Best of 2011: Bar Crowd
Walk into SouthSide Johnny's just once, and you probably wouldn't understand why the place would win this new category. That's because just one visit doesn't begin to tell the story. You have to go back, at different times, to get the full idea. SouthSide Johnny's has its regulars, but it also has its lunch crowd, its happy-hour crowd, its music-loving late-night crowd, its Saturday-Sunday brunch crowd and its "weekend warrior" motorcycle crowd, and they aren't the same people — though they do get along with each other quite well. You might see downtown attorneys, young and not-so-young professionals, or fans of Colorado College hockey (even CC head coach Scott Owens, along with former Tigers still living here). Put it all together, and that's how your bar crowd beats the rest. — Ralph Routon
Best of 2013: Cultural Attraction/Museum
Best of 2013: Art Exhibition
This year, the FAC's standout show — at least according to Indy readers — was the FAC's groundbreaking Son of Pop by Floyd D. Tunson. The mammoth retrospective of the Manitou Springs artist's work garnered acclaim from both art critics and visitors. "It really has resonated far beyond this community," museum director Blake Milteer says. "That's what you want. You want an artist who has really sent ripples out into the world." The FAC also earns love for its theater and education offerings. "In each area, we did some truly amazing stuff," says president/CEO Sam Gappmayer. Bottom line, the staff works hard to carry on the vision the center's founders formulated in the 1930s: to be a resource for culture in all its variations. — Rhonda Van Pelt
Best Of 2013 • IndyPick: Art Show You Can't Shake: Mother: Photographs by Carol S. Dass
Who would have thought that following around an 85-year-old woman would end up so gripping? Mary watching the rain from her garage. Mary eating a juicy peach. Mary grocery shopping. Mother worked because it was so subtle; nothing forced nor glamorous. Funny? Yes. Somehow so very familiar? Oh yes, I could feel the cotton of Mary's housecoats or the quilt on her bed. In only 27 images, Carol Dass shared a compelling narrative of her mother's life, complete with telling specifics and well-executed mystery. There's so much more about Mary — and my mother, for that matter — than I'll ever know. — Edie Adelstein
Source: Barista Espresso and Specialty Roasting
Get the: White Zombie (white espresso, Ghirardelli white chocolate)
Under new ownership with a slightly revamped menu and later hours, the Coffee Exchange serves breakfast sandwiches and drinks like Irish coffees (thanks to its liquor license). Barista coffee products and four beers are available on tap.
Best Of 2013: Local Coffee House
Hold on to your travel mug, and cruise through your commute knowing you are making a difference. The Perk Downtown has carried ethically traded coffees for a while, but now you can go onto its Facebook page and order a pound of Purple Mountain Coffee's Traffic Jam, proceeds from which "Help Push to End Human Trafficking." Owners Don and Kay Heaberlin don't want to just bag coffee. "We want to be a part of things. People need to know that trafficking happens, and not just overseas, but right here in the U.S. and in Colorado." With the addition of their new rooftop lounge area, they hope to expand the space where people can meet and talk, as well as maybe add a spot for local wine and beer tastings.. — Bret Wright
Recently expanded, years ahead of schedule, Trinity has deservedly blown up thanks to top-notch, experimental saison production on top of great flagship beers like the seasonally changing Farmhouse. To mitigate the buzz (from the alcohol, not the community), grab lamb sliders, seitan wings or the Mak' N Bacon.
Happy hour: Monday and Thursday, 2-6 p.m.
The goods: $3 house brews, $1 off all snacks
Much of Trinity's interior was constructed from repurposed materials, including the psychedelic bar top, made from shards of beer bottle glass layered in resin. But its business model is anything but recycled: Trinity implements Slow Food (local, organic) principles in the kitchen and rewards human-powered arrival (biking, walking) with discounted beer. As for the beer, Trinity keeps it flowing from 30-plus taps, both imported craft brews and refreshing creations from head brewer and owner Jason Yester.
Head to Trinity for tapas-style dining paired with outstanding house-made craft beers and a rare assembly of obscure, low-production beers. The artful, wood-adorned outfit dishes everything from sweet potato fries and a bacon basket to yummy beer-cheese soup, decadent salads and sandwiches and stuffers. Get an ice cream stout float for dessert.