Top of the Town 2009

A peek at our must-read annual round-up of who's who and what's what in the Mile-High City.

July 2009


Top Women's Clothing (Affordable)
Editors' Choice

With its extensive selection of hip casual wear, Rebel is the perfect place to pick up a new pair of jeans, a cozy sweater, or a cool cotton blazer. Owner Robyn Bairstow's breezy California style features on-trend clothing by the kind of classic, easygoing brands Denver women favor. Check out T-shirts by Michael Stars and Splendid, pants by Twill 22, and relaxed separates by Language and Trina Turk. 5910 S. University Blvd., 720-283-1004

Readers' Choice

With the average price of a T-shirt at $60 and jeans coming in at $150, the word "affordable" is definitely a relative term. But Nordstrom is a savvy retailer; the store's T.B.D., Narrative, and Point of View departments all offer up career and casual clothing by Halogen, MICHAEL Michael Kors, and Kenneth Cole, with much of it retailing for under $200. Multiple locations

Top Men's Clothing (Affordable)
Editors' Choice

With its offering of cool casual wear for men, Weekends brings together a great selection of brands under one roof. Check out cult favorites like handmade, organic denim by Nudie, T-shirts by Hozell, and shirts by Modern Amusement. Of course, if you like your fashion a little more familiar, the store also carries top men's lines like Converse by John Varvatos, polos by Lacoste, and separates from Vince. 1200 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-4231

Readers' Choice

What separates MetroBoom from the rest of the fashion pack is the store's focus on style guidance for men. Owner Jung Park has created an intimate space that offers men an edited selection of clothing, but he really emphasizes creating a total look through grooming services, image consulting, bespoke tailoring, and personal shopping. 1550 Platte St., Suite A/B, 303-477-9700

Top Women's Clothing (Splurge)
Editors' Choice

Owned by mother-and-daughter team Christy and Casey Rosen, this Cherry Creek North shop features chic-yet-casual wardrobe options that are never basic or boring. Jewel-toned silk dresses by Calypso, separates by Elizabeth and James, soft jersey dresses by Rachel Pally's, and novelty blouses from Catherine Malandrino are all beautifully arranged by color, making them easy to peruse and difficult to leave on the rack. 222 Steele St., 303-399-7779, and 1717 Champa St., 303-292-2245

Readers' Choice

Delish Demure
Women have been flocking to Delish Demure for its unique mix of clothing and approachable style. Never overly trendy or too traditional, owner Lauren Metz strikes the right balance by offering realistic dressing solutions, regardless of whether it's career clothing or everyday lounge wear. You'll want to buy that Rebecca & Drew shirtdress for next week's meeting in the office, but don't be surprised if you can't help but nab a pair of jeans by J&Company for the weekend. 8000 E. Belleview Ave., Suite D10, Greenwood Village, 303-740-1100

Top Men's Clothing (Splurge)
Editors' Choice

Lawrence Covell
If you're going to splurge on a single wardrobe item, then Lawrence Covell is the place to do it. A standout in town for its service and designer collections like Jil Sander, Dries Van Noten, and Etro, this 42-year-old specialty store has made a name for itself by offering clothing that is always modern yet timeless enough that you don't mind shelling out for it. 225 Steele St., 303-320-1023

Readers' Choice

Although our female readers chose Nordstrom as their favorite affordable store, the men picked it as their number one place to splurge—and that may say a whole lot about gender-specific shopping habits. Maybe Denver's men dig Nordstrom because it offers one-stop shopping—from denim and blazers to suits, ties, shoes, and pajamas—that just can't be beat. Multiple locations

Top New Clothing Boutique
Editors' Choice

Delish Demure
A tough economy hasn't derailed newbie Delish Demure from successfully giving women a unique shopping format to explore since last August. The store's "Work," "Play," "Night Out," "Relax," and "Indulge" mini-departments assist women in discovering their style and focusing their shopping experience. And if you're really in a wardrobe funk, ask owner Lauren Metz about her consulting and wardrobe design services. 8000 E. Belleview Ave., Suite D10, Greenwood Village, 303-740-1100

Readers' Choice

Stella B's
Located in Olde Town Arvada, Stella B's bright, colorful space features casual clothing and fun accessories that are easy on the wallet. Look for laid-back wardrobe pieces like maxi dresses by Gypsy 05, shrunken cardigans by Project E, and tanks and T-shirts by Testament. You may even have money left over to accent your finds with multihued stretch bracelets by Tarina Tarantino or a cute clutch by Lyla Black. 7504 Grandview Ave., Arvada, 303-425-3688

