Best of Boulder East County 2018 — Drink

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Sue France

Wine Selection

/PÔR/ WINE HOUSE

836 1/2 Main St., Louisville, 720-666-1386

Longmont Winner: Bin No. 46 Craft Bar + Restaurant

Wander down the brick path to the doorframe of Louisville’s
/pôr/ wine house, slip inside and slide right into one of its European-style table and chairs. Now for the hard part: choosing which wine to sip, as you’re faced with an exceptional offering of wine on tap (the largest selection in Colorado), in addition to more than a dozen wines by the glass featured on the menu. If you’re really stuck and can’t decide which flavors and profiles you’re hoping for (Red? White? Sparkling? Warm? Chilled?), don’t stress. The fine people at /pôr/ have a sommelier on staff, curating the wine selection, so your best bet might be to ask if they’re on the floor and can help you decide.

Staff Pick: Place to help you brew your own drinks

BREWMENTED

900 S. Hover, Unit C, Longmont, 720-699-0214

Sure, it’s fun to go out for a beer or wine or cider or mead or whatever, but it’s also a blast to make your own adult beverages at home. And it’s easier than you might think, thanks to Brewmented. This place has everything you need to brew up a few gallons of your favorite style beer or try your hand at mead, cider or wine. And we’re not talking about just the basics here. These folks can hook you up with every detail from rum-soaked oak chips to a wide assortment of yeasts to fermentation containers to the perfect bottles to use when you are ready to share your handmade alcoholic bounty with your friends or hoard it all for yourself. And there’s always a special microbrew on tap at the cool bar in the back so you can get inspired before shopping for your own combination of the perfect ingredients.

Sue France

Bar

WILLIAM OLIVER’S

201 N. Public Road, Lafayette, 720-890-3843

Longmont Winner: Pumphouse Brewery & Red Zone

Louisville Winner: Waterloo

The first time we stopped in at William Oliver’s, a self-branded whiskey and bacon pub, we were blown away with what these folks have to offer. Now, the bacon is a thing unto itself that you do need to check out (very thick-cut, very tender bacon manipulated in various ways that’ll have you thinking you really haven’t had good bacon before), but our readers astutely point out that William Oliver’s is also a great bar. The atmosphere is a winner — whether you’re sidled up at the ample bar, over in the well-lit dining room or tucked away in the fun and cozy library. But the wide variety of spirits (lots of whiskey, of course), cocktails and craft beer makes it a perfect place to spend an afternoon with friends or to take a solo trip and sample the best of what the craft brewing and distilling world has to offer.

Coffee Roaster

OZO COFFEE COMPANY

1232-A S. Hover Road, Unit 400, Longmont, 720-600-6689

Runner Up, East County: Brewing Market Coffee

Lafayette Winner: Proper Coffee + Cocktails

Louisville Winner: Paul’s Coffee & Tea

For over a decade, Ozo Coffee Company has been at the forefront of the Boulder County craft coffee roasting scene. These folks are leaders in the field, setting the bar high for other coffee roasters with their commitment to humanely sourced coffee beans, and their passion for turning those beans into delicious roasts and brews. Ozo has a dedicated laboratory where there are regular trainings both for staff members and the public about coffee, and the roasters are always tinkering with roasts to maximize the precious commodity of internationally sourced coffee beans. That experimentation allows them to give us the best possible cups of coffee, espresso and more.

Sue France

Margarita

EFRAIN’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT & CANTINA

101 E. Cleveland St., Lafayette, 303-666-7544

Longmont Winner: Jefes Tacos & Tequila

Louisville Winner: Pica’s Mexican Taqueria

There’s almost a full page of margarita options on Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina’s menu. That’s real dedication to the customer if we’ve ever seen it. Each of the house-made margs are large, but classy, served the old-fashioned way in a 16-ounce canning jar. You can’t go wrong, no matter which one (or two or three) you choose for the night — besides, we’re guessing you’ll have your chance to try them all some day. Not to point out the obvious, but you already know you’ll need to go back again and again to taste everything off Efrain’s food menu, anyway, which has won top honors for Mexican food in Best of Boulder East County more than once.

