The Mariner hosts a variety of musical acts, but the every-other-Sunday acid jazz jam remains the must-hear attraction. Led by Kim Stone — the former Spyro Gyra and the Rippingtons bassist whose current band, A New Brain for Arnie, released an impressive debut album last November — the improvisational musicianship can get positively transcendent.
Happy hour: Monday-Friday, 5-7 p.m.
The goods: 50 cents off all drinks
Best value: "Our microbrews."
IndyPick • Best Of 2010: Place for Unexpected Fun
Which country has an entire collection of coins dedicated to the adventures of Harry Potter? What does a nickel worth $4 million dollars look like? You can find out these answers and more at the American Numismatic Association's Money Museum. "We're the Springs' best-kept secret," says curator Douglas Mudd. "We're also the only money museum in the U.S." Kids can dig into a treasure chest to pick out the perfect coin to take home. Collectors can admire the only complete set of $3 gold pieces in the world. Interactive screens make it easy for anyone who wanders in to look up information on each piece. "Money gives a different perspective on history that most people don't know about," says Mudd. And money isn't all there is: You can check out Oliver Cromwell's death mask in an exhibit called "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," while "Money of the Civil War" comes with a cannon. — Leah Barker
Best Of 2014: Patio Dining
Best Of 2014: Mexican
Whether you choose the North Academy location or the original west side restaurant, the food at Amanda's Fonda is delicious. The mole sauce on the chicken mole enchiladas is rich and complex. The fish tacos are some of the best in town. And never mind the meat or shrimp — show me another fajitas plate with onions that tasty. But all else being equal, it's worth favoring the West Colorado Avenue location because it's got your favorite porch dining in town. Though a few sandbags might remind an idle eye of the wild nature of the creek, it's hard to stay worried while drinking a giant margarita, staring at the greenery, and listening to the burbling water. — Griffin Swartzell
Best Of 2014: Restaurant for Herbivores
Best Of 2014: Neighborhood Restaurant: Manitou
How does that old slogan go? "New look, same great taste"? That seems to be the tenet that Adam's Mountain Café has followed since relocating from its flood-prone location in downtown Manitou to a drier, safer one in May. Farley McDonough and Co. have completely overhauled the old Manitou Pancake and Steak House, but kept intact Adam's list of great dishes — from Orange Almond French Toast in the morning to Spicy Malibari Curry at night. Seventy percent of those dishes are vegetarian, and in all, says hostess Valentina Kai, 95 percent of the menu can be made vegetarian-friendly with a little tweaking. Also worth noting: Though it's not quite walking distance from other downtown attractions anymore, the new Adam's offers ample parking. That's a neighborhood-pleaser. — Miguel Bustamante
Bites 2013: Christmas Mountain Falls
Yeah, the menu says Green or Red Mountain Falls, but locals know you can mix them to dramatic effect. Onto a bed of toasted polenta (yup — 'dem ITALian corn grits) capped in cheddar cheese come the vegetarian chilies garnished with scallions and tomatoes and cooled slightly by a dollop of sour cream. Get the added eggs your style (over medium, perhaps?) because the yolk adds another pleasing dimension. There you have it: Christmas year-round. ($7/$10.25 with two eggs).Click here for Adam's Mountain Cafe's Indian Braised Romanesco Recipe!
Best Of 2010: Bar for a Martini
Best Of 2010: Bar for a Fancy-Pants Cocktail
Best Of 2010: Upscale Bar
At the beginning of August, the blue porch light at 15C went dark, the result of an early-morning fire in the building that displaced the martini and cigar bar's customers and staff. Regardless, Springs drinkers and smokers know what they like — this is 15C's eighth win for Upscale (or Classy) Bar and ninth win for Bar for a Martini. And as martinis can be a little "fancy-pants," it's really no surprise 15C grabbed that first-year award, too. From the ashes: "I'm definitely reopening — there's no question of that," says owner Alan Pak, though he doesn't have a timeline yet. —Kirsten Akens
You can drink, you can smoke, and you can stare across a candle-lit table at your loved one. Or you can just drink and smoke. A multiple readers' poll winner in the Bar for a Martini and Upscale Bar categories (its seventh straight year in the latter), 15C is a den of hidden delights located down a back alley with a purple light next to an indistinguishable door. In addition to the cigar menu, martinis rule here, from the classic James Bond affectation to such trendy concoctions as the Sugar Daddy, French Kiss and Velvet Hammer.