Top restaurants and bars in Pac-12: Colorado

We're going to add Utah and Colorado to the Pac-12, so we've also got to add them to our posts asking readers for their favorite restaurants and bars near their home teams.

While in Boulder last week I ate dinner at Jax Fish House and had lunch at The Kitchen. If you had done that too, you would be excited about playing at Colorado next fall. A planned trip to "The Sink" got waylaid by, well, the work part of my job.

We'll do Colorado today and Utah tomorrow.

Here's one of the better notes:

Ted from Boulder writes: Ted, you are in for a treat by getting CU added to the Pac-12 (or the 12-Pac, as we're fond of calling it). My wife and I have been here for 13 years (after 8 in Tempe and 8 at Stanford), and we're here to stay! The list of great restaurants and hang-outs is too long to list, so I would suggest multiple visits. A few quick suggestions: anything on the west end of Pearl St Mall (the downtown walking mall), such as "The West End" (bar/pub), "Salt" or "The Kitchen" (higher-end), "Jax Fish House" (oysters/seafood), "Sushi Tora" or "Hapa" (sushi). The ultimate in high end is "Frasca" (on the east side of the mall) or "Flagstaff House" (with a 5-star wine list and on the mountain above downtown). And you should try to hit the Hill (near campus) for a burger at "The Sink" or a NY-style slice at "Abo's". I am the Boulder rep for the Stanford Alumni Association, so we'll be setting up most of the tailgates, etc. when the team comes to town in 2012.

And another:

Matt from Boulder writes: High-End: Frasca or Brasserie Ten-Ten. Best Sushi: Sushi Zanmai. Best Burger: Mountain Sun. Best Beer Selection: Backcountry Pizza (50+ taps) or Mountain Sun. Best Before/After Game: Harpo's or Lazy Dog. Best Sports Bar: Lazy Dog. Best Under-30: Sundown Saloon, Walrus, Catacombs, Shooters. Best Over-30: Pearl Street Pub, Tahona Tequila Bistro, Centro, West End Tavern. Best Wings: West End Tavern. Best Drunk Food: Pearl Street Pub. Best Cart Food: Gyro Stand by Old Chicago. Best "Seedy" Place: Dark Horse (Cheap/Good Food and Drinks). Wildest Menu: Centro. Best Local Music Bar: Conor O'Neil's. On The Hill: Sandwich - Snarf's or Cheba Hut, Pizza - Cosmo's or Abo's. Place you NEED to go: The Sink (Try a Grateful Dead and thank me later).

Note: These are reader submissions. I didn't put any restaurant on this list that didn't receive multiple votes from reader mail.



Flagstaff House

Chad from Denver writes: Located up in the mountains overlooking all of boulder and the Colorado frontrange its a beautiful sight. If you opt for this make a reservation after dark and be prepared to spend some moola.

Red Lion Inn

Rio Grande

Gabe from New York writes: Rio Grand has strong margaritas and big happy hour (use to have 3 Marg limit) - totally Mexican food central.

Boulder Creek Market

Andrew from Diboll, Texas writes: I spent 3.5 years as a student in Boulder. The two things I must eat when I go back are the wild boar sandwich at the Boulder Creek Market and a Big Fish burrito from Illegal Petes. Two of the best dishes I have ever eaten outside the state of Texas.

Snarf's Sandwich Shop

Keith from Tempe, Ariz., writes: Best sandwich you'll find anywhere.


The Buff

The Mountain Sun Brewery

Chris from Denver writes: The best nachos I have ever eaten and they make some seriously incredible beer.

Ryan from Denver writes: Epitomizes the Boulder vibe. Amazing well-priced, healthy pub food. They brew all of their own beers from scratch. Exceptional, attentive, friendly service. And you seat yourself at wood-carved tables with board games to keep you busy while you salivate over your pending feast and take in the energy of such a unique community. I implore you to check it out!

Mahalo from Honolulu writes: They have the best beer on the planet (and are always coming up with new stuff,) the food is all natural, fresh, delicious, and super reasonably priced. It's quintessential Boulder, from the loud music (classic rock/jam band/indie/soul/etc) to the concert poster-art to the beautiful chalk art to the quirky-yet-hard-working staff. It's always busy, for good reason...On your first visit, have a Colorado Kind Ale. If you like hops, the FYIPA is unbelievable. The food is all great, but I can never help but order the Junk Burger every visit. Cheers!

The Village Coffee Shop

Kane from San Diego writes: As an ex Buffs player - if I had to eat anywhere in Boulder - it would be The Village Coffee Shop.... world's greatest breakfast. Do not miss it!!! Take it from an ex Offensive Lineman!

Half-Fast Subs

The Med

Il Pastaio

Scott from New York writes: The BEST food place/hide in boulder is Il Pastaio on Baseline and 30th. It is a very cheap, high quality Italian restaurant. It is so cheap because they make a lot of their money by making fresh pasta and selling it to the high end restaurants in town. You have to get their Cream of _____ (it changes) soup. Always amazing!

Sushi Zanmai


China Gourmet

Old Chicago's

Gabe from New York writes: Old Chicago's is the chain, but they have hundreds of beers and will track the ones you've had for you in their database. When you hit milestones you can get your name on a plaque.

Walnut Brewery


Ras Kassas

Thomas from Kailua, Hawaii writes: Feeling exotic? Try Ras Kassas for gourmet Ethiopian food. It's an experience you won't forget.Aloha

Sushi Tora

Brasserie Ten-Ten

Hapa (sushi)


Matt from Denver writes: Likely the best restaurant in Colorado.

West End Tavern

Cole from Boulder writes: The West End Tavern has the best damn wings you are going to find in the state of Colorado (and a great Bourbon selection).

Abo's on the Hill

Zolo's Southwest Mexican Grill

Illegal Pete's

Derek from Scottsdale writes: For a quick bite you have to have a burrito (or fish tacos) at Illegal Pete's. The one on Pearl Street has a great bar, but the one on "the hill" is the original.



Chris from Denver writes: Great for a pregame breakfast if you can get in.


The Sink (under 30)

Mark from Boulder writes: You haven't seen Boulder until you have been to The Sink. Great place with killer burgers, pizza and beer selection. It has the real college vibe. No other like it.

Chris from Denver writes: A Boulder institution.

Steve from Littleton, Colo., writes: the Sink in Boulder is my choice, anytime of day. Great pizza, fantastic burgers, and drink specials all week. It's a Boulder institution, a single location that's been there since the 1920s (plus Robert Redford used to be a janitor there!). I miss going there the morning of CU games and seeing an age range from 21-year-old newbies to 60-year-old alumni downing a few beers before kickoff.


Conor O'Neils

Harpo's (over 30)

Cole from Boulder writes: A sports bar with a gazillion tvs, solid beer/liquor selection, and a good location away from the hustle and bustle of Pearl St. and the Hill.

Lazy Dog

Walrus (under 30)

Sundown Saloon (under 30)

Shooters (under 30)

Pearl Street Pub

Tahona Tequila Bistro

Centro (over 30)



Round Midnight (under 30)

Comments: Boulder has long been one of the best college football destinations in the country, in large part because of the community around the university. Want choosing a restaurant or bar to be easy? Go to the Pearl Street Mall and wander. You can every type of food imaginable, from high end to pizza and sandwiches. But, obviously, if you are willing to venture forth, there are plenty of rewards that are a short drive away. The Sink is the "institution" destination. Just about every other person who wrote made note of it. More than a few folks believe Frasca is a restaurant that would stand out in any major city in the country. It's clear, however, that Boulder will offer many, many options for many, many road trips in the future.