Best of Boulder 2020 — Drink

Craig Englehorn, Spirit Hound Distillery's co-owner and head distiller
Susan France

4196 Ute Highway, Lyons, 303-823-5696
Silver: Boulder Spirits (formerly known as Vapor Distillery)
Bronze: Longtuckey Spirits
Spirit Hound Distillers
embodies the spirit of “I love local.” The distillery was founded with the intent to create a single-malt whisky made entirely of Colorado ingredients. And co-owners Craig Engelhorn and Wayne Anderson infuse that philosophy into all their other spirits, using everything from freshly picked juniper berries to Alamosa-grown barley, with that iconic Rocky Mountain water mixed in. Check out their whisky, gin, Mountain Bum Rum, Colorado Sambuca digestif or White Dog Moonshine. The spot in Lyons is family-friendly, meaning you can taste, drink and enjoy, before picking up a bottle to take home.

Happy Hour
1002 Walnut St. (closed)
Silver: Brasserie Ten Ten (closed)
Bronze: Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries
The Mediterranean Restaurant
was a happy place, and so it’s easy to see why our readers chose to spend happy hour there. It likely had something to do with its affordable, expansive and innovate happy hour menu, which included discounts on its esteemed tapas menu. We’re sad to say The Med is now closed, and we won’t be able to spend another happy hour in its welcoming atmosphere. Thanks for the memories!

Tim Romano License No. 1

2115 13th St., 303-442-4344
Silver: The Rayback Collective
Bronze: The Bitter Bar
Write-in: Niwot Tavern
Someone’s always gotta be first. And when it came to selling liquor, License No. 1 was it. Or at least one of the first. The bar in the basement of Hotel Boulderado got a liquor license when the City of Boulder finally did away with a 1907 ordinance prohibiting the demon drink. The year was 1969, 50 years ago, and 60 years after the hotel opened. And to this day, License No. 1 is as classy as ever, with its dark wooden bar, ambient lighting and wall of liquor to choose from.

Coffee Roaster
5340 Arapahoe Ave., 303-440-0233
1015 Pearl St., 303-645-4885
1898 S. Flatiron Court, Suite 110, 303-396-0302
1232-A S. Hover Road, Suite 400, Longmont, 720-600-6689
Silver: Boxcar Coffee Roasters
Bronze: Brewing Market
OZO Coffee Company
sources ethically and sustainably raised coffee from around the world, providing it to Boulder and beyond in its myriad coffee houses around the county, or in compostable and recyclable packages for home and office consumption. OZO is doing it right, and our readers concur. They love the variability in flavors and textures they get from OZO roasted beans, while also relying on the consistency that has made OZO the paragon of coffee it is today.

Wine Selection
1738 Pearl St., 303-442-6966
Silver: /pôr/ Wine House
Bronze: Flagstaff House
They say a glass a day keeps the doctor away. Who’s going to argue with them? Not our readers. And if you need a place to start, they say Frasca Food and Wine offers the best wine selection in town. The folks at Frasca have put a lot of effort into building the wine list, organizing it by varietal, flavor profile and theme. With a long list of bubbles, rosé, red and white offerings, there has never been a better time to drink wine. Confused about how some wines are produced or a new varietal on the list? Just ask, the sommelier and servers are happy to talk all things vino.

Susan France Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

1770 13th St., 303-442-4993
Silver: Bhakti
Bronze: Sherpa Chai
For more than 20 years, Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse has been hand-brewing small batches of its classic chai tea, balancing malty black teas with the aromatic nuances of organic ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and other spices in filtered water with organic cane sugar. The Teahouse Chai concentrate is now available both online and at the Teahouse in handy take-home bottles.

Cup of Coffee
5340 Arapahoe Ave., 303-440-0233
1015 Pearl St., 303-645-4885
1898 S. Flatiron Court, Suite 110, 303-396-0302
1232-A S. Hover Road, Suite 400, Longmont, 720-600-6689
Silver: Boxcar Coffee Roasters
Bronze: The Laughing Goat
So you just woke up, and you’re groggy. Or you’ve got a meeting or a final to study for. Or you just need a pick-me-up. A humble cup of coffee is in order, and you can’t afford to mess around with a watery cup from a gas station. Grab that much-needed cup of joe from OZO Coffee Company, where you’ll find plenty of flavor and preparation options. Wanna take that experience home with you? Grab a bag and you’ll be enjoying OZO in your pajamas in no time.

1770 13th St., 303-442-4993
Silver: Ku Cha House of Tea
Bronze: Pekoe Sip House

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is our readers’ favorite place to go for a spot of tea — and why not? It’s right there in the name. This is a teahouse. Take a look at the menu and you’ll find dozens and dozens… and dozens of teas. Black, green, oolong, white and herbal, but also pu-erh tea, a variety of fermented tea traditionally produced in Yunnan Province, China. It’s the perfect place to try something new, like Blue Moon, black tea with flavors of vanilla, almond and blueberry. Or Mandarin Pu-erh, made from cooked pu-erh aged in the rind of wild mandarin oranges with a delicate citrus flavor. Combine those beautiful flavors with the beautiful designs of the hand-crafted and hand-painted teahouse, and you can see why it’s a favorite spot to sit and sip.

