Best of Boulder East County 2020 — Entertainment & Culture


400 Quail Road, Longmont,303-651-8374
Lafayette Winner: WOW! Children’s Museum
Louisville Winner: Louisville Historical Museum
The Longmont Museum is an embarrassment of riches. To list all the things it offers would take more space than we’re allowed. Lucky for us, we don’t need to: the Longmont Museum is a favorite of BW readers, so you already know about the lectures, the historical photos, the walking tours, the movies at Stewart Auditorium, the cultural celebrations, the Thursday night talks, the concert series, the kids’ camps, the adult classes, the… see what we mean? There’s so much good stuff we can’t help ourselves. If you know, you go. If you don’t, give the Longmont Museum a try next time you’re looking for something new to do.

329 Campus Drive, Louisville, 720-561-4200
Lafayette Winner: Centaurus High School
Longmont Winner: Silver Creek High School
Niwot Winner: Niwot High School
Whether your high school experience was positive or negative — or something in between — you can’t deny it had a big impact on your life. In high school, kids prepare to enter the world, learning essential skills that’ll serve them in their journey toward independence. Our readers say Monarch High School is the best place for students in grades nine to 12 to grow, with its stand-out faculty, extracurricular activities, varied class offerings and more.

925 Grant Ave., Louisville, 303-666-6220
Lafayette Winner: Dawson School
Longmont Winner: Bloom! Montessori School
The St. Louis Catholic School and Early Learning Center in downtown Louisville goes back a long way — 1899 is when the parish received its first resident pastor. That pastor (Cyril Rettger) laid plans for a school, which a century-plus later is our readers’ choice for the best private school in East County. The faith-based school offers a comprehensive liberal arts curriculum, art and music education, and plenty of sports, clubs and other extracurricular activities to keep students engaged.

Susan France Firehouse Art Center, Día de los Muertos 2020 — Our Past & Present

667 Fourth Ave., Longmont, 303-651-2787
Lafayette Winner: pARTiculars Art Gallery and Teaching Studio
Louisville Winner: Creative Framing & Art Gallery
The Firehouse Art Center is an intimate gallery featuring national and local artists with more than a dozen exhibitions a year — plus educational offerings, events and membership programs that support creativity for all. No, we really mean it: everyone can be an artist at the Firehouse. Its Art of Possibility program offers developmentally disabled participants access to the transformative nature of art; the Art Attack Program connects children living at Casa de la Esperanza (a residential community dedicated to helping agricultural workers and their families) a structured space to create art outside the classroom setting. From figure-drawing classes to second Friday art walks to writing workshops and poetry nights, the Firehouse is much more than an art gallery: It’s a cultural hub for East County.

9595 Nelson Road, Longmont, 303-772-1232
Lafayette Winner: Sister Carmen Community Center
Louisville Winner: CenterStage Theatre CompanyMore than 2,000 animals find loving forever homes with help from the Longmont Humane Society (LHS) every year. Its staff has a behavioral team that works specifically with dogs to curb issues like aggression and separation anxiety, and the veterinary staff performs nearly 1,500 spay or neuter surgeries a year for shelter animals and another 1,500 for others. When your dog hops the fence chasing that squirrel and can’t find his way home, chances are pretty good LHS will help you find him — the staff helps reunite some 800 pets with their families each year. No wonder our readers say LHS is their favorite nonprofit organization.

Downtown Louisville
Longmont Winner: Longmont Oktoberfest
Lafayette Winner: Lafayette Peach Festival
Erie Winner: Erie Town Fair and Balloon Festival
Summer is a magical time — even as adults we can still feel the residual relief of long days without school and absolutely nothing to do. The Louisville Downtown Street Faire takes us back to a simpler time for eight summer Friday evenings, with delicious food, cold drinks, lots of children’s activities, quality arts, crafts and sundries. Best part? It’s free. Show up and just listen to the music and dance your troubles away in the warm evening air. Here’s hoping 2021 lets us experience that magic again.

Multiple locations, East County
East County Runner-Up: Allstate Insurance
Lafayette Winner: Rocky Mountain Insurance Center
Not many things are close to 100 years old these days: a few businesses, some publications, maybe your Great Uncle Merle. Oh, and State Farm, our readers’ pick for the best insurance agency in East County. For a century, State Farm has been covering clients with auto, life, renters and homeowners’ insurance as well as offering health insurance, pet insurance, small business insurance and personal articles policies. There’s so much more to this insurance company than meets the eye.

Multiple locations, Lafayette
Longmont Winner: Oliver Asset Management
Louisville Winner: Varra Financial Associates
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we never know what the future might bring, which makes planning for the future that much more important. We could all use the help of financial advisors who understand our financial health is intertwined with our physical and emotional health, not just our pocketbooks. Whether it’s ensuring you’re saving enough for retirement, securing adequate life insurance to protect your loved ones, or striving to meet your current financial goals, the advisors at Edward Jones partner with you throughout your life to help keep you on track.

Susan France Dickens Opera House/300 Prime event planner/owner Noella Colandero

300 Main St., Longmont, 303-834-9384
Lafayette Winner: Nissi’sLouisville Winner: Waterloo
Lyons Winner: Oskar Blues Grill & Brew
Don’t let the name fool ya: Dickens Opera House offers live music of all genres four to five nights a week. National touring acts such as Kip Winger, Ryan McGarvey, Hamilton Loomis, Big Bill Morganfield, Kenny Neal and Great American Taxi have graced the stage of this 140-year-old building. But we think our readers’ love Dickens Opera House because it also supports Boulder County’s diverse local music scene, giving up-and-coming bands a place to launch their careers.

