When Jessica Benjamin took over First Bite in 2019, she realized the traditional restaurant-week model with prix fixe menus wasn’t working for the eateries or the customers — restaurants were boxed into a model that didn’t necessarily reflect their style, and customers weren’t likely to try more than one restaurant in a week.
So First Bite threw the model out, allowing restaurants to craft their offerings for the week with no set price. Benjamin and her team at Savor Productions apply the same logic to First Sip, the beverage-focused event taking place April 26-30 at roughly 30 restaurants in and around Boulder.
“I’m more willing to snack and nibble in multiple spots in one evening over a couple days than I am to have a multi-course meal,” Benjamin says.
For this second iteration of First Sip, Benjamin says businesses “really got creative” in their offerings, mixing small plates with beverage specials, like The Greenbriar Inn (8735 N. Foothills Highway, Boulder), which will offer three featured cocktails paired with suggested appetizers and dessert. Or at Dagabi Cucina (3970 Broadway, Unit 101, Boulder), which offers a free tapa when you order a glass of tempranillo blanco wine. Or at 740 Front in Louisville, where you can split a half-dozen Chesapeake Bay oysters and a bottle of Roederer Estate Brut with a friend for a decadent night out on the town for just $42.
But nonalcoholic drinks were “really front of mind,” Benjamin says, when curating restaurants for First Sip.
Those looking for a refreshing pick-me-up can head to Dry Storage (3601 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder) to try a flight featuring hibiscus limeade, ice kumquat-thyme espresso and raspberry vanilla matcha. The Sink (1165 13th St., Boulder) will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a variety of milkshakes, including Fruit Loops and chocolate with bacon.
A handful of businesses are hosting pop-up events, kicking off with music, prize giveaways, snacks and booze during Friday Afternoon Club (FAC) at The Sink on April 28 from 3 to 5 p.m. If you’re still looking to keep the night going after FAC, head to the patio at Dry Storage where you can snack and sample natural wines with beverage director Caroline Clark and guest sommelier Joel Kampfe.
Gracia Coffee will host a cupping event at Rosetta Hall on Saturday, April 29 at 10 a.m. Limited to 10 participants, guests will taste four of Ampersand’s single-origin roasts. Gracia will also feature three new summer coffee drinks — an espresso and tonic, a matcha spritz, and mazagran, a cold, sweetened coffee drink — throughout the weekend.
On April 30, The Hungry Toad will host The Sipping Game, where guests can taste six scotches, with brief history notes on each, plus snacks for $25 a person ($45 for two). You’ll also get a deck of playing cards with your drink.
To close out the weekend’s festivities, Rosetta Hall will throw a beach-themed party on its rooftop, with caipirinhas, Caribbean punches and East Coast highballs alongside oysters on the half shell, lobster roll sliders, and shrimp tostadas.