Coffeehouse

OZO COFFEE COMPANY

1232-A S. Hover Road, Unit 400, Longmont, 720-600-6689

Erie Winner: Ziggi’s Coffee (also in Longmont)

Lafayette Winner: East Simpson Coffee Company

Louisville Winner: Moxie Bread Co.

So ubiquitous is Ozo Coffee Company in Boulder County — if you’re not drinking it in its coffeehouses, you’re likely to be drinking it in an independent cafe — that it’s easy to see why our readers selected it for the best coffeehouse around. Simply put, its freshly roasted coffee, using beans sourced from around the globe, resonates with our high-end coffee palates and desire to drink responsibly. As a coffeehouse, Ozo is the perfect place for meetings, out-of-office work, book reading, life pontification and more. The staff is friendly, the atmosphere is lively but comfortable, and the beverages are spot-on.

Beer Selection

OSKAR BLUES HOME MADE LIQUIDS AND SOLIDS

1555 S. Hover St., Longmont, 303-485-9400

Lafayette Winner: Odd13 Brewing

Louisville and Niwot Winner: Lucky Pie Pizza & Taphouse

Well, we can’t argue with this. The beer selection at Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids and Solids is a beer enthusiast’s dream. Not only does a stop in at the Longmont location present myriad, constantly changing options from the region’s finest brewers, but it also allows us to sample the latest and greatest from Oskar Blues itself. Its list of draft beers would overwhelm if it weren’t for a friendly staff to help navigate through the intensely curated list of offerings. Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids and Solids has a beer for every taste at every price point.

Cocktails

WILLIAM OLIVER’S

201 N. Public Road, Lafayette, 720-890-3843

Runner Up, East County: Community

Erie Winner: 24 Carrot Bistro

Longmont Winner: Martinis Bistro

With so, so many spirits on hand, William Oliver’s has a bevy of options when it comes to creating unique, craft cocktails. Try the Colorado Iced Tea, made with Dancing Pines bourbon, Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, tequila and Leopold Bros. orange liqueur. Or how about the Famous Penicilin, made with Famous Grouse Blended Scotch, ginger, honey and lemon? The mark of a great cocktail bar is that you can walk in, tell the bartender what you like and they’ll whip something up you didn’t dream could exist; our readers know that William Oliver’s is such a place.

Staff Pick: Place to get psychologically conditioned

Georgia Boys BBQ

250 Third Ave., Longmont, 720-999-4099

Everyone in East Boulder County knows that Georgia Boys BBQ makes some bad-ass barbecue. But when these meat-smokin’ wizards decided to move the Longmont location from its original tiny white house to the new, larger location up the street, there was another benefit beyond more seating; it now has a great little bar in the middle of the dining room with an always-friendly bartender. The best part is, you can walk in, place an order to-go, sit at the bar and drink exactly two beers before your buzzer goes off telling you your order is ready. It’s crazy, like they have cameras or something. Check it out for yourself, it’s truly Pavlovian. As soon as you pour that last delicious swallow of your second beer into your mouth, the buzzer goes off and someone hands you bags of amazing food. This is just the kind of psychological conditioning we love, and we think you will too.

Wine Bar

/PÔR/ WINE HOUSE

836 1/2 Main St., Louisville, 720-666-1386

Lafayette Winner: Espresso Vino by Brewing Market

Longmont Winner: Bin No. 46 Craft Bar + Restaurant

Before /pôr/ wine house came around, what in the world did everyone do when they wanted a glass of exceptional wine, served in an exceptional atmosphere? We’re not quite sure, to be honest, but we are sure our readers were quick to point to /pôr/ as soon as “wine” appeared on the Best of Boulder East County questionnaire. Just off Main Street, this Louisville establishment does a great job at transporting you to a place far, far away from the hustle and bustle of life. Take a seat in the charming bar, swirl the goodness in your glass and give thanks the wine-experts are here to stay.

