Best of Boulder 2017 — Drink

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Charles Oh, A bartender at The Bitter Bar, knocks out an award-winning Mia Tia.
Susan France

Cocktails

THE BITTER BAR

835 Walnut St., 303-442-3050

Second Place: OAK at fourteenth

Third Place: St Julien Hotel and Spa

Fourth Place: Bramble & Hare

Fifth Place: The Mediterranean Restaurant

Write In: ARCANA Food Migrations & Inspirations

If you’re jonesing for a craft cocktail (and if you’re not, then get jonesing, sports fan) there are several places you can go in Boulder County. But our readers righteously chose The Bitter Bar as their favorite factory of the hand-made libation. Made in spectacular fashion before your very eyes, Bitter Bartenders show off expert skill in crafting classic and modern cocktails. You will get something you like here, that is for certain. The Bitter Bar happy hour is also a steal, with craft cocktails available for only $6. And if that doesn’t wet your whistle, then their craft beer and wine selection will surely have something to appease your palate.

Susan France
Bhakti Chai Owner Brook Eddy

Chai

BHAKTI CHAI

939 Pearl St., 303-484-8770

Second Place: Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

Third Place: Sherpa Chai

Fourth Place: Brewing Market Coffee

Fifth Place: Third Street

Chai means tea in many languages and was derived from the Mandarin Chinese chá. You don’t really have to know that to love chai, but who doesn’t love to know a little more about the things they love? For instance, the spices that make up India chai differ from region to region. And chai acts as a natural digestive aid. What you do know, dear reader, is that Bhakti Chai is your favorite chai, whether it’s chai with almond milk or green tea chai or decaf chai or even holiday nog chai. There are dozens of different flavors to chai… we mean try.

Bloody Mary

LUCILE’S CREOLE CAFÉ

2124 14th street, Boulder, 303-442-4743

518 Kimbark, Longmont, 303-774-9814

That’s right, we picked Lucile’s bloody mary as the best of the best again this year because we think it is absolutely the best bloody in the County. But it’s now easier than ever for everybody to confirm our good taste. In the past you had to drive all the way to Longmont to get the best bloody. But as of last year, Lucile’s original Boulder location can now serve up this amazing take on the classic breakfast of last night’s champions. If you haven’t tried one, do yourself a favor and do so. If you don’t have time for a great meal, stop by and purchase a fresh bottle of Lucile’s bloody mary mix and impress all your friends right in your own kitchen.

Distillery

SPIRIT HOUND DISTILLERS

4196 Ute Highway, Lyons, 303-823-5696

Second Place: Vapor Distillery

Third Place: J&L Distilling Company

Fourth Place: Deviant Spirits Distillery

Write In: Anvil Distillery

A distillery in the west. Just those words conjure up romantic images of the Old West when a man was still a man, and a horse was still a horse, darnit. Now it’s unclear if Spirit Hound Distillers looks back on its ancestors with such rose-colored glasses, but these folks are producing award-winning spirits that would make anyone proud. Whisky, rum, gin and moonshine highlight the distillery’s offerings, but fans of Richardo’s Coffee Liqueur, made at the facility, clamor that it is the best of the bunch. Throw in “Colorado Sambuca,” and it seems like a visit to the Lyons distillery for a tasting is in order. You can go by horse or car.

Susan France
Ozo Coffee Barista, Nyal Ruehlen

Coffeehouse

OZO COFFEE COMPANY

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, Longmont, 720-600-6689

Second Place: The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse

Third Place: Boxcar Coffee Roasters

Fourth Place: Brewing Market Coffee

Fifth Place: Vic’s Espresso

Write In: Alpine Modern Café

Boulder Weekly readers love their coffee. A good many of them practically live in coffee shops because they tend to be those creative types who appreciate a place that knows them by name where they can get a full dose of great flavor in a great atmosphere with Wi-Fi. And did we mention they’re likely addicted to caffeine too? Because, like we said, they live in coffee shops. These are exactly the people whose opinion you should be listening to when you’re looking for a great coffee house. So pay attention when our readers tell you that there is no place better for all their coffee and creative needs than one of Ozo Coffee Company’s Boulder County locations. And our readers aren’t the only creatives in this equation. The creatives at Ozo are constantly developing new roasts that are sure to intrigue the most adventurous of coffee drinkers. Our readers know coffee and so do the folks at Ozo. It’s a match made in coffee heaven.

