It’s midnight at Brass Tacks, a new lounge inhabiting an 1860s building where tin-pressed ceilings and exposed brick walls recall the saloon heritage of Denver’s LoDo (Lower Downtown) district. Off-duty bartenders, chefs and servers tell me why they moved here from Houston, New Orleans and Manhattan: mountain sports, better jobs, a more fun standard of living. 

My mission is to mine Denver’s fresh urban scene, and these guys exuberantly unleash an avalanche of suggestions.

Beautifully designed hotels, restaurants, food/craft collectives and social lounges have been springing up on long-derelict downtown blocks. So here are some choice ways to savor Denver — and you don’t need a car. Hop the train from the airport, then buzz around on foot, bike, e-scooter and free, frequent 16th Street Mall buses.

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