Dine in the wilds of the woods or sail away on an underwater adventure at these quirky themed restaurants in Denver that will leave you highly entertained. Scarf down a fried shrimp platter beneath a great white shark or munch on sweet, honey-soaked sopaipillas while watching daring divers plunge from 30-foot cliffs. Anything goes at these fun, funky Mile High eateries!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Adrift Tiki Bar and Grill
Drift away to the shores of the South Pacific at this Polynesian-inspired tiki bar and grill. Munch on fried plantain chips, a Spam sandwich, and mango sticky rice as you revel in a banana daiquiri or perhaps a flaming group cocktail with "lots of rum" and a sure side of fun!
2. Ship Tavern
Since 1934, this vintage nautical-style pub in the historic Brown Palace Hotel has been serving up what has been hailed as "the best prime rib in Denver" alongside burgers, sandwiches, seafood, and ales. Thar she blows!
3. Aquarium Underwater Restaurant
Apparently since we're a bit landlocked in the Mile High City, we really love our underwater themed eateries, but the Aquarium Restaurant takes the cake with its floor-to-ceiling 50,000 gallon fish tank. Children and adults alike will delight in watching over 100 species of brightly colored tropical fish swim gracefully through the waters, giddy that they're not on your plate.
4. The Crawling Crab
The Crawling Crab is yet another seafood spot boasting nautical digs and finned fare in a down-home atmosphere. They've got everything from fried oysters and calamari to fresh catches like lobster, crawfish, and dungeness crab. Throw on their spicy cajun house seasoning and away you go!
5. Casa Bonita
Everybody knows you go to this rowdy roadside attraction for the experience, not the food (although their soft, fluffy honey-drenched sopaipillas are heaven on a plate). But this 52,000-square-foot restaurant boasts endless entertainment, including cliff divers, puppet shows, Mariachi bands, secret hideouts, and men in gorilla suits, and that's really all you need. Am I right?
6. Cheba Hut
Although it's a national chain, this cannabis-themed "toasted" sandwich shop fits in quite well in the Mile High City. They've got three locations in Denver where you can cure your munchies with their White Widow, Panama Red, and Goo Balls and wash it all down with a cool microbrew. (And though I'm generally opposed to billboards, theirs are always HIGHly entertaining. Ba-dum-bum.)
7. The Buckhorn Exchange
This Old West Museum and National Historic Landmark has been serving up western fare in their unique digs containing a 575-piece collection of taxidermy and a 125-piece firearm collection since 1893. The Buckhorn Exchange is overflowing with copious amounts of historic artifacts and prime cuts of meat and is undoubtedly a novel Mile High dining experience.
8. Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse
Speaking of copious amounts of protein, this steakhouse offers Brazilian-inspired creations and all-you-can-eat meat carved table side. With locations across Brazil and the U.S., Fogo is aspiring to spread Brazilian culture across the globe.
9. Forest Room 5
If you can't make it to the mountains this weekend to go camping, Forest Room 5 may just be the next best thing. Hover around the fire pits among the trees, rocks, and stream, while dining on menu items featuring creatures of the woods, such as smoked bison tacos, elk sliders, and plank cooked lake trout. And the woodland motif is just something you have to see for yourself...there are giant animal statues, wildlife dioramas, and even a book vending machine. Timber!
10. Beatrice & Woodsley
Sticking with the forest theme, Beatrice & Woodsley has created an "urban aspen grove" in the heart of the city on South Broadway that boasts menus that are just as pleasing as its ambiance. They feature seasonal, local ingredients with gluten and dairy-free options, fantastic hand-crafted cocktails, and delectable desserts that are to DIE for!
11. Williams & Graham
This not-so-secret speakeasy in the Highlands can be hard to get into and often has a wildly outrageous wait list on the weekends (I'm talking up to 3 hours, folks)! But you can avoid all that hassle by making a reservation (Sunday through Wednesday only) and enjoying their phenomenal food and libations with relative ease. Mouthwatering mac and cheese and beef spareribs with a chaser of rare 10yr bourbon!? I'm already there!