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1. Farm To Flask (Plus Pizza)
Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse | 3636 Chestnut Place, RiNo
Tucked away toward the northern edge of RiNo sits one of the biggest and best patios in Denver—not to mention the production hub and tasting room for year-old Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse. Head distiller Laura Walters produces every small-batch spirit, liqueur, and bottle of bitters (the last from her dad’s recipes). This month, Walters will release her first bourbon, crafted with barley, rye, red wheat, and heirloom blue corn grown in eastern Colorado by Whiskey Sisters Supply. Enjoy the nutty, smoky-sweet sipper inside Ironton’s living-room-esque gin lounge—or take your drink to the patio, where you can sit near the garden, play lawn games, and, often, listen to live music. Hungry? Sidle up to Mountain Crust’s window, which opened in May, for a pizza with a crackerlike crust or swoon-worthy baked Brie.
2. Friendly Fare
Blue Sky Cafe and Juice Bar | 14403 W. Colfax Ave., Lakewood
This charming early-day west Denver spot epitomizes community. Named for the cloud-strewn mural that decorates its ceiling, the Blue Sky Cafe (7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day) opened 18 years ago with much the same staff that runs it today. Kitchen manager Jonny Garcia, who joined the crew in 2003, is known for taking special orders with a smile. In fact, Blue Sky encourages you to put your own spin on its menu, which ranges from pancakes and omelets to grain bowls and tacos. For example: The Elvis French Toast Stack—topped with peanut butter, caramelized bananas, and bacon—is even more delectable when you replace the toast with cinnamon roll griddle cakes. Wash your meal down with a fresh juice or a creamy chai milkshake tasty enough to turn you into a regular. You’ll be in great company.
3. All in the Family
Bug & Belle Bakery | 3712 W. 32nd Ave., West Highland
There’s always a mom behind the counter at four-month-old Bug & Belle Bakery. But is it owner Erin Emerson, mother to Neela “Bug” and Olive Belle, or Erin’s mother, Nancy Mullen? Some days, you’ll find both inside the snug shop. One of the women (or baker Harry Briggs) will help you choose among delights such as a broccoli-cheddar quiche with a gluten-free potato crust; ham, egg, and fontina hand pies; and monster cookies filled with oats, chocolate chips, peanut butter, and M&Ms. As you savor your treat and sip on Bug & Belle’s custom Copper Door Coffee house blend, there’s plenty to catch your eye: Colorful magnetic letters list the menu, and a light fixture made from stand mixer attachments illuminates cherry wallpaper. Go early in the bakery’s day (6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday), because the savory items, in particular, can run out by late morning.