Father’s Day, Fit for Every Coloradan
Enjoy a curated listicle of activities that kick off for Father’s Day this weekend, and on into the summer, from Denver to Buena Vista.
Father’s Day is this weekend — and if you’re like many locals who have been eager to step out from the confines of indoor life lately — there’s just something special about this year’s holidays.
If you’re honoring the special pops in your life, perhaps any array of son, friend, or significant other, or if you’re just someone who wants to get in on some really great beer, bacon, farmed-food, or barbecue specials — then this, is for all of you.
Below are 12 top-picks for Father’s Day specials, starting today and this weekend in June, and on into July and the summer. Picks will take you from jazzy supper clubs in Denver to outdoor adventures across the Front Range. And just for fun, are curated event-categories fit for every personality in the dad-family: from “Sportsmen” and “Dinner Conversationalists” to “Adventurists” — starting with a special “Editor’s Pick,” below.
So, cheers — to adventures-await, good food and libations, and new memories:
Growing up, my dad would pack me in the old, GMC truck — after methodically preparing coolers filled with snacks and camping gear complete with cast-iron skillets for bacon grease-cooked eggs for the morning — then head down 285 to Buena Vista for river rafting on the Arkansas River.
Arguably one of the best areas for rafting, with peak flows particularly in June, the Arkansas River Outfitters Association is great place to start to line up guided tours, including anything from flyfishing to kayaking.
After splashing around on the river all weekend, my dad and I would ritually stop by the historic K’s Dairy Delite (or in my kid-memory, an A&W Root Beer stand), and treat ourselves to Root Beer floats and sit in the nearby park before heading back to the city.
So, this reminds of Slater’s 50/50 Denver. An elevated burger bar in RiNo that’s offering burger, bacon, and beer specials all month — including a special Orange Creamsicle Milkshake — a vanilla soft serve and orange sherbet flavored milkshake topped with orange slices, whipped cream, and an Orange Creamsicle Popsicle. (My dad would love it.)
Without a doubt, dads and all diehard sports fans of Colorado have been gearing up in excitement all week with the Avs in the finals. These hop-start joints are just blocks away from Ball Arena, ready for your visit be it pre-, during, or post-game.
Head to Rhein Haus in Larimer Square to watch the game on giant screens and grub on pretzels, Breck Brews, and whiskey shots for $5, and more. Around the corner, Jovanina’s Broken Italian hits the spot with housemade meatballs and other Italian authenticities, including wine flights for $24 and more. On Blake, Fuel & Iron Bar is a new Pueblo-inspired hot-spot offering $2-off drinks, and snacks from $3-$8, during happy hour from 3-6pm (think, pre-game).
Rhein Haus, above, is not just for game day. It’s a choice place for the beer enthusiast in the family. Now, with nearly 200 breweries across Colorado and always growing, one needn’t tell you there’s plenty of craft beer options. But on June 22, Rhein Haus will offer specials slated for “National Radler Day.” Radler beer is generally when lager meets lemon or grapefruit, and on the 22nd all day, you’ll find happy hour pricing on Stiegl-Radler Grapefruit: $5 half-liters and $10 liters.
In another BBQ approach, cruise just an hour away from Denver to Frisco — which has been known to be called, the “main street of the Rockies.” The bustling town will be hosting a BBQ Challenge Thursday and Friday, including a Bacon Burner 6k, with free concerts, and plenty of bacon and ‘cue. Stick around all weekend for water and mountain-“beach” life at Lake Dillon.
“The Early Riser”
Brunches aren’t just for the ladies, dads enjoy a hearty breakfast too — especially those early risers, ready to go, just after the morning paper. Dish at Snooze Eatery for plates like Habanero Pork Belly Benedicts and Bacon Flights with Bloody Marys and more, at locations throughout Denver Metro.
If you’re staying in the ‘burbs, the Hilton Denver Inverness is hosting a “Bourbon, Bacon, and Brisket” brunch from 9am-1pm for $64.95 on The Garden Terrace — with a PGA-golf course and great stays on property, too.
There are early risers … and then, my dad would always say, “the early worm gets eaten by the bird.”
If you’re stepping out in the afternoon with the fellas, try Postino for a summer happy hour day or patio visit time. With a variety of locations throughout Denver, the wine cafe just added more to their “snack” menus — such as shrimp scampi and a pretzel-accompanied sausage and cheese board, with plenty of the renowned glass and bottled wine options.
“The Dinner Conversationalist”
Jovanina’s was mentioned for hockey week, but the restaurant’s true claim to fame are their intimate dinners. This open-kitchen, Italian eatery has been known to host Sunday Suppers, elevated dinners on the via sopra 2nd-floor dining space, and wine-cellar dinners in the sotto voce speakeasy down below. And this week launched the Chef’s Tasting Menu, a four-course dining experience at the chef’s table.
To note: do ask about the history behind the chef’s table, and the entire space for that matter. (And by the way, did your dad keep around wicker-basket, Chianti-wine bottles draped in candle wax? Yeah, mine too. You’ll spot similar trinkets at Jovanina’s.)
There’s always a connoisseur among the bunch. RiNo’s Noble Riot is a quaint and impressive wine bar, offering house-curated vino and treats. Uniquely, if the dad-caravan wants to take the party to the park, you can get picnic-style treats to-go — from fried chicken and charcuterie to wine packs. On the 23rd, find Pinot specials during “wine school.”
And, LoDo’s Poka Lola Social Club will be featuring $6 Old Fashioned specials on Sunday — encouraging dads to bring in their “father of the year” mugs for festive sipping.
If your pops is anything like my dad, Sundays were for relaxing to tempos on 89.3 KUVO. Step it up a notch for the music enthusiast in the family, at RiNo’s Nocturne. On Sunday, the Jazz Supper Club is hosting a “Dinner and Show,” with live music and a three-course dinner. In particular, the Big Swing Trio will perform two performances, at 6:30pm and 8:30pm.
The family may be hitting the foothills for some good ol’ fishing. To recreate the experience, tastebud-wise, find the Water Grill in Downtown Denver at Market Street Station — a unique seafood eatery, new to 2022. This weekend will feature classic surf-and-turf dishes and wagyu specials — including just arrived, Wild Copper River King Salmon to the menu.
Since 2017, Urban Farmer in Denver, nestled inside the historic Oxford Hotel, as been the prime location for urban farm-to-table — and not just in vegetables. The modern steakhouse will feature at least seven varieties of responsibly-sourced steak specials from Prime to Porterhouse for the holiday.
Extending the holiday into next month? Consider the live-fire, open-air culinary experience that is, “Cochon555’s Heritage Fire.” This returning, annual event is a nationwide food and wine tour celebrating heritage breed livestock and heirloom produce. The event will take place on July 30 in Snowmass Village (more on Snowmass, below) — complete with star-chefs, whole-animal cookery, global inspirations, and meats from lamb and goat to duck and heaps more. Tickets are now available.
Last but not least, if you’re like any birthday-enthusiast or holiday-lover, you already subscribe to celebrations lasting well beyond the namesake day. A toast to our fathers, is no different. Escape for a much-needed road trip (don’t forget the classic rock playlist) out of town to Snowmass Village — where there is no end to activity options.
Snowmass offers: hiking, biking, in or outdoor rock climbing; and at the Village base, everything from comedy series to art shows; exceptional lodging at Limelight Hotel, Viewline Resort, and Wildwood; and The Lost Forest Adventure Center includes zip lining, rope challenges, alpine slides, gondola rides, packages and tours, for all ages.