Planning A Vacay? Here Are 10 Reasons Why Denver Is Your Spot

It’s habit to instantly think of New York or Los Angeles when something cool happens. The coasts tend to hoard the credit for all things buzzworthy, after all. Therefore, it may come as a pleasant surprise to you when you discover that the artistic community in Denver holds some of the most promising artists of 2013. From tie-makers and illustrators to coffee maestros and brewmasters, the Mile High City has been secretly hiding the best artisans in the country.
Sure, it’s undeniable that Denver may face fashion challenges that others do not — particularly, snowy winters — but under those oversized ski jackets, love for the mountains, and obsession for the Broncos, Denver is harboring some seriously cool talent.
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The Populist — Recently awarded by The Westword with Denver’s “Best New Wine List” and as reader’s choice “Best New Restaurant,” The Populist was well worth Denver’s anxious wait. Opened and run by chefs Jonathan Power and Noah Price (the brilliant twosome who opened Crema Coffee a few blocks down the street), The Populist hosts an impressively stocked bar of hard-to-find bottles, pairing perfectly with the uncommon but artfully crafted menu at this beautifully built restaurant.

The Populist, 3163 Larimer Street (on 32nd Street); 720-432-3163.

Photographed by Luca Venter
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The Humble Pie Store — Tucked in to a historic block of the Baker neighborhood, The Humble Pie Store is a quaint and friendly shop that offers a variety of delicious and organic treats, from sweet pies to savory pot pies and meat and veggie breakfast quiches. Expertly paired to deliver a full-on local experience, Denver’s own Teatulia tea, Huckleberry Roasters coffee, and Sweet Action ice cream can also be found at The Humble Pie Store.

The Humble Pie Store, 300 Elati Street (near West 3rd Avenue); 720-479-8690.

Photographed by Luca Venter
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Our Mutual Friend — With the Five Points neighborhood being the up-and-coming area in town, Our Mutual Friend Malt and Brew fit right in to the block of start-ups. The nano-brewery and taproom boasts community vibes as they encourage patrons to bring in their vinyls to spin, as well as hosting a donation-based yoga class on Mondays. OMF continuously sets themselves apart from the rest as they team up with Denver all-stars like Ritual Chocolate and Huckleberry Roasters to create simple, delicious-tasting, sessionable ales using house-roasted malt grown in Colorado.

Our Mutual Friend, 2810 Larimer Street (near 28th Street); 720-722-2810.

Photographed by Luca Venter
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Huckleberry Roasters — Huckleberry Roasters’ humble beginnings started only two short years ago. From roasting its coffee in a backyard garage to having its own humble-sized space in a warehouse shared with screen printers, graphic designers, and moped enthusiasts, its story is a classic tale of passionate business owners determined to reach their goals. With a love for good coffee, Huckleberry has big things in the works for 2013. It plans to open not one but two of its very own cafés in the historic Sunnyside and Five Points, and are currently available at The Humble Pie Store, Crema Coffee, and Denver Bike Cafe.

Huckleberry Roasters at Sunnyside, 4301 Pecos Street (near West 43rd Avenue); at Five Points, corner of 25th Street and Larimer Street; 720-381-2504.

Photographed by Luca Venter
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Mountain versus Plains — Ironic and comedic artist Paul Michel of Mountain versus Plains creatively and cleverly puts together pieces that have his audience applauding his impressive use of paronomasia. Michel’s work incorporates pop culture, sports, and even historic references, which certainly captures his eclectic audiences’ hearts, and well, laughs, too. Find pieces from Mountain versus Plains available on its site.

Photographed by Luca Venter
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The Sneerwell — Directed toward individuals who are disenchanted with the modern and long for the antiquated beauty of functional artwork displayed in classically nostalgic craftsmanship, The Sneerwell’s debut is the 6 oz. hip flask. Owner Josh Harvey provides meticulously antiqued and worn products completed with etched artwork influenced by early Americana and Nautical folklore. The Sneerwell goods are available on its site.

Photographed by Luca Venter
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Princess Music — Recently opening for M. Ward, as well as some of Denver’s most prominent bands, such as The Lumineers and The Centennial, it’s Princess Music and its orchestral pop that you'll want to look out for. Made up of five brilliant and classically trained musicians combined with front man Tyler Ludwick’s whimsy vocals and intricate string arrangements, this band will surely delight your inner-pop-loving soul. Give it a listen now on Soundcloud.

Photographed by Luca Venter
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South of France — Giving us catchy retro guitar riffs, poppy clap-along beats, and lo-fi vocals, South of France is a buzz band just waiting to hit this summer’s festival stages. Fans of female vocalists like Cults and Denver’s own Tennis will especially love this boy-girl duo’s once-bedroom-recorded project, which has quickly turned into packed local shows and support for impressive headlining acts. Get a taste for its tunes here.

Photo: Courtesy of South of France
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Primary — Primary is a soon-to-launch custom neckwear company that focuses on the minimalistic elements of fashion. Born and raised in Colorado, owner and creator, Shawn Reagan, spent his childhood summers in Connecticut, which has helped shape his vision of all-American style. Adding a modern twist to the classic look, Reagan’s designs stay simplistic. Primary delivers well-crafted, tasteful, and timeless products that cater toward the fashion-forward folk.

Photographed by Luca Venter
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Strange Ritual — Strange Ritual’s Lara Nickel is a self-taught jeweler whose trendy works pull inspiration from geometry, as well as Native American and architectural aesthetics. Handmade by Nickel from copper and brass-based metals, Strange Ritual is designed through techniques of hand sawing, soldering, photo etching, and stone. Plus, her use of repetitive shapes have helped develop her brand's beautiful signature look. Check out her Etsy shop for more products, or visit the Strange Ritual site to see where you can pick them up locally.

Photo: Courtesy of Strange Ritual