The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
When it comes to game-night dining, you’ve got a couple of options. Circle the concourse at Ball Arena until a concession grabs your attention. Or get downtown a little early for the full-on dinner-and-a-show experience. The benefit of the latter? You won’t be stuck waiting for neon-colored cheese to be ladled on your stale chips when the crowd goes wild because the Joker just flipped a three-pointer off one leg like he’s playing H-O-R-S-E.
We know which one we’d choose. If you’ve managed to nab tickets to the home games on June 1, 4, 12, or 18—or you just want to be close to the action in the Mile High City—check out these restaurants within a half-mile radius of the arena to grab a bite before tip-off.
A French-inspired restaurant, Coohills serves seasonal comforts in a sexy space and is just steps away from the stadium. Start with wild Burgundy escargot slathered in Pernod garlic butter or split an “extreme” cheese-laden focaccia for the table. Entrées currently include roasted chicken confit, Aspen Ridge strip steak, and a Rouen duck breast with mint, strawberry, and turnips. Check the website or call for updated hours; the restaurant is opening early on at least June 1 and 4 to accommodate more diners, and a reservation is recommended. 1400 Wewatta St.
For a taste of Bourbon Street in downtown Denver, head to Nola Jane, a pretty purple spot that serves Big Easy hits like catfish po’boys, fried okra, gumbo, and crawfish étouffée over dirty rice. The New Orleans-meets-Denver bar keeps beers from both metros on draft and is open late so you can grab a post-game bite (and boozy hurricane), too. 1435 Market St.
Conjure up some competition with a game of bocce ball while chowing down on brats and sipping beer in this German-inspired outpost. Rhein Haus is a handsome and spacious two-story Market Street bar that serves ginormous pretzels with gourmand-approved sauces (think: piquillo pepper spread, cheddar fondue, honey mustard, etc.), plus schnitzel and spätzle. It’s connected to Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern, which slings old fashioneds, cheese curds, wings, and more, and during Game 1 on June 1, the two eateries will raffle off tickets for Game 2 to a few lucky guests. 1415 Market St.
Tivoli Brewing Co. Tap House
A next-door neighbor to Ball Arena, Tivoli is a historic brewery that got its start brewing “Buck Beer” for gold miners in Denver’s early days. Today this brick complex on the Auraria campus has 12 beers on tap and is a convenient spot to grab a bite and brew before heading into the stadium. The taproom’s menu serves a variety of decadent pub classics: beer cheese nachos, burgers stacked with onion rings and bacon, and Mile Hi Hefe–battered fish and chips served with a spicy tartar sauce. 900 Auraria Parkway, Suite 240
Taking the light rail to the game? Make a reservation that syncs up with your train schedule so you can head straight to Citizen Rail inside the Limelight Hotel. The cozy restaurant has an open, wood-fired grill and butchers its meats in-house. Treat yourself to dishes like hamachi crudo, smoked short rib, gnocchi with morels and fontina fonduta, and more. Get a front-row seat of the action in the kitchen at the chef’s counter. 1899 16th St.
A continuation of the iconic Cherry Creek eatery, Cherry Cricket’s restaurant in the Ballpark neighborhood is a jovial spot for pre-game burgers and beer (or a milkshake). You can build your own burger with a deep list of toppings. Or, go for one of the Denver Burger Battle winners like the 983 Big Cheesy with bacon jalapeño jam, American cheese, a panko-crusted poblano pepper, mac and cheese, and Cheddar Jalapeño Cheetos sandwiched between a brioche bun. 2220 Blake St.
Degree Metropolitan Food & Drink
For a salad, burger, or chili cheese fries, duck into Degree Metropolitan Food & Drink, which is located in SpringHill Suites by Marriott Denver Downtown. This restaurant doubles as a learning lab for hospitality, tourism, and events students from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Try the pressed Cubano with shredded pork, ham, Swiss cheese, and Dijon mustard. Game days can get a little busy, but you can book a reservation in advance online or over the phone. 1190 Auraria Parkway