540 Main St., Longmont,303-702-0881
Louisville Winner: Mudrock’s Tap & Tavern
Erie Winner: The Lazy Dog Sports Bar and Grill
There’s no end to the number of places you can go to watch sports, drink beer and eat food. Hell, you can even do it while you get your hair cut. Enough of that malarkey. If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right, and BW readers know that the best sports bar is the Red Zone at the Pumphouse Brewery. There are so many TVs you’ll give your neck whiplash if you don’t do some light stretches beforehand. And, not for nothing, the beer is sensational. This spot has been a Main Street staple since the mid-’90s, one our readers can’t live without.

301 Main St., Longmont, 720-684-4728
Lafayette Winner: Nissi’s
Louisville Winner: Bittersweet Cafe & Confections
In the 1920s, nearly 1,800 miles from Longmont, jazz music was percolating in Harlem, often played at speakeasies offering illegal liquor during Prohibition. This music soon spilled out of the New York neighborhood and took the country by storm. While Prohibition is (thankfully) a thing of the past, we still delight in the speakeasy aesthetic and the magic of jazz. When our readers want to recreate the best thrills of the Roaring Twenties, they head to The Speakeasy. Located in the basement of one of Longmont’s most well-known historic buildings, The Imperial Hotel, The Speakeasy makes patrons feel like they’ve stepped back in time when hits such as “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Dinah” and “Bye Bye Blackbird” were all the rage. No wonder our readers say it’s their favorite place to take in some live jazz.

Longmont Winner: The Speakeasy
Lyons Winner: Oskar Blues Grill & Brew
For more than a decade, Nissi’s has been the place for folks to get movin’ and groovin’ to live bands and DJs on the expansive dance floor in East County. Our readers have voted them best year after year, but we’re sad to say that as of spring 2020, the Northpark Drive location is no more. Plans to reopen a new location have been indefinitely put on hold as we all try to figure out what’s next in light of the pandemic. But we’re hopeful this favorite dance spot will be up and running again soon. In the meantime, to Marc and all the staff at Nissi’s, we miss you!

710 Tenacity Drive, Suite 101, Longmont, 303-678-9286
Lafayette Winner: Finerpoints Accounting
Louisville Winner: Flewelling & Mitton, PC
Let’s be honest. We all need a little help with finances from time to time. Whether it’s for your business, your family or yourself, the firm of Kristi L. Hattig, CPA, is a trusted financial partner for Longmont and beyond. Offering a range of services including retirement planning, strategic business planning, estate planning and personal financial planning, our readers appreciate the personalized services and comprehensive solutions from Kristi L. Hattig’s firm.

Multiple locations, East CountyEast County Runner-Up: Wells Fargo
East County Second Runner-Up: Chase Bank
East County Third Runner-Up: FirstBank
There’s nothing better than feeling a part of something bigger than yourself. At Elevations Credit Union, opening an Elevations Membership Savings Account not only gives you the ability to apply for a checking account, credit card, loans and more, but your investment also gives you a lifetime share in the credit union, which offers services we’ve all come to expect from traditional banks. But unlike others, its profits are reinvested back into our Boulder County neighbors and local businesses. As Elevations says, “It matters where you bank.” We couldn’t have said it better.

Susan France Thomas Duran of Bootstrap Brewing Company

6778 N. 79th St., Niwot, 720-438-8488
142 Pratt St., Longmont, 720-438-8488
Lafayette Winner: Cannon Mine Coffee
Louisville Winner: Waterloo
Lyons Winner: Oskar Blues Grill & Brew
The man behind Bootstrap Brewing Company’s open mic is Denny Driscoll. He’s a pip. He’s also been with brewery owners Leslie and Steve Kaczeus since day one in Niwot (or at least since they chose to start promoting the brewery). And when the Kaczeuses decided to open a second brewery in Longmont, Denny went too, taking over a bigger stage and transforming Bootstrap into BW readers’ favorite open mic in East County. Insider tip: Boulder County is home to many breweries, but keep your eyes on Bootstrap — it’s become one of East County’s best.

400 Hutchinson St., Louisville, 720-561-7200
Lafayette Winner: Peak to Peak Charter School
Longmont Winner: Flagstaff Academy
The years kids spend in elementary and middle school help mold the adults they will eventually become. Picking up social skills, overcoming challenges, learning the fundamentals of a variety of topics… it’s important that kids have quality teachers, administrators, coaches and counselors to guide them on this journey. Our readers say the best place in East County for kids in grades K-8 is Louisville Elementary School, which offers comprehensive education, health and wellness support and some engaging extracurriculars, like running club, science fair and choir.

408 W. Baseline Road, Lafayette, 303-665-9741
Louisville Winner: The Goddard School of Louisville
Superior Winner: La Petite AcademyIt’s a tough thing for parents to leave their young children with others. But our readers say when they need a day care facility, they can trust Lafayette’s Take-A-Break, which has been serving Colorado families since 1983. With schedules that work for parents, affordable rates and a full-time, fully trained staff, our readers say parents should feel comfortable about their young ones spending their time here.

Multiple locations, Longmont
Lafayette Winner: Brewing Market Coffee & Tea
Louisville Winner: Bittersweet Cafe & Confections
If you’re going to Wi-Fi, then Ziggi’s Coffee House is the Wi-Fi-ers’ place to be. The tables are large enough to spread out all your things, the connection is strong and fast, the coffee is as dark and bitter or as sweet and creamy as you want, and the staff is nice. You can sit here as long as you like, Wi-Fi-ing to your heart’s content. Who said hospitality is dead?