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For many, holiday season means theater season. And with the Denver Center for Performing Arts (DCPA) hosting six shows this month—including classic favorites the Christmas Carol and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas—downtown is bound to be bustling all the way through New Year’s Eve. Now, as most theater-goers know, getting out the door, finding a parking spot, grabbing a bite to eat and drink, and actually getting to the show on time can leave you feeling more frazzled than festive. While we can’t help you with the parking, we found a few strategically located restaurants that offer specials tailored to theater-goers, helping you get in your seat in time for curtain.
Although Le Meridien’s uber-popular rooftop bar 54thirty is closed for the season, its downstairs counterpart is a hip drinking and dining alternative. Flash your tickets upon arrival to gain complimentary valet parking; order an entrée and receive a complimentary cocktail, too. The menu features comfort food classics elevated with local ingredients: the fish and chips involves halibut battered with Renegade Brewing’s 1916 lager, and the roasted portobello burger comes on fluffy Grateful Bread brioche. Happy hour specials are available from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays—perfect for a quick pre-theater buzz—and dinner is served until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays if you prefer to hold off on dinner until after the performers take their final bows. 1455 California St., 720-996-1555
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Located just two blocks from the DCPA, this modern steak house features a three course “Sport and Stage” menu for $65 per person, which is designed to get you in and out the door in about 90 minutes. Choose an appetizer, entrée, side dish, and dessert from a limited menu. You can pick from several of the restaurant’s signature dishes—including the wagyu hot stone and “bubble & squeak” mashed potatoes—as well as a selection of premium steaks (hello, bone-in rib-eye). If you’re still pressed for time at the end of the meal, opt for the to-go box of house-made truffles to be enjoyed later. 1111 14th St., 303-389-3050
Restaurateur and chef Kevin Taylor has been a cornerstone of Denver’s dining scene since the 1980s, and his restaurant collection includes two outlets located inside of the DCPA, providing the ultimate convenience for ticket-holders. Adjacent to the Buell Theater, the Limelight Supper Club & Lounge is a popular intermission hangout—you can even take your drinks with you into the theater lobby. In addition to regular lunch and dinner menus, it also offers a small post-show menu on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 to 11 p.m. for late-night snacks (think truffle fries and charcuterie boards) and a brunch buffet on weekend mornings–perfect if you’re heading to a matinée. For a more elegant evening, make a reservation at Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House to experience a three-course, French-inspired menu for $50 per person that is only available on show nights. The posh, underground dining room also features a swanky bar for sipping pre-show cocktails. Limelight Supper Club & Lounge: 1335 Curtis St., 720-227-9984; Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House: 1345 Champa St., 303-640-1012