(credit: 1515 Restaurant)
When you plan an evening out at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, you’ll want to make a full evening out of the occasion. After all, chances are good that you’ve planned at least weeks, if not months, in advance to get your tickets and arrange to see something that is truly special. Why not start early and grab a drink or two, along with a light bite, before you enjoy the show? All of the suggestions on this list are within walking distance of the Denver Center Complex, so you can arrive early, park in the garage and then walk over to grab a drink before the show begins. Then you don’t have to worry about parking again, paying for parking twice or about having more than one cocktail and getting behind the wheel.
Limelight Supper Club and Lounge
1355 Curtis St.
Denver, CO 80204
This beautiful lounge is located right in the center of the Denver Center Performing Arts Complex so you really can’t get much closer to your theater. It serves the pre-theater crowd fairly exclusively, offering dinner prior to shows and brunch prior to weekend matinees. If you aren’t looking for a full meal, just stop by the bar for one of its delicious cocktails like a French Pear Martini or the Curtis Street Treat which includes Lost Island Small Batch Rum, coconut cream, pineapple juice and nutmeg. There is also a nice selection of wines, champagnes and other delicious beverages to whet your whistle before you head into the theater.
Crave Dessert Bar and Lounge
891 14th St.
Denver, CO 80202
Arrive a little early and you can head over to Crave before the show, since it’s within walking distance from the Denver Center. It’s the perfect place for a light bite or a sweet dessert along with your cocktail. The dessert offerings change daily, so you’ll always have new treats to sample every time you are there, but make sure to try the Pina Colada Cake, which is a passion fruit vanilla cake with rum, pineapple and toasted coconut. When it comes to drinks, you can enjoy everything from hot cider and Italian coffee to beer, wine and lots of specialty cocktails. Try a Manhatty Twist with Makers Mark, sweet vermouth, brown syrup, Grand Marnier, caramelized orange oil and Angostura bitters or grab a refreshing House Bellini with Prosecco, peach schnapps, peach bitters and diced mango. No matter what you choose to enjoy at Crave, you’ll have a delicious bite and a fabulous drink before your evening’s entertainment.
Edge Restaurant and Bar
1111 14th St.
Denver, CO 80202
The Edge Restaurant and Bar is another wonderful spot to stop in for a drink, quick bite or a full meal before the show. It’s also located within walking distance of the theater complex, so you can park in the garage and walk. Visit the bar for more than 50 different wines and cocktails along with small bites like artisanal cheeses, sushi and Kobe sliders. Then sample some of the incredible cocktails like the Smokin’ Aces with Dewars White Label Blended Scotch, St. Germaine, blackberries, lemon juice, fresh mint and soda. Or try one of the retro cocktails like the Seasoned Sazerac, which comes with Bulleit Rye Whiskey, a sugar cube, Angostura Bitters and Leopold Bros. Absinthe. And since you’ll be walking back to the theater, you can even have two drinks instead of just one.
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1515 Market St.
Denver, CO 80202
Market Street’s 1515 offers modern American cuisine served in a wonderful atmosphere. However, if you aren’t looking for a full meal, you can stop in the first floor lounge for a sampling from the extensive menu of 500 different wines, lots of craft beers and plenty of amazing cocktails. The Lounge also serves lots of small plate items like Fried Green Tomatoes, Lamb Belly Mac n Cheese and Turkey Grinders. When it comes to cocktails, there are some very tasty concoctions to sample. Enjoy a Mango Melontini with Three Olives Mango Vodka, watermelon juice, Cointreau, sour and blackberry caviar, or try the Picasso Wine Cocktail which comes with Josh Carr Merlot, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, lemon, lime, Lucid Absinthe Rinse and lavender foam. These are clearly very specially crafted cocktails and are perfect to start your evening before you head into the theater.
The Corner Office
1401 Curtis St.
Denver, CO 80202
Located right across the street from the Denver Center Performing Arts Complex, The Corner Office is a fun place to meet up with a few friends, enjoy a drink or two and have a small bite before you walk back over for your show. Get a table appetizer to share like duck poutine, crab fritters or calamari puttanesca, and you’ll have the perfect food to wash down a cocktail or two. The bar here really does the martini right so you’ll want to order one from the martini menu. Try the Unicorn Tears, with Lillet Rose, Bombay Sapphire, lemon, Crème de Viollete, spring water and “two unicorn tears.” Or enjoy the French Connection with Grey Goose La Poire, St. Germain and Prosecco. The Monroe is also very popular, since it comes with vodka, white crème de cocoa, butterscotch, caramel and salt. It’s like a delicious dessert drink that is sure to put a smile on your face before you head in for your show.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.