What’s in a name?
While reporting this piece, the office debate over Ballpark’s boundaries raged to such levels that we called in a referee—the city’s planning department—to determine who was right. Turns out none of us were, because technically Ballpark doesn’t exist. Neither does RiNo, for that matter. The city created its official neighborhood map decades ago and hasn’t updated it to include these areas. What Denverites commonly refer to as RiNo and Ballpark—and even LoDo and Curtis Park—are officially just the edges of Five Points. Those “other” ’hood names come from various business districts and neighborhood associations, which are allowed to christen themselves as they please and register their own boundaries with the city—even if they overlap already-registered boundaries. Since no Denverite worth her cruiser bike considers Coors Field to be in Five Points, we’re going to make the call even if the city won’t: Ballpark is, in fact, a neighborhood.
The beating heart of the Ballpark neighborhood, Coors Field debuted the food-and-craft-beer-focused Rooftop this season. But this trivia nugget might also be news to fans: The stadium, which opened in 1995, is the third oldest in the National League. 2001 Blake St., rockies.mlb.com
Voodoo Comedy Playhouse
After Denver’s Josh Blue won NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2006, the Denver comedy scene experienced a growth spurt. By 2011 that included the debut of Voodoo Comedy Playhouse. Today, Voodoo is the only comedy theater in town where you can regularly find improv comics riffing on Shakespeare classics such as Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. And on Mondays, your belly laughs come with a free belly filler, too: a complimentary slice of pie from Sexy Pizza. 1260 22nd St., voodoocomedy.com
Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery
Named after the rugged peak of the same name near Durango, Jagged Mountain opened in 2013 thanks in part to a Kickstarter campaign. Home to 10 “adventurous beers for adventurous people,” such as Imlay IPA, Jagged Mountain’s bar is made entirely of reclaimed wood from old Colorado barns and Englewood’s now defunct Flood Middle School. 1139 20th St., jaggedmountainbrewery.com
Palma Cigar Shop
Ten-year-old Palma is practically ancient by Ballpark standards, but this rustic spot has always been pretty old-school, offering a haircut and a cigar—one-third of the selections are hand-rolled by the owner—or a glass of Colorado wine (Woody Creek Cellars and Two Rivers are popular brands) to anyone who walks through the door. Our corduroy-jacket-wearing grandfather would love this place. So will you. 2207 Larimer St., palmacigars.com
Great Divide Brewing Company
Betcha even Alex Trebek doesn’t know this bit of Denver craft-beer history: The brick building that houses the Great Divide brewery and taproom was originally a dairy processing facility in the 1920s. Or that Great Divide, a mainstay on the Denver craft beer scene before such a thing even existed, has brewed 42 different beers (not counting small-batch one-offs) in its 20-year existence. 2201 Arapahoe St., greatdivide.com
Most people wouldn’t consider a shipping container a particularly ideal storefront. But it’s a big step up from co-founder Jedd Rose’s basement for the bag-makers at Topo Designs, who launched their quirky shop in 2013. Rose and his partner, Mark Hansen, design their made-in-America bags with the ’80s and ’90s in mind. And the retro look has been a hit. Topo ships its products as far as Europe, Japan, and Australia. This fall, look for collaborations with big-name outdoor companies such as Woolrich. 2500 Larimer St., Suite 102, topodesigns.com
This spring, Huckleberry Roasters rolled out a second chic cafe on the 2500 block of Larimer Street. The roomy spot let owners Koan Goedman and Mark Mann introduce the Annex, a pop-up corner store inside the coffeeshop that will rotate tenants on a quarterly basis. First up is Berkeley Supply, a Tennyson Street men’s clothing store. 2500 Larimer St., huckleberryroasters.com