Best of Boulder East County 2018 — Entertainment & Culture

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Sue France

Place to Dance

NISSI’S

2675 Northpark Drive, Lafayette, 303-665-2757

Longmont Winner: The Speakeasy

Lyons Winner: Oskar Blues Grill & Brew

There’s a reason we at Boulder Weekly have repeatedly chosen to throw our Best of Boulder East County party at Nissi’s. The stage, the ambiance, the bar… it’s the perfect recipe for a fantastic night. Every week this classic Lafayette dancing hub features a variety of live musicians — everything from a cappella to R&B, from tribute bands to bluegrass groups grace the stage, making Nissi’s our reader’s favorite place to get up and dance to whatever beats set your soul afire. With the relaxed supper-club vibe, our readers know this is the place to go for everyone on the hunt for an all-are-welcome night of dancing.

Public School (K-8)

PEAK TO PEAK CHARTER SCHOOL

800 Merlin Drive, Lafayette, 303-453-4600

Runner Up, East County: Lafayette Elementary School

Louisville Winner: Louisville Elementary School

Dreams of college, creative passions, athletic talents, responsible citizenry — all of these are qualities Peak to Peak Charter School works hard to address every day in its classrooms. The school, after all, was formed at the behest of a group of parents who envisioned a school dedicated to outstanding scholarship that would challenge students to achieve their academic potential. Since 2000, Peak to Peak has been doing just that — helping future generations fulfill their highest ambitions for college, arts, sports and citizenry.

Sue France

Art Gallery

DONA LAURITA PHOTOGRAPHY + FINE ART

820 Main St., Louisville, 303-818-1616

Lafayette Winner: pARTiculars Art Gallery & Teaching Studio

Longmont Winner: Firehouse Art Center

Dona Laurita has cultivated a close relationship with Colorado’s artistic community, facilitating dozens of artist-in-residence programs and workshops over the last 20 years. So it’s no wonder our readers voted Dona Laurita Photography + Fine Art as their favorite art gallery in East Boulder County. With exhibitions updated monthly, special events and performances in the gallery’s downstairs space, Dona Laurita’s mission is to promote original artistic expression in Boulder County.

Bank/Financial Institution

ELEVATIONS CREDIT UNION

1900 W. South Boulder Road, Lafayette, 303-443-4672

1079 Hover St., Suite 100, Longmont, 303-443-4672

777 21st Ave., Longmont, 303-443-4672

300 McCaslin Blvd., Louisville, 303-443-4672

Runner Up, East County: Chase Bank (Gunbarrel, Lafayette, Longmont, Louisville)

You need to trust the people who manage your money, and that’s why so many of our readers choose to bank with Elevations Credit Union. This local business was founded in 1953 and has grown from 12 members to more than 130,000. It now manages more than $2 billion in assets. The credit union’s charitable arm, the Elevations Foundation, provides scholarships for higher education, community grants for local nonprofits and resources to the community in times of disaster and need. Elevations is much more than a bank, it’s a part of your community.

Place to Wi-Fi

STARBUCKS

Locations throughout East Boulder County

Runner Up, East County: Ziggi’s Coffee House (Longmont, Erie)

If Starbucks were a high school senior, we’re pretty sure we know what would be written all over its yearbook. It’d be a dozen variations of: “Hey Starbs, you’re great; don’t change.” The consistency of this mind-bogglingly expansive coffeehouse network is more than commendable. Order a latte in Peru and it’ll taste like one in New York; sit down at a cafe in Japan and it’ll feel eerily similar to one in Berlin. This goes for the Wi-Fi, too, making the Starbucks megachain a magnet for people needing not only a caffeine fix, but an internet fix. In East Boulder County, settle in to one of the many locations and experience for yourself what our readers have proclaimed the best place to Wi-Fi of all.

Open Mic

CANNON MINE COFFEE

210 S. Public Road, Lafayette, 303-665-0625

Longmont Winner: The Dickens Tavern and Opera House

Niwot Winner: Bootstrap Brewing Company

Cannon Mine Coffee is more than a coffee shop, it’s a part of the Lafayette community. Every Wednesday, Cannon Mine Coffee provides an open mic so local musicians and poets and storytellers and creatives of all sorts can show their community what they’ve got. So, bring your guitar or your harp or your best slam poetry or an act of your one-person play, grab a cup of coffee or maybe a glass of kombucha (it’s on tap!), and show Lafayette how talented you are. Simply put, our readers say Cannon Mine is the hands-down place to go for an open mic in all of East County, and that’s saying a lot.

Public School (9-12)

CENTAURUS HIGH SCHOOL

10300 S. Boulder Road, Lafayette, 720-561-7500

Louisville Winner: Monarch High School

Niwot Winner: Niwot High School

There’s an award students can win at Centaurus High School called the “HEART of a Warrior” award, and it’s presented to chosen students at assemblies throughout the school year. HEART stands for “Honor, Empathy, Achievement, Respect, Triumph,” and we suspect the award embodies many of the characteristics that led our readers to vote Centaurus as East County’s best public high school. With an award-winning Engineering Academy and International Baccalaureate Diploma program, there’s no shortage of opportunities for students to explore their passions. They say the future can’t be known, but the future of Centaurus students is crystal clear: with HEART, they’ll go exactly where they want in life.