Use of a Cucumber 

TWISTED PINE BREWING COMPANY

3201 Walnut St., 303-786-9270

This category was not without controversy. Who can forget Eric “Otter” Stratton in National Lampoon’s Animal House telling Mrs. Wormer, “Mines Bigger” as he stroked a cucumber in vegetable aisle of the local supermarket? Funny yes, but still second place. The best use of a cuc is Twisted Pine Brewing Company’s cucumber cream ale. Hands down this beer is the most refreshing summer beverage you’ll find. No matter what you think about the idea of cucumber beer, you’ll be surprised when you taste it. We haven’t found anyone who doesn’t love it. Give it a chugalug.

Happy Hour

THE MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT

1002 Walnut St., 303-444-5335

Second Place: Brasserie Ten Ten

Third Place: Mountain Sun Pubs
& Breweries

Fourth Place: Boulder Cork

Fifth Place: FATE Brewing Company

Write In: Scotts on Alpine

The Mediterranean Restaurant happy hour menu features a list of tasty, reasonably priced tapas as long as your arm, complete with both hot and cold specialties. Food is important to be sure but we all know it’s only half of what makes a great happy hour. So here’s part two: Draft beers are a buck off, cocktails are $5, red or white sangria is $5 and a margarita or martini will only set you back $6.50. With its shady outdoor courtyard and a lively bar area, The Med’s got everything you need to have the happiest happy hour this side of the Italian Riviera.

Milkshake

HEIFER AND THE HEN

5290 Arapahoe Ave., 720-328-3159

Milkshakes are reserved for special occasions: first dates, family outings, holidays and even on a random Tuesday. Because if a milkshake is involved then it’s definitely a special occasion. We take our milkshakes very seriously, so listen up when we tell you that you’ll find the best milkshake at Heifer and the Hen. The organic creamery has a plethora of flavors from the ice cream staples to the walks on the wild side like white Russian, goat milk cajeta or burnt honey. You can’t go wrong with one of these milkshakes. They’re one of the top great things about Boulder!

Latte/Mocha

OZO COFFEE COMPANY

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, Longmont, 720-600-6689

Second Place: The Laughing
Goat Coffeehouse

Third Place: Boxcar Coffee Roasters

Fourth Place: The Cup
Espresso Café

Fifth Place: Brewing Market Coffee

Write In: The Point Cafe

Ozo Coffee Company hosts an ongoing series of barista training classes that teach the skills necessary to create quality espresso beverages. When a business offers classes in espresso theory and coffeehouse customer services skills, you know they make a dang good latte. Ozo takes home (once again!) this year’s award for best latte/mocha. Did you know that a café mocha is a variant on the traditional latte and is also sometimes called mocaccino? Well, we didn’t. But you know what? The baristas at Ozo do, and they’re ready and eager to pull the perfect shot of espresso and steam up a perfectly foamy cup of milk for our reader’s favorite latte… or mocha.

Juice/Smoothie

JAMBA JUICE

1695 29th St., Suite 1256,
720-565-0407

1669 Euclid Ave., 303-449-5245

3053 Arapahoe Ave., 303-247-1170

Second Place: Wonder

Third Place: Alfalfa’s Market

Fourth Place: Whole Foods Market

Fifth Place: Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place

Whoever thought to mix ginger and kale or cucumber with Chia seeds? To combine beets with strawberries or chilis with mango? We don’t know, but we’re sure glad they did! For these unique combinations and more conventional smoothies head on over to Jamba Juice for a quick boost of energy, a protein-filled meal supplement or any number of snacks to feed the soul. By “supplying 250 million servings of fruits and vegetables a year” to people around the world, Jamba Juice embodies the healthy lifestyle through its fresh ingredients, community programs and delicious menu right here in Boulder County.

