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Friday, April 25,2014

drink

Susan France
Oliver Johnson of Avery Brewing Company

Microbrewery 

AVERY BREWING COMPANY 

5763 Arapahoe Ave., Unit E, 303-440-4324 

Second Place: Mountain Sun/Southern Sun 

Third Place: Left Hand Brewing Company 

Fourth Place: FATE Brewing Company 

Fifth Place: Oskar Blues

Avery Brewing is another Best of Boulder favorite gunning for the majors. The multi-year winner currently occupying a nearly-unmarked warehouse off Arapahoe, is in the process of upgrading to a massive new facility in Gunbarrell where its mad scientist brews will stage the next phase of their inevitable global conquest. When Boulderites vote for Avery in BOB, they aren’t just giving attaboys to some of the best beers in a very discerning beer town, they’re paying fealty to their future beer overlords. Get in with Avery now, cause one day, we’ll all be drinking for them. It’s just that good.

Bar 

THE BITTER BAR 

835 Walnut St., 303-442-3050 

Second Place: Mountain Sun/Southern Sun 

Third Place: Bohemian Biergarten 

Fourth Place: West End Tavern 

Fifth Place: Conor O’Neill’s Traditional Irish Pub & Restaurant

Add two parts genius mixologists, a splash of craft liquor and serve in a casually elegant atmosphere and you’ve got the recipe to win “Best Bar” in Best of Boulder. And after last year’s near-miss at 2nd place, downtown’s The Bitter Bar has earned an ever-sosweet victory. The only question is if it will last. Bitter Bar was purchased by one of its founding bartenders, James Lee, who immediately announced plans to shut the bar down April 21-May 1 to revamp the bar Boulderites have already said is the best in town. Will it stay on top? Will it be even more on topp-er after the upgrades? Only time will tell.

Distillery 

BOULDER DISTILLERY (HOME OF 303 VODKA AND 303 WHISKEY) 

2500 47th St. Unit 10, 303-442-1244 

Second Place: Roundhouse Spirits 

Third Place: Spirit Hound Distillers 

Fourth Place: J & L Distilling Co. 

Fifth Place: Black Canyon Distillery

If a distillery was going to boast about making glutenfree vodka, it would have to be in Boulder, right? Right.

So is the story of 303 Vodka, made at Boulder Distillery, but with a legend that isn’t as unusual as first it seems. Rather, the tale of the distillery traces back to Master Distiller Steve Viezbicke’s grandfather. In his granddad’s steamer trunk, Viezbicke discovered a longlost vodka recipe from Poland. The tweaking began and finally 303 Vodka was born. The result is a great traditional vodka — as well as a whiskey — that you can try on tours of the distillery, in bars and, increasingly, find in stores.

Coffee House 

OZO COFFEE CO. 

5340 Arapahoe Ave., 303-440-0233 1898 S. Flatiron Court, Suite 110, 303-396- 0302 1015 Pearl St., 303-645- 4885 

Second Place: The Laughing Goat 

Third Place: Vic’s Coffee Shop 

Fourth Place: Amante Coffee 

Fifth Place: Boxcar Coffee Roasters

Colorado has the most rocket scientists per capita of any state in the nation, a significant percentage of which reside here in Boulder. And as everyone knows, you can’t have oodles of smart people without coffeehouses. That’s why Boulder is fat with ’em. And of the lot, one is consistently the tip-top in Boulderite’s minds: Ozo Coffee Co. The creatives at Ozo are constantly developing titillating new roasts, satiating the thirst of even the most adventurous coffee drinker and they’re dishing out our readers’ favorite brew in a cozy environment that just makes you want to read some poetry, maybe play a little jazz flute and then, time permitting, solve whatever physics equation is required to make warp drive a reality. Ozo is caffeine perfection.

Coffee Roaster 

OZO COFFEE CO. 

5340 Arapahoe Ave., 303-440-0233 1898 S. Flatiron Court, Suite 110, 303-396- 0302 1015 Pearl St., 303-645-4885 

Second Place: Boxcar Coffee Roasters 

Third Place: Brewing Market Coffee 

Fourth Place: Conscious Coffees 

Fifth Place: The Unseen Bean

The University of California Davis Foods for Health Institute recently opened the UC Davis Coffee Center — because what a good cup of coffee really needs in life is some scientific inquiry into its quality, health, sustainability, “cultural life” and, of course, genetics. In the not-so-scientific study of best place to get your coffee in town, Ozo Coffee Co. rises again to the top for creating flavorful coffees, freshly roasted each week. You might not be able to get a degree in it, but you could certainly log some hours of careful study in quality coffee by fetching yourself a cup.

