver. It has an awesome, old West atmosphere (it couldn’t have anything else) that immediately sucks you in because the outside is just as cool as the inside. But this is no gimmick restaurant. This is plain, old good food with equally good service. I’ve eaten here on more than one occasion, it was always the top choice for places to take out-of-towners and I’ve not been disappointed. Not to mention, the menu is adventurous so if you want to try something new, and fabulous, such as elk, Rocky Mountain oysters or rattlesnake, this is the place to go. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Carmine’s on Penn – www.carminescolorado.com
92 South Pennsylvania, Denver, Colorado
This is where Ava and Ren have dinner in Rock Chick Revenge. This is also where I fell in love with Ren and knew he’d get a book. And last and oh so importantly not least, this is where I have eaten, repeatedly, and possibly every time embarrassed myself with my need to shove down as many of their garlicky rolls and chicken Montana as I could get down my gullet. Put simply, every single time I had the pleasure of going to Carmine’s, it was one of the best culinary experiences of my life. They do tremendous food in an amazing atmosphere that’s busy and alive and makes you want to come back night after night. If you live in Denver, or are just visiting, make a reservation and GO!
Cruise Room, Oxford Hotel – www.theoxfordhotel.com/the-cruise-room.html
1600 17th Street, Denver, Colorado
If there is ever a place to mastermind a crazy scheme while drinking martinis, The Cruise Room is the premier destination. Indy, Jet and Daisy know this and this is where they meet to create their plan to infiltrate the underworld poker games of Denver. In the real word, The Cruise Room gives good martini. But even if they didn’t, you’d want to go there because this place is bee-you-tee-ful. Walk in and be transported to a different world as you’re surrounded by extraordinary art deco décor that was as cool in 1933 as it is in 2016 and will be in 2999. And if nearly eighty years doesn’t diminish coolness, it’s guaranteed to be the ultimate of cool. Don your best little black dress and fabulous spike heels, order it dirty and stay a while.
Dozens – dozensdenver.com
236 West 13th Avenue, Denver, Colorado
This is the primary destination for the Rock Chicks if they feel the need on the morning after to go over wedding plans or chew the fat about who’s doing who…and how. I didn’t select this restaurant for my Rock Chicks because I’ve had perhaps too many mimosas here (are there ever too many mimosas?). I selected this for my Rock Chicks because of its easy atmosphere where you don’t have breakfast, you have a great breakfast where you feel you can chew the fat over mimosas for as long as you like. This is just a laid back place that’s been there ages because it never disappoints. If you want breakfast in Denver, my advice? Hit Dozens up.
The Hornet – www.hornetrestauarant.com
76 Broadway, Denver, Colorado
This is down the street from the fictional “Fortnum’s Used Bookstore” and it’s Indy’s bar of choice. This is just a cool bar. Great place to hang. Great place to eat. And a great location (before or after your Hornet Experience, catch a flick at The Mayan, an absolutely cool-as-shit art house movie theater just a stone’s throw from The Hornet – even if you aren’t into movies, The Mayan’s architecture is worth a look-see). I’ve sampled their menu copiously and there is nothing I do not like. And all the servers are nice.
Jerusalem – www.jerusalemrestaurant.com
1890 East Evans Avenue, Denver, Colorado
Straight up, if you like Mediterranean food, and you’re in Denver, you need to go to Jerusalem. Touch down at DIA, rent your car or get in a taxi and say, “Jerusalem, 1890 East Evans.” Get out, grab your bag and get a combo platter. Then write me a thank you note and name your next child after me. If I had Mediterranean food before Jerusalem, I don’t remember it because the Jerusalem experience wiped it out. I’ve been on the Med since I discovered Jerusalem and I don’t remember what I ate there because all I remember is Jerusalem. Roxie and Tex have lunch here in Rock Chick Redemption because Tex knows how to spoil his niece. Go. Eat. Enjoy. And when you name your kid after me, it’s Kristen with an “E.”
LaMar’s Donuts – www.lamars.com
Several locations, my local was at 990 West 6th Avenue, Denver Colorado
I am a cop’s daughter so I can say that I’ve dedicated years to the study of the perfect donut and discovery of the locations of the places to buy them. After living twelve years in Denver, I, not once, found a donut (in Denver, the best in the world are at Hilligoss Bakery in Brownsburg, Indiana) better than the many, many, MANY varieties of donuts available at LaMar’s. And this is after copious sampling. Any time I would go to LaMar’s, I was struck with almost paralytic indecision because there were always several varieties I wished to consume and it made matters worse because one of each variety was never enough. If you’re in Denver, don’t experiment. Look up LaMar’s, find the nearest location and… go there!
Las Delicias – www.lasdeliciasmexicanrestaurant.com
Several locations, my favorite, 439 East 19th Street, Denver, Colorado
If Indy wants Mexican, she goes to “LD.” On the eighth day, God created Las Delicias salsa. I have never, not once (and I’ve sampled profusely, as in, PROFUSELY) had a bad meal here. Never. Did I say never? NEVER!
Le Peep – lepeep.com
Several locations, Ava, Luke and Mrs. Stark go to 1699 South Colorado Boulevard, Denver
Luke delivers one of his hottest lines (and he delivers a lot of heat) to Ava during breakfast with his mother at Le Peep in Rock Chick Revenge (of course, Mrs. Stark was on a bathroom break because Luke respects his momma). He also has good taste in breakfast venues. I get the granola pancakes here. I also dream of Le Peep granola pancakes when I’m not in Denver. According to moi, there were only four breakfast options when I was living in Denver. Dozens, Mercury Cafe, LaMar’s Donuts, and Le Peep. And seriously, there’s a reason for that.