Mixing of Beers

MIKE O’SHAYS RESTAURANT & ALE HOUSE

512 Main Street, Longmont, 303-772-0252

Mike O’Shays is a great Irish pub and restaurant with an old wooden bar to die for. And the bartenders behind the classic bar at this Longmont legend are wizards at finding combinations of beer that will knock your socks off. Of course there is the classic Black & Tan, a combo of Guinness and Bass. But you can also get a Black Velvet, Guinness and Magners; a Black and Blue, Guinness and Blue Moon; or a Belgian Brunet, Guinness and Stella Artois. And this is only the beginning. Take it from the BW staff: go en masse, order them all and share. Remember, a night of mixing beers at Mike O’Shays is always a good night.

Cup of Coffee

OZO COFFEE COMPANY

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

Second Place: Boxcar Coffee Roasters

Third Place: The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse

Fourth Place: Brewing Market Coffee

Fifth Place: The Cup Espresso Café

Did you know you can get Ozo Coffee Company’s coffee delivered right to your door through its subscription program? Did you know Ozo has a Lab & Training Center located next to the roastery on Flatiron Court? Did you know the baristas take the time to stay on top of coffee trends? Even if you didn’t know all that, you knew that Ozo makes a really great cup of coffee, and now you know a little more about why. Ozo takes coffee seriously. It’s their bread and butter, but more importantly it’s their passion.

Susan France
Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant’s Bartender Victor Lemus

Margarita

RIO GRANDE MEXICAN RESTAURANT

1101 Walnut St., 303-444-3690

Second Place: Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina

Third Place: Tahona Tequila Bistro

Fourth Place: T•aco an urban taqueria

Fifth Place: Zolo Grill

Write In: Hefe’s Tacos & Tequila

If you’ve had the margaritas at Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, you know why it won best margarita. They’re delicious, first and foremost, and they’re expertly apportioned so that you’re feeling festive after one round. Not that that’ll stop you from ordering a second, or a third, and shouting from the Rio’s rooftop patio that you’re the king of Boulder and margaritas are the new currency. Best yet, the Rio’s margs come in a variety of flavors and styles, including barrel-aged, coin-style, jalapeno, agave-infused and mingled with Corona. But don’t take our word for it, your highness, get to the Rio now.

Susan France
Avery Brewing Company’s Bartender Hannah Wolff

Microbrewery

AVERY BREWING COMPANY

4910 Nautilus Court North, 303-440-4324

Second Place: Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries

Third Place: Left Hand Brewing Co.

Fourth Place: Upslope Brewing Company

Fifth Place: FATE Brewing Company

Write In: Finkel & Garf Brewing Co.

Avery Brewing Company is another multi-year winner of the Best of Boulder reader survey. Since it’s move to its new digs in Gunbarrell a few years back, all that’s happened is that Avery has gotten bigger, better and even more popular. Winning best microbrewery in Boulder County is like winning the daggum Olympics. There’s more than 50 microbrews in these parts and some of them are considered the best in the nation and have even produced a good number of gold medals for their beer all around the world. Our readers know their beer. Congrats Avery on winning one of the most competitive Best of Boulder categories there is. Bottoms up.

Wine Selection

FRASCA FOOD AND WINE

1738 Pearl St., 303-442-6966

Second Place: Flagstaff House Restaurant

Third Place: Boulder Cork

Fourth Place: The Mediterranean Restaurant

Fifth Place: Brasserie Ten Ten

If you want someone to talk to you about wine the way Miles Raymond talks about wine in the 2004 movie Sideways, you need to head to Frasca Food and Wine, where Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey has curated a selection of wines that is second to none — a book more than a menu. Organized by flavor profile, varietal and theme, there’s something to please every palate, with more than 200 varieties. Don’t be afraid to talk to your server and sommelier — it’s their absolute pleasure to guide your choice.