Top Fine Jewelry
Editors' Choice

Carla Morrison Fine Jewelry
This Boulder-based goldsmith and designer has been creating fine jewelry for more than two decades, but 2009 is her year to sparkle. Morrison's jewelry is finally receiving national recognition for combining couture-level craftsmanship with her signature organic style. Walk-ins are welcome in the studio from Tuesday through Saturday to view limited-production pieces as well as one-of-a-kind baubles. Or you can discuss a custom-made item with the designer herself. 2017 10th St., Suite A, Boulder, 720-564-9285

Readers' Choice

Hyde Park Jewelers
From exotic gold bangles by Yossi Harari to platinum-and-diamond engagement rings by Chad Allison Couture, Hyde Park houses some of the world's finest and best-known jewelry brands. Denverites adore this 33-year-old jeweler for both its wide selection of shimmering treasures and its outstanding customer service. 3000 E. First Ave., 303-333-4446

Top Store for Jeans
Editors' Choice

Settled into its new, more spacious digs, Garbarini now has even more room to help you find the pair of jeans that makes your booty bootylicious. With brands like Hudson, Adriano Goldschmied, Union, and Denim of Virtue to choose from, the super-helpful staff members pull styles they think will get the job done. Timothy Rollins, in particular, makes you feel like he wouldn't steer you wrong—and somehow even makes you truly believe that the smaller size does indeed show off your fabulous assets. 3003 E. Third Ave., 303-333-8686

Readers' Choice

The Garment District
It's hard to argue with our readers on this one: The Garment District is the place where Denver goes to get its denim on—and Denver knows denim. Seven for all Mankind, Rock & Republic, Joe's, and a handful of other top-notch designers line the shelves of this South Colorado Boulevard institution. Check out "Classically Denver" for a little history on Denver's favorite denim destination. 2595 S. Colorado Blvd., 303-757-3371

Top Gift Boutique
Editors' Choice

Urban Lifestyle
We love popping into this shop to ogle we-never-knew-we needed-that home accessories like Alessi's quirky wine openers and Iittala Aarne cocktail glasses. So we were devastated when we spied the "For Lease" sign on the storefront a few months back. The good news? Urban Lifestyle isn't closing up shop, but just moving down a few blocks to combine operations with Crush salon. The perfect combination for a gift certificate? Perhaps. Gift-giving crisis averted? You bet. 1441 Wazee St., 303-572-7900

Readers' Choice

Artisan Center
From the outside, this gift emporium looks like your typical Cherry Creek North store (read: expensive), but inside the jam-packed space brims over with cheap steals (Curly Girl and letterpress cards), high-quality ceramics (like designs from Longmont-based Thea Tenenbaum), quirky kids' clothing (ask the clerk for additional sizes), and enough scarves to make Stevie Nicks happy. After more than three decades of business spent supporting local artists and serving as Denver's go-to gift shop, we wouldn't expect anything less. 2757 E. Third Ave., 303-333-1201

Top Used Bookstore
Editors' Choice

The Denver Book Mall
We love spending a lazy afternoon tooling around the used bookstores on South Broadway, but we often wind up whiling away hours and hours at the Denver Book Mall. The Western history section is a gold mine for old maps (aka $5 wall art), and with more than 20 vendors under one roof the prices are competitive. To wit: On one trip we found the same newish paperback with three different vendors and slapped down just $4 for the one in the best condition. 32 Broadway, 303-733-3808

Readers' Choice

Capitol Hill Books
A quiet respite from the craziness of Colfax Avenue and the suits scrambling around at the Capitol, this intimate bookstore has been a cornerstone of the Capitol Hill neighborhood for nearly 30 years. The computerized inventory helped bring this shop into the modern era, but the precariously balanced, dusty shelves stacked with books make sure the place still feels—and smells—like a proper used bookstore. 300 E. Colfax Ave., 303-837-0700

Top Bookstore
Editors' Choice

Murder by the Book
We've gotta be honest: The Tattered Cover is the best bookstore in Denver. Period. But if you're talking about niche books—specifically mystery stories—this mini-shop on Old South Pearl is the best specialty bookstore in the Mile-High. Complete with a shop cat named Bruce and a chalk outline of a book lover on the cement outside, this place has a spooky, raise-the-hair-on-your-neck kind of charm. Ask about the store's book club and its upcoming author events. 1574 S. Pearl St., 303-871-9401

Readers' Choice

Tattered Cover Book Store
We know it's hard to pick your favorite Tattered Cover location—after all, each has its own unique character. The 22,000-square-foot Highlands Ranch operation sprawls on forever and boasts a massive children's book section. The LoDo store is packed with literary types on lunch breaks and has the best cafe of the bunch. And the Lowenstein Theatre is the perfect retrofitted home for the Colfax Avenue store. Read more about this Denver spot in "Classically Denver." Multiple locations