Margarita 

RIO GRANDE MEXICAN RESTAURANT 

1101 Walnut St., 303-444-3690 

Second Place: Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant And Cantina 

Third Place: Tahona Tequila Bistro 

Fourth Place: Zolo Grill 

Fifth Place: Centro Latin Kitchen

Topping this year’s list for the best margarita in Boulder is Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant. The Rio’s secret? Perhaps it’s the Monday-Friday 3-6 p.m. happy hour, when you can get a Rio Margarita for $6 or a Big Tex for $7. The former, the house marg, is what you’d expect, a mixture of tequila, salt and lime either on the rocks or frozen. But there’s a whole list of margaritas that go far beyond what most Mexican places serve, including a skinny marg with Patrón Silver, soda, orange juice, Cointreau and citrus.

Happy Hour 

THE MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT 

1002 Walnut St., 303-444-5335 

Second Place: Boulder Cafe 

Third Place: Brasserie Ten Ten 

Fourth Place: Mountain Sun/Southern Sun 

Fifth Place: Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar

The Med’s happy hour menu features a long list of its tasty, reasonably priced, small appetizer plates known as “tapas,” of both the hot and cold variety. Beers are a buck off, cocktails are $4, sangria is $4.50 and a margarita or martini will only set you back six bones. With a shady courtyard patio that’s perfect for some good ol’ fashioned drink sippin’ and appetiser eaten’. The Med’s got everything you need to have the happiest of happy hours in town.

Cup of Coffee 

OZO COFFEE CO. 

5340 Arapahoe Ave., 303-440-0233 1898 S. Flatirons Court, Suite 110, 303-396-0302 1015 Pearl St., 303-645-4885 

Second Place: Boxcar Coffee Roasters 

Third Place: The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse 

Fourth Place: Vic’s Coffee Shop / The Cup Espresso Café (tie)

Ozo Coffee Co. has been serving Boulder delicious coffee since 2007, focusing on fresh roasting beans to perfection every week. Experiment with a new way to enjoy a great cup of joe by trying one of the several methods of brewing Ozo offers, including pour over, chemex and French press (as well as the traditional selection of espresso drinks such as lattes, a category in which Ozo also takes home the gold in BW’s Best of Boulder survey). And if you don’t like coffee, Ozo’s sells bacon doughnuts. That’s right. Doughnuts. With bacon.

Teahouse 

THE BOULDER DUSHANBE TEAHOUSE 

1770 13th St., 303-442-4993 

Second Place: Pekoe Sip House 

Third Place: Celestial Seasonings 

Fourth Place: Ku Cha House of Tea 

Fifth Place: The Huckleberry

Take a mini-vacation. Visit The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse and you’ll drop into a little bit of another world — Dushanbe, Tajikistan, to be precise, one of Boulder’s sister cities. The Teahouse also offers a taste of Europe with traditional afternoon teas, first popularized by the Seventh Duchess of Bedford, who decided that the best way to manage the afternoon lull between lunch and dinner was to fit in some tea and cakes. Taste a sampling of that tradition in three tiers of pastries, scones, sweet cakes and cucumber sandwiches to accompany a pot of tea. Proper etiquette includes sampling a little of everything — yum!

Wine Selection 

FRASCA FOOD AND WINE 

1738 Pearl St., 303-442-6966 

Second Place: Flagstaff House Restaurant 

Third Place: Boulder Cork 

Fourth Place: The Kitchen 

Fifth Place: The Mediterranean Restaurant

In a region of northeastern Italy, communities would host a “frasca,” an informal gathering place to share food and, perhaps most importantly, wine. Identified by a tree branch hanging over a doorway, frascas represented hospitality — “Come in and dine with family and friends.” With an elegant yet relaxed ambience, Frasca Food and Wine offers just that: hospitality and a place where wine connoisseurs and amateurs alike can explore the wide, wonderful world of wine. Frasca cellars 200 varieties of wines, but don’t be overwhelmed — a sommelier walks the dinning room floor, helping guests pick the perfect bottle of wine to accompany their meal.