Teahouse

CELESTIAL SEASONINGS

4600 Sleepytime Drive, Gunbarrel, 303-581-1266

Louisville Winner: The Huckleberry

Lyons Winner: The Stone Cup

Meander right down Sleepytime Drive, past the dozens of prairie dogs poking their heads up with a kinda-cute, kinda-creepy “Howdy-doo?” Soon you’ll arrive at the best teahouse in all of East County. The fine folks at Celestial Seasonings serve 105 different varieties of tea (OK, pause: those suffering from multiple-choice-induced anxiety, stop reading now and just go visit with someone whose opinion you trust). One hundred and five! And they claim to serve up 1.6 billion cups of tea each year to the 2.1 million visitors that tour the Celestial Seasonings factory. Open nearly every day of the year, take your own spin through the production center; it’ll give you enough time to sift through the 105 options so when you sit down in the tasting room, you know exactly what you’re getting.

Latte

OZO COFFEE COMPANY

1232-A S. Hover Road, Unit 400, Longmont, 720-600-6689

Erie Winner: Ziggi’s Coffee (also in Longmont)

Louisville Winner: Moxie Bread Co.

Here’s the thing: Life really wouldn’t be complete without the presence of lattes. Think about it, they’re everywhere. Walk any main street block in Boulder County and you’ll be called in by signs advertising this version of latte with coconut cream, or that version with nutmeg spice. Lattes are sort of like the measuring stick of a coffeehouse’s prowess. Taste a shop’s best latte and odds are you’ve tasted a pretty good representation of its skill. At Ozo Coffee Company, our readers say, you take one sip, and you know you’re at the best of the best. With options ranging from classic to matcha varieties, Ozo’s creamy concoctions not only call you in, but they keep you coming back again and again.

Sue France

Microbrewery

ODD13 BREWING

301 E. Simpson St., Lafayette, 303-997-4164

Longmont Winner: Left Hand Brewing Company

Everything in this microbrewery started with Kristin and Ryan Scott. They put their heads together one day and decided, “Aha! Our very own microbrewery with a fun and eclectic personality. Genius!” Then they called a fella named Jesse Glenn, one of Ryan’s childhood friends. They convinced him to style up some artwork for the cans and bottles, adding a real quirky touch. But he couldn’t do it all himself, so they called up Kyrie Webb, asked her to design some more fun labels, and she said yes. Then Matt Peck got on board with some photography, and Ryan’s cousin Joshua Gerics, too. Some very understanding family members filled in all the other gaps of beer production, and voila, Odd13 Brewing, our readers’ very favorite small batch brewery in East Boulder County, was born.

Place to sing a duet with a biker

McCarthy’s Pub

30 S. Main St., Longmont, 303-772-9797 

Every Friday night something beautiful occurs in Longmont. McCarthy’s Pub turns on the karaoke machine and a room full of total strangers consisting of folks from every walk of life from bikers to students to working stiffs are transformed into a tight-knit crew of lounge singers shedding tears together while belting out old hairband ballads as if their significant other just left them yesterday. So next time you find yourself bemoaning the fact that there isn’t anything new to do, just shut-up, drive on over to McCarthy’s, get a pitcher of Bud and belt out a duet with a biker. It will be the best time you’ve had in years. Or just order another round of Malbec and sit and stare at each other. Your choice.

Happy Hour

95A BISTRO & SUSHI

1381 Forest Park Circle, Lafayette, 303-665-3080

Longmont Winner: The Roost

The best happy hours have three things in common: They happen often and last long; they offer patrons a wide variety of food and beverages; and, most importantly, those food and beverage options are good. Our readers say the happy hour at 95a Bistro & Sushi checks all three boxes. Its happy hour runs all day Monday, and 3-7 p.m. throughout the rest of the week. It samples from 95a’s extensive list of 28 tapas dishes. And the food is unparalleled. What makes this restaurant unique is its ability to present international cuisine at its highest level.