Susan France
Boulder Dushanbe TeaHouse employee Justin Frank

Teahouse

BOULDER DUSHANBE TEAHOUSE

1770 13th St., 303-442-4993

Second Place: Ku Cha House of Tea

Third Place: Pekoe Sip House

Fourth Place: A Cup of Peace

Fifth Place: Trident Booksellers & Cafe

As “a symbol of peace and global friendship” in this often unpeaceful and unfriendly world, the Boulder Dushanbe Tea House is once again our reader’s favorite place to enjoy a cup of tea with someone — coworkers, friends or new acquaintances alike. Shipped to Colorado from our sister city in Tajikistan, and assembled piece by piece without power tools, the tea house is more than a beautifully ornate building to enjoy. It embodies what makes us human — the ability to learn, appreciate and grow from each other no matter how far apart we live or how different we may be. Celebrate the very best of humanity by enjoying a refreshing cup of tea at Dushanbe.

Bar

THE BITTER BAR

835 Walnut St., 303-442-3050

Second Place: Avery Brewing Company

Third Place: Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries

Fourth Place: World Famous Dark Horse Bar and Grill

Fifth Place: West End Tavern

Write In: Rayback Collective

Voting The Bitter Bar as the best bar around is starting to become a regular occurrence for our readers. But why not? When you put creative mixologists, fine craft liquors and an elegant, if casual, atmosphere together with a bunch of nice employees and patrons, it only makes sense you’d come up with one heck of a great bar. Definition of a great mixologist: Ask them to make you something they’ve never made, never heard of and make them use a cucumber. At The Bitter Bar you’ll have one of the most delicious drinks you’ve ever had and in your hand faster than you can say, “These guys are good.” This is one great bar.

Beer Selection — Restaurant

MOUNTAIN SUN PUBS & BREWERIES

1535 Pearl St., 303-546-0886

627 S. Broadway, Unit E, 303-543-0886

600 Longs Peak Ave., 303-651-7886

Second Place: Backcountry Pizza & Tap House

Third Place: Oskar Blues Brewery (various locations)

Fourth Place: Bohemian Biergarten

Fifth Place: West End Tavern

Write In: Avery Brewing Company

The variety of personalities in BW’s office can almost be perfectly summed up by the beer list at Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries. When we venture out to enjoy that occasional beer together, our differences really come out. Some prefer the lighter, fruitier tones of the impeccable Raspberry Wheat. Still others enjoy the pick-me up that comes with the frequently ordered Java Porter. Still others gravitate towards the specialty beers, offered in smaller snifters but with higher ABV. And still others stick with the tried and true Annapurna Amber. If none of our choices sound good to you, no problem. This isn’t even a fourth of the daily offerings at these classic Boulder eateries, which is why our readers chose our local watering hole as their favorite beer selection as well.  Don’t get us started on Stout Month, when all the “usuals” are joined by a host of dark outsiders. If you’re craving a brewsky, this is the spot.

Coffee Roaster

OZO COFFEE COMPANY

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

Second Place: Boxcar Coffee Roasters

Third Place: Brewing Market Coffee

Fourth Place: The Unseen Bean

Fifth Place: Peet’s Coffee & Tea

Year after year, our readers vote Ozo Coffee Company the best roaster in town. Looking for something nutty, with a hint of caramel? Or something more floral and fruity? If you want that perfectly blended espresso or that single origin bean roasted to perfection, Ozo’s expert roasters are working on a unique batch of coffee beans just for you. They also offer rotating special reserve coffees and if you want to mix-up that coffee selection, sign up for the Roaster’s Choice subscription and be surprised as you receive two different coffee varietals each month. Roasted fresh each and every week, Ozo Coffee is always fresh and never in short supply.