Top Fashion Accessories
Editors' Choice

Common Era
Shopping this hipster haven in the trendy Riverfront neighborhood will cure anyone's wardrobe blues. Every visit finds us revving up our same-old ensembles with no-one-else-has-them accent pieces, like peacock-feather brooches, sculptural leather dangle earrings, or sweet, retro satin hair bows. Sophisticated silk-patterned scarves? Check. Sparkly leg warmers? Check. Knit berets, glam shades, lace belts? One of each, please. Even if the labels aren't designer—which they usually aren't—the point is that this eclectic space is filled with sassy extras that give us a little added oomph at pleasingly affordable prices. 1543 Platte St., 303-433-4633; 1500 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-1799

Readers' Choice

DS Additions
We can't disagree—you, dear readers, have impeccable taste. We are pining away for every Lauren Merkin clutch stocked in this fabulous Cherry Creek gem, and have been eyeing the affordable Solas beaded belts for months. From adorable tweed fedoras to drapey metal chain necklaces, DS Additions is a fail-safe spot to find tastefully subtle flair for any outfit. 2432 E. Third Ave., 303-322-3531

Top Wine Shop
Editors' Choice

Wine is confusing—intimidating even. There are appellations and terroirs, and, for crying out loud, the Europeans don't label their wines the same as we do on this side of the pond. Which is why Divino is so flat-out awesome. You could have a temperature-controlled cellar with hundreds of aging Bordeaux, or you could be the guy who drinks $8 bottles on a regular basis—either way, the down-to-earth staff at Divino simply doesn't care. These experts will steer you to whatever you want (a $50 Burgundy or a $10 Australian Shiraz), or turn you on to something new (ever try an Italian Ruché?)—all the while imparting their great knowledge of wine without the slightest hint of condescension. 1240 S. Broadway, 303-778-1800

Readers' Choice

Mondo Vino
A well-curated wine selection, a staff that knows grapes—and beer—inside and out, and a fantastic location at the corner of 32nd Avenue and Lowell Boulevard in Highlands Square: It's no wonder Mondo Vino is our readers' pick for yet another year. 3601 W. 32nd Ave., 303-458-3858

Top Retail Beer Selection
Editors' and Readers' Choice

Argonaut Wine & Liquor
The problem with the old Argonaut wasn't the volume of its beer selection—which was huge. It was the contents that left us wanting: too much Coors Light and not enough esoteric beer-snob stuff. (Hey, this is Colorado, after all.) When we headed to the new and improved Argonaut after it opened last year, we were not only impressed with the 49 refrigerators, we also dug the new inventory. Sure, you can still find the Silver Bullet, but you can also find Oskar Blues' amazing Gordon and Rogue Morimoto Hazelnut Ale from Oregon. We'll drink to that. 760 E. Colfax Ave., 303-831-7788

Top Outdoor Gear
Editors' Choice

Wilderness Exchange Unlimited
The good folks at Wilderness Exchange bring the best closeout and overstock deals to their small retail space on 15th Street, just one block north of REI. Fret not about the quality: Every piece of gear (backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, climbing harnesses, etc.) comes from top-notch manufacturers like Mountain Hardwear and Marmot. Quick tip: Be sure to visit the downstairs nook filled with gently used gear, where even better deals can be had. 2401 15th St., 303-964-0708

Readers' Choice

Quite simply, REI is the one-stop shop for all things gear-related: bikes, tents, backpacks, rock-climbing tools, kayaks, hiking boots, skis, sunglasses, wick-away socks, freeze-dried food, maps, gloves, and on and on and on. If you can't find it at REI, it may not actually exist. Multiple locations

Top Art Supply
Editors' and Readers' Choice

Meininger Art Supply
We couldn't agree more with our readers. We searched high and low to find a diamond in the rough, but there's no denying Meininger's supremacy—after all, where else can you score a hard-to-find mop brush, a $180 Parker 100 ballpoint pen, and a kids' sand-sculpting kit under one roof? 499 Broadway, 303-698-3838

Top Shoe Boutique
Editors' Choice

The 400
We'll admit that we have a bit of a shoe fetish, and the only prescription for this feevah is more kicks. With that in mind, we head to the 400. Last-pair Adidas, Nikes, and Pumas can be had for as little as $40, while the super-mac-daddy new releases will set you back $140 or more. Either way, you're getting killer footwear you'd never expect to find in Denver. Even if you're not a devout sneakerhead, sign up for the store's e-mail list—the shoe porn is worth a look every now and again. 1535 Platte St., 303-446-0400

Readers' Choice

A wedge-tacular experience in the Highland neighborhood, Strut's super-cool, minimalist space is a welcome stop for any gal looking to expand her footwear portfolio. If a pair of Coclicos is a little out of your price range this summer, take a walk to the back of the store and pick up a discounted pair of strappy Biviel sandals. 3611 W. 32nd Ave., 303-477-3361