Beer Selection 

BACKCOUNTRY PIZZA & TAP HOUSE 

2319 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-4285 20 E. Lakeview Drive #212, Nederland, 303-258-0176 %u2028 

Second Place: Mountain Sun/Southern Sun 

Third Place: Oskar Blues Brewery 

Fourth Place: Bohemian Biergarten 

Fifth Place: Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom

If a restaurant hands you a beer menu that takes minutes to page through and enough time to read that you feel like you’d like to have a beer in hand to get the task done, signs pretty much point to a winner for best beer selection. And there you have it with Backcountry Pizza & Tap House. Their beer list is conveniently subdivided to browse by type, bottles and drafts — subdivided so the rotating beers are separate from the ones that stick around on the menu. Were it so many other things, we would call it overwhelming. Because it’s beer, we call it wonderful.

Chai 

BHAKTI CHAI 

939 Pearl St., 303-484-8770 

Second Place: The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse 

Third Place: Third Street Chai 

Fourth Place: Pekoe Sip House 

Fifth Place: Kathmandu Restaurant

After Brook Eddy traveled to India in 2002, she couldn’t find the same delectable blend of spicy chai here in the states. So she made her own, eventually founding Bhakti Chai, which now makes a variety of chai products — ready-to-drink iced chai, packaged tea, concentrates and even ice cream. Since the word bhakti is Sanskrit for “devotion,” the company practices devotion through social action. Each year they support a wide range of nonprofit organizations that invest in women, girls and the environment. Nothing makes a beverage taste better than social awareness.

Cocktails 

THE BITTER BAR 

835 Walnut St., 303-442-3050 

Second Place: Oak at fourteenth T

hird Place: St Julien Hotel & Spa 

Fourth Place: The Mediterranean Restaurant 

Fifth Place: SALT

Cocktails are serious biz in Boulder and The Bitter Bar, with its calculated décor and long list of hip drinks found just the right balance between atmosphere and alcohol. And, as the bar notes, “Your server knows more than you think.” In other words, ask and you shall discover a diversity of drinks and that’s good because this bar celebrates those warriors of the tonic glass who love to try something new. There’s Death on a Bearskin Rug, a hot beverage made with hum liqueur, honey, lemon juice and absinthe rinse. Or the Samhain with gin, strega, domaine de canton, grapefruit bitters and lemon juice. The happy hour from 5-7 p.m. has been a favorite in Boulder, but it has also been a popular after-dinner destination for a quick nightcap — or two.

As of press time, we hear the bar is transitioning hands, but we’re confident the new management will bring the same caliber of drinks and service to the west end of Pearl Street.

Latte/Mocha 

OZO COFFEE CO. 

5340 Arapahoe Ave., 303-440-0233 1898 S. Flatiron Court, Suite 110, 303-396-0302 1015 Pearl St., 303-645-4885 

Second Place: The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse 

Third Place: Starbuck’s 

Fourth Place: The Cup Espresso Café 

Fifth Place: Vic’s Coffee Shop

When you want a great espresso drink, you’re looking for a barista who knows how to craft a smooth, rich crema — that deliciously creamy layer of foam that forms at the top of a shot of espresso. Ozo Coffee Co. prides itself on operating with a crack team of highly skilled baristas who know how to deliver that perfect crema every time for a latte that knocks your socks off. And you don’t have to be a latte aficionado to appreciate the fine art Ozo’s baristas create as they pour your bovine-/soy-/ almond-derived beverage into each drink — a little masterpiece in every cup.

Juice/Smoothie 

JAMBA JUICE 

1695 29th St., Ste. 1256, 720-565-0407 3053 Arapahoe Ave., 303-247-1170 1669 Euclid Ave., 303-449-5245 3325 28th St., 303-938-1271 

Second Place: Whole Foods Market 

Third Place: Alfalfa’s Market 

Fourth Place: Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place 

Fifth Place: Rush

Need some ready-made fuel that’ll do your body good? A smoothie can be a fast, easy solution to getting yourself a little more energy to get you through a busy afternoon. Or even a relaxing one. Of the many options in Boulder for places that liquefy fruits and vegetables for your consumption, Jamba Juice is again tops. Choose whether your want an all-fruit smoothie or one that includes sherbet or frozen yogurt. Or ditch the frills and go for a “functional smoothie” predesigned to help you meet your fitness or wellness goals. Because we could all use a little boost sometimes.

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