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 2012: Patio Dining
Amanda's long stay atop the Mexican category was finally broken this year (congrats, Salsa Brava), but its creekside respite is still tops in town, and still best appreciated with a margarita in hand. Plus, with the recent announcement of an expansion near Chapel Hills Mall, the patio power just got a boost. Mark Austin, vice president of real estate and development for the company, says to expect a 1,500-square-foot outdoor seating area with expansive views of Pikes Peak. So when it's the Bodacious Burrito you're craving — with a breeze — you'll soon have two Amanda's outlets from which to choose. — Matthew Schniper
Amanda's is a 12-time Best Of winner in a time of transition: It was sold mid-year to a guy who owns a handful of Wendy's, and he's been talking growth. Regardless, our visit soon after the sale was full of largely satisfying southwestern dishes, and you'll never be disappointed by the creekside patio.
Best Of 2012: Place to Eat Local/Sustainable
Best Of 2012: Restaurant for Herbivores
Best Of 2012: Neighborhood Restaurant: Manitou
An institution in downtown Manitou Springs, Adam's takes multiple titles each year. There are a couple major reasons, says owner Farley McDonough: "First, we try to be as consistent as possible. ... Second, we don't waver from that which we do well." And why would they? Look at the huevos rancheros, for instance. "It seriously rocks: The green chile is great, the avocado is fresh, the beans are spiced just right, and the eggs are local," says McDonough. As for those most partial to dining on Adam's creekside patio, McDonough has more good news: "My hope for the future is that we can find a way to keep the patio open all winter," she says. — Celine Wright
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.