Sports Bar

RED ZONE AT THE PUMPHOUSE BREWERY

540 Main St., Longmont, 303-702-0881

Erie Winner: The Lazy Dog Sports Bar and Grill

Louisville Winner: Mudrock’s Tap & Tavern

Looking for the most exciting place to watch the biggest games of the year? Don’t stress. Our readers have you covered. Head to the Red Zone at the Pumphouse Brewery, where 33 different HD TVs will screen any game you could ever possibly desire. The tabletop audio boxes allow you to tune into each channel, so you get perfect sound for any game you choose. While you’re kicking back and waiting for the whistle to blow, don’t shy away from the Pumphouse’s amazing food offerings. With pub favorites like burgers, dips, nachos, and fish and chips, you’ll never have to choose between great gameday atmosphere, delicious food and some of the County’s best hand-crafted beer — it’s all featured in the Red Zone.

Live Jazz Venue

NISSI’S

2675 Northpark Drive, Lafayette, 303-665-2757

Longmont Winner: The Speakeasy

Louisville Winner: Bittersweet – Cafe & Confections

With a 30-year history in the hospitality industry, Nissi’s owner Marc Gitlin knows a thing or two about how to run a venue. His expertise shines through at Nissi’s, our readers’ favorite live jazz venue. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a live jazz set while sipping on a well-made cocktail or enjoying a handcrafted meal. Nissi’s offers it all in an upscale yet laid-back environment.

Staff Pick: Place to get lost with your dog

Golden Ponds Park and Nature Area

Golden Ponds Park is one of Longmont’s best hidden gems, an oasis filled with trees and lakes and even a waterfall. With miles of trails to run and walk alongside Fido, plus lots of shady spots to stop and have lunch, there’s no better place we can think of in East County to spend a few hours with your four-legged friend.

Festival/Event

LOUISVILLE DOWNTOWN STREET FAIRE

Downtown Louisville

Lafayette Winner: Lafayette Peach Festival

Longmont: Longmont Farmers Market

Summer is a magical time in Boulder County, those long days luring us into the mountains for hikes to majestic waterfalls surrounded by wildflowers. But the evenings aren’t to be wasted either, and our readers love to savor every minute of summer at the Louisville Downtown Street Faire. For eight Friday evenings, folks flock to downtown Louisville to dance with their neighbors against a backdrop of live music, toast the summer with a cold beer, laugh with their children, peruse local arts and celebrate this wonderful place we call home.

Music Venue

NISSI’S

2675 Northpark Drive, Lafayette, 303-665-2757

Longmont Winner: The Dickens Tavern and Opera House

Louisville Winner: Waterloo

Lyons Winner: Oskar Blues Grill & Brew

Since Marc Gitlin took over Nissi’s in 2009, he’s made some changes. He renovated the stage, increased the size of the dancefloor, added a general admission section and updated the decor for a more modern vibe. It’s all a part of why our readers voted Nissi’s their favorite music venue. Gitlin has brought in more rock and cover bands, in addition to the venue’s beloved jazz scene. The eclectic musical offerings mean there’s something for everyone to love at Nissi’s.

Sue France

Nonprofit

LONGMONT HUMANE SOCIETY

9595 Nelson Road, Longmont, 303-772-1232

Lafayette Winner: Sister Carmen Community Center

Since opening in 1972, the Longmont Humane Society has seen its fair share of trials and tribulations, but it’s stuck by its commitment to create a better world for our four-legged friends. More than 2,000 animals find loving forever homes because of LHS each year, and another 800 are reunited with their families. All of that love is why more than 800 people volunteer with the Longmont Humane Society each year, and why our readers say it’s the best nonprofit in East Boulder County.

Place to Play Pool

BREAKERS GRILL

380 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-3839

Runner Up, East County: Pumphouse Brewery & Red Zone

Louisville Winner: Mudrock’s Tap & Tavern

Eight different pool tables are available at Breakers Grill. Head in and practice your shots on a Sunday, when the 9-foot tables are free to use all day. Once you’ve chalked up enough trial runs for some healthy competition, try one of Breakers’ competition nights: on Monday nights, enter the 8-ball tournaments, or on Wednesdays enter the 9-ball tournaments, where fun and friendly people gather ’round the tables to duke out who’s got the best game of them all.

Private School

DAWSON SCHOOL

10455 Dawson Drive, Lafayette, 303-665-6679

Longmont Winner: Boulder Valley Waldorf School
(Formerly Shepherd Valley Waldorf School)

Louisville Winner: St. Louis Catholic School

Founded in 1970, Dawson School knows exactly what kids need from kindergarten to senior year. George Moore, head of the school, has made it his life’s work to prepare Boulder County kids for excellence in collaboration, creativity, critical-thinking, communication and character-building. And across the 107-acre campus, infinite opportunities are available for students to practice those exact skills. Between after-school sports programs, technology and engineering clubs, entrepreneur meet-ups and board game groups, there’s a chance for every child to flourish outside of the classroom, too. If you want your child to get the best private school education, our readers tell us this is the place.

Museum

WOW! CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

110 N. Harrison Ave., Lafayette, 303-604-2424

Longmont Winner: Longmont Museum and Cultural Center

Our readers love WOW! Children’s Museum because it engages everyone in the family with educational, hands-on experiences. Founders Lisa and Dario Atallah understand the importance of play in children’s learning. WOW’s dynamic exhibits provide unique experiences that foster a life-long love of learning and a sense of confidence and competence. Museums don’t have to be quiet places where you can’t touch anything — take your family to WOW! and see why our readers say it’s the best museum in East Boulder County.