Liks Ice Cream Parlor – www.likesicecream.com
2039 East 13th Avenue, Denver, Colorado
If it’s summer, it’s time to go to Liks. If it’s winter, it’s time to go to Liks. If it’s morning, it’s time to go to Liks. If you’ve just had dinner, it’s time to go to Liks. Indy and Ally know that there is no time that isn’t Liks Time. This ice cream is dee-lish!
Lincoln’s Road House – www.lincolnsroadhouse.com
1201 South Pearl Street, Denver, Colorado
Sorry, but any place whose logo has wings and serves meatloaf cheesburgers and pot roast burritos is a place where a Rock Chick is gonna hang. Seriously. Not only that, the staff is cool (and the waitresses are nice), if they got a band playing, the atmosphere is hot and if you’re bored you can go out the side and check out the row of bikes (and not the wussy kind with pedals) and allow yourself a nice, happy sigh. Lincoln’s Road House is where Lee and the Hot Bunch boys spend their time when they aren’t out crackin’ heads. You go, you’ll see why. This is a man’s bar (still, my fondest memory of Lincoln’s is the first time I went, I saw this chick, GREAT hair, and she was wearing black-leather chaps–I wanted to wrestle her for her chaps but I didn’t because I was pretty sure she could take me). LOVE IT!
Mercury Cafe – mercurycafe.com
2199 California Street, Denver, Colorado
Get ready not just for good food when you hit the Mercury Cafe in Denver. Get ready to experience iconic Denver goodness at its best. Mercury Cafe is as much a part of the local Denver experience as El Chapultepec. It’s the place the locals know to go. In other words, you can’t really call yourself a Denverite if you haven’t gone here. Weird. Wacky. Wonderful. It’s hippie, earthy goodness at its best, and that’s not just the food but everything. I used to always get the eggs Benedict here and the only place I had it better was when my Stevie made them for me. I love it. I miss it. I wanna go there right now.
My Brother’s Bar
2376 15th Street, Denver, Colorado
Ally works here as a bartender (well, not really, as Ally doesn’t exist except on a page). They pull a killer pint of Guinness here. But that’s not why you go here. Three words: jalapeno cream cheese (try it with one of their soft pretzels). Okay, that’s not enough, two more words: Ticky Turkey (the greatest sandwich I have ever eaten IN MY LIFE). They bring out the food with this plastic condiment extravaganza that will make your happy little eyes pop out of your head because you can custom-make your own food (you read that right, you can custom-make your own food)! This is a totally cool place to hang, and eat, and hang, and drink, and hang.
Pearl Street Grill – www.pearlstreetgrilldenver.com/
1477 South Pearl Street, Denver, Colorado
Indy mentions Pearl Street Grill in relation to the Epic Sushi Den (the word “epic” isn’t actually part of Sushi Den’s name, I just think of it that way in my head). Pearl Street (not the Grill, the street) on the whole is full of shops, restaurants, coffeehouses and bars where you can while away your afternoon and then enjoy your evening. If you’re a tourist, you may miss it, but you shouldn’t. Pearl Street Grill is a neighborhood hangout (though, that neighborhood pretty much encompasses the whole of Denver). If you live in Denver and you cannot wax poetic about Pearl Street Grill’s Mexican Egg Rolls then you cannot say you’re a Denver Resident. All the food here is awesome, so is the feel of the joint. Wish I could go there for lunch today (and tomorrow).
Stella’s Coffee Haus
1476 South Pearl Street, Denver, Colorado
Okay, so, now you’re noticing (by the addresses) that this is across the street from Pearl Street Grill and Sushi Den. Now, I ask you, what could be better than having a great meal at Pearl Street Grill or Sushi Den, then stumbling across the street to sit in a groovy, lived-in, happy-vibe coffeehouse with great coffee, excellent servers and good music playing all the time? Is your answer nothing? You would be correct! Or you can trip on over in the morning, or of a weekend, and hang out reading the paper (not that I read the paper, I usually avoid the news, it depresses me). Instead, I used to sit in the front with my friend and we’d pet the dogs that were left by the water bowls when their owners went in for coffee. We would spend our time hatching schemes to dognap the dogs (rest assured, we never followed these through, but there was many a temptation). Denverites like their coffee and luckily, they have kick-butt places like Stella’s to get it!
Sushi Den – www.sushiden.net
1487 South Pearl Street, Denver, Colorado
Indy and Ally go here twice a month (or they would, if they weren’t fictional). When I lived in Denver, I was a regular (luckily, a friend of mine only lived four blocks away so we could stumble there and back, in high heels–not that we did that, they have valet parking). I’d say it was all about the edamame but it wasn’t. It was about the sushi, which is THE BEST. When I’m back in Denver, a trip to the Sushi Den is always on the schedule. ALWAYS.
Twin Dragon – www.twindragonrestaurant.com
3021 South Broadway, Englewood, Colorado
They just have good Chinese. Simple.
Wax Trax Records – www.waxtraxrecords.com
638 East 13th Avenue, Denver, Colorado
Lee gets Indy gift certificates here too. I suppose you could go to some chain record store to buy your music. But why?