The Brewtography Project Avery Brewing Company

Craft Beer
4910 Nautilus Court
Silver: Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries
Bronze: Upslope Brewing Company
Avery Brewing Company
is a local success story. Founded in 1993, Avery won gold for its Out of Bounds Stout one year later at the Great American Beer Festival. In 2015, our readers’ favorite brewery moved into its dream digs in Gunbarrel. And with two dining rooms and a spacious outside patio, Avery has the perfect environment to enjoy the brews that helped build the Boulder beer scene: The rich and nutty Ellie’s Brown Ale, the light and tangy Liliko’i Kepolo and the spicy citrus punch of the White Rascal Belgian-style White Ale. Take a tour of the brewery to see where the magic is made.

5340 Arapahoe Ave., 303-440-0233
1015 Pearl St., 303-645-4885
1898 S. Flatiron Court, Suite 110, 303-396-0302
1232-A S. Hover Road, Suite 400, Longmont, 720-600-6689
Silver: The Laughing Goat
Bronze: Boxcar Coffee Roasters
Write-in: Flatiron Coffee
The latte — once a punch line about yuppies, now a societal staple. Why? Because espresso and steamed milk are two great tastes that taste great together. Whether you choose animal milk or a plant-based substitutions, OZO Coffee Company has you covered. Add in some Ghirardelli dark chocolate and make it a mocha for that extra level of indulgence. No matter what substitutions you prefer, you can always expect top-notch lattes and mochas from the qualified folks at OZO.

2115 13th St., 303-442-4344
Silver: The Bitter Bar
Bronze: Upstairs Cocktail Lounge (The Kitchen)

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the stay-at-home orders this past spring, it’s that making a great cocktail is no easy task. Even seasoned mixologists will make multiple mishaps at the home bar. The art of the cocktail is delicate, detailed and not for the faint of heart. Our readers say the best place in town for a mixed drink is License No. 1 at the Hotel Boulderado, with its list of staple and specialty drinks. So bring your friends, head downstairs, pull up a stool and learn from the best.

Susan France

1101 Walnut St., 303-444-3690
Silver: Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
Bronze: T/ACO
Write-in: Mojo Taqueria
Everyone in Boulder has a story about drinking margaritas at the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant. They’re famous, and we’re surprised they didn’t win the Best of Boulder category for local celebrity. Try the classic or frozen varieties, or take a walk on the wild side with some of the Rio’s unique variations. Drink them in the spacious dining room, or enjoy them al fresco on the rooftop patio, with an unparalleled view of the Flatirons.

946 Pearl St., 720-484-4927
Silver: Jamba
Bronze: Rush Bowls
Write-in: Whole Sol Blend Bar
When you’re looking for a juice or smoothie fix, Wonder Press is the place to go. This 100% organic, cold-pressed juice and nut milk shop uses raw, carefully pressed and unadulterated juice from vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and herbs to make its delicious concoctions. Example A: The Brite, a blend of cucumber, green apple, collard greens, kale, parsley and lemon. The juice is never pasteurized, never pressure-processed and always served in a glass bottle. Each bottle consists of several pounds of produce and is packed with live enzymes, vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. Greens, fruits, roots and lemonades… a juice from Wonder will make you feel wonderful.

1380 Horizon Ave., Unit A, Lafayette, 720-443-3007
Silver: St. Vrain Cidery
Bronze: BOCO Cider
Cider may be a new craze here in Colorado, but it’s an ancient art and older than most alcoholic beverages. The type made from apples spread quickly throughout the Roman Empire after the conquerors sailed to the British Isles in 55 B.C., and its tradition has continued ever since. So what took so long for the current fascination to catch on? We have no idea. But we do know the folks at Acreage Ciderhouse & Eatery, a venture by Stem Ciders, were at the forefront of popularizing hard dry ciders in the Centennial State and beyond. With no shortage of tasty experiments and classic staples, Acreage is our readers’ favorite place to consume these ancient drinks. And we’re sure the view doesn’t hurt.

Coffee House
5340 Arapahoe Ave., 303-440-0233
1015 Pearl St., 303-645-4885
1898 S. Flatiron Court, Suite 110, 303-396-0302
1232-A S. Hover Road, Suite 400, Longmont, 720-600-6689
Silver: The Laughing Goat
Bronze: Boxcar Coffee Roasters
Write-in: Alpine Modern Cafe
With so many locations in Boulder County, you’ve most likely dipped into OZO Coffee Company for a cup of coffee or tea — maybe to get some work done, meet up with friends or family, or cool off after a walk around town with an iced drink. The point is, the coffee house is a community institution, and OZO carries that responsibility well, with comfortable seating areas, friendly and qualified baristas and some really, really good coffee.

Susan France Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries

Beer Selection
1535 Pearl St., 303-546-0886
627 S. Broadway, 303-543-0886
627A S. Broadway, 303-927-6921
600 Longs Peak Ave., Longmont, 303-651-7886
Silver: Backcountry Pizza & Taphouse
Bronze: Bohemian Biergarten
When it comes to sheer selection, Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries takes the win. And of the four sister pubs in the county, Under the Sun Eatery & Pizzeria leads with 21 taps for Mountain Sun house beers and 10 taps for guests — making it one of the best places to broaden your drinking palate while shoveling down flatbread by the pound. You’ll find eight core Mountain Sun beers at all of the locations, but it’s the rotating selection of one-offs, seasonals and stouts that make every trip to the Sun an adventure.

Previous articleBest of Boulder 2020 — Entertainment & Culture
Next articleBest of Boulder 2020 — Food