I adore Tavernetta (the two-year-old Denver sister restaurant to Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine), but my happy place is definitely inside the lounge. Here’s why:

  • “Walk-ins only” means you can treat this high-end Italian restaurant’s bar area like a (very stylish) corner pub.
  • Go more than once, and the crackerjack service team, led by general manager Justin Williams, will treat you like a regular.
  • A deep Italian wine list + Champagne + craft cocktails + amari you’ve never heard of = A+ bar menu
  • The people-watching from the tables between the fireplace and the train platform is unbeatable.
  • You can crush #dinnergoals during the daily happy hour (3 to 6 p.m.), when a Negroni, a plate of “pierno” (crispy little grilled Montasio cheese and prosciutto cotto sandwiches), and a drippy, three-scoop tower of seasonal gelato flavors make you feel like you’re dining in Milan instead of along the tracks at Union Station.

$$$$, 1889 16th St., 720-605-1889

(MORE: Read our 2018 restaurant review of Tavernetta)

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.