If you're staying in town, the first place you should head for dinner or a drink is Denver's Union Station. The vintage downtown landmark underwent a massive renovation in 2014 that has transformed the train station (think Grand Central Station on a smaller scale) into a lively dining destination. Grab an upscale burger at Acme Burger & Brat or a craft beer at the Terminal Bar, which serves its mostly local beers from the station's original ticket windows. For a leisurely, upscale meal, try Stoic & Genuine, run by celebrity chef Jennifer Jasinski. The focus is on fresh seafood like Maine lobster and oysters (yes, that's right; it's flown in daily). A more casual option is Mercantile Dining & Provision, which serves farm-to-table dinners with family-style entrees meant for sharing. (Union Station still functions as a rail hub, and last spring it started running a long-awaited commuter rail link to the Denver International Airport.).
There might not be a better city to be in on game day (or the 19th hole) than Denver, which is brimming with sports bars. ViewHouse Eatery, Bar & Rooftop (the name says it all) has an ideal location near Coors Field and corn hole too. The Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grille serves 52 taps and IPA-battered fish & chips. In nearby Five Points, the Blake Street Tavern boasts 60 HD TVs and a basement game room with darts and foosball. For whiskey connoisseurs, the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a must. Come for the 90 whiskeys you can sample in flights, pork wings (who knew?) and its signature fried chicken.
If you have a hankering for a juicy sirloin, Denver has its share of traditional steakhouses, including the popular national chains Capitol Grille and The Palm. The Palm is in the historic Brown Palace Hotel and Spa in the LoDo district. Dating from 1892, the grand hotel has hosted Churchill and Eisenhower and is worth a stop, even if you don’t have time for dinner. Sit in the lobby bar and admire the ornate Tiffany window. Of course it would be a shame to pass up a meal at the local chophouse Elway's, owned by Bronco QB legend John Elway. With two locations in Denver, downtown and in the upscale enclave of Cherry Creek, Elways serves up fine wines, live music, steaks and local specialties such as Rocky Mountain trout and Colorado rack of lamb.
Denver has it share of trendy up-and-coming neighborhoods with catchy monikers (RiNo and LoHi) that boast a high density of great bars and restaurants. LoHi, Lower Highlands, is just northwest of downtown and attracting the most attention. Neighborhood standouts are BriDer, a fast casual rotisserie joint featuring succulent chicken, lamb and porchetta. BarDough is a stylish, modern Italian offering salads, pastas and pizzas by well-known local chef Max Mackissock. Lola Coastal Mexican has a lovely outdoor deck and was named by Food and Wine Magazine as one of the top 5 places to drink tequila in the country (over 200 kinds are served). The outdoor deck is a nice spot to enjoy guacamole prepared table-side and inventive takes on chile relleno and carne asada.