Top Dog Boutique
Editors' Choice

Zen Dog Pet Boutique
This small LoHi shop has all the perks your pooch could want (Sauvignon Bark, Fido?), but what makes Zen truly special is owner Alex E'Aton, who might understand your four-legged friend better than you do. Allergies, bad breath, the sniffles—whatever seems to be ailing your furry friend, she often knows what to do. And if you play nice, E'Aton might even throw some sample treats your pup's way. 2401 15th St., Suite 180, 303-744-7067

Readers' Choice

In the bowwow business for almost 10 years, Mouthfuls' menu of decadent treats—doggie pizza slices, canine caviar, and peanut butter cookies—could make a human salivate. What's more, the boutique is well-stocked in fashionable and weather-conscious threads by Ruffwear for every puppy's personality. Next time you stop by, bring Fifi along—the shop welcomes canine visitors with open arms and goodies to boot. 4224 Tennyson St., 720-855-7505

Top Wedding Gowns
Editors' and Readers' Choice

Anna Bé
Feminine, flirty, and fun, this sparsely decorated room lined with racks of white frocks offers Denver's brides-to-be an unpretentious yet chic option for finding "The Dress." Bonus: Paired with the flagship location of Sara Gabriel Veiling and Headpieces, Anna Bé has the city's bridal market cornered. 3215 Zuni St., 720-855-1111

Top Furniture
Editors' Choice

Watson & Co
Let's face it: Furniture shopping is hard—it's expensive, it's overwhelming, it's just not as easy as picking up a pair of gorgeous heels. That is, unless you're talking about an afternoon at Watson & Co. Offering a wide selection of styles—everything from traditional leather couches to animal-print chairs—this South Broadway shop can outfit your home no matter what your preferred look. 1524 S. Broadway, 303-777-8087

Readers' Choice

American Furniture Warehouse
It may not be for label-conscious buyers, but AFW serves its purpose well. Delivering low-cost, wear-and-tear-worthy furniture in an accessible and friendly environment, these megastores (there are 12 in the state) are hard to knock—especially in these turbulent economic times. Multiple locations

Top Maternity Wear
Editors' Choice

Decade's selection of baby-bump duds trends toward fashionable and fun. But let's be honest: The low price tag is really the key. After all, these clothes have an oh-so-short wearing season. Of course, there are other places in town to buy cute, high-quality maternity clothes, but unless you hit them during a sale, the receipt reads more like a mortgage statement than an afternoon shopping trip. 56 S. Broadway, 303-733-2288

Readers' Choice

A Pea in the Pod
You can find nearly anything you'll need for the next nine months at this national chain, but for summertime preggos we recommend A Pea in the Pod specifically for its selection of swimwear. Sure, it feels a little odd to be showing off the bod right now, but when the thermometer hits 97 degrees you're going to need something you can get wet in. 2751 E. First Ave., 303-355-9905

Top Baby Boutique
Editors' Choice

Sweet Beginnings
This Littleton-based business is about all things baby. You'll find bath and body products for mom and kiddo, cloth diapers, infant apparel, blankets, and more. But Sweet Beginnings goes beyond a great retail shopping experience: This independently owned company strives to provide all-around wellness for mothers-to-be and new mothers through classes on pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, postpartum issues, and parenting. 5767 S. Rapp St., Littleton, 303-317-5795

Readers' Choice

Real Baby
Just check out these brands, folks: Zutano, Appaman, Baby Lulu, Mimi & Maggie, Blabla, Radio Flyer, Thomas & Friends, B.O.B. strollers, Bugaboo, Nurseryworks, Cloud B, My Blankee, and Dwell. The list goes on and on. If you can't find what you're looking for at this Highlands Square baby bonanza, your kid probably doesn't need it. 3616 W. 32nd Ave., 303-477-2229

Top Home Accessories
Editors' Choice

Sweet William Market
On the last Saturday of the summer months (May through September), the Stapleton neighborhood hosts an outdoor market that brims with home and garden accessories, from refurbished furniture and funky wall art to gotta-have-'em trinkets. We found a corner cabinet and a beautiful oil painting in one quick walk-through. The open-air bazaar blossoms from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Founders' Green, a grassy area adjacent to the 29th Avenue Town Center. East 29th Avenue and Syracuse Street, 303-204-8215

Readers' Choice

BellaLu Home & Design
Accessories are what differentiate your home (slapdash arrangements of clutter bought on sale at Michaels; $49 rugs from Target) from those with a more refined, professionally designed look. BellaLu's experts can help you replace your haphazard trimmings with handmade Loloi Rugs, lamps from Arteriors Home, high-end artificial plants from Atrium Foliage, and vases and candles from Global Views. 9595 E. County Line Road, Englewood, 303-768-8700

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