Early in 2017 I planned a long weekend in Denver during late August to take a break from the Phoenix summer heat. Apparently we took the heat with us. It was the high 80s on Thursday, mid 90s on Friday and Saturday and high 80s again on Sunday.
After an uneventful flight on SWA, we took the light rail to the Amtrak Union Station in LoDo, and walked ½ a block to the 16th St. Mall free bus that dropped us off a ½ block from the Downtown Renaissance, which I had booked on points. We had no problem checking in at 11:30AM and were given an upgraded room. (When I checked in with the Marriott app I could not check in before 3:30PM and I could not check out after 11:30AM, even though normal checkout is noon. I was able to get a 4:30 PM checkout at the front desk.) Our room was single room but had a sitting area with couch and TV and then the king bed with a TV. Both TVs were on the same wall about 5 feet apart. I am not sure how that would work, and did not have to find out since my wife and I agree on TV selections. The Renn is repurposed in the beautifully restored Colorado National Bank building from the early 1900s. Our room had an 8 foot ceiling, but the windows/drapes were probably 16 feet tall. The CL lounge is on the second level looking down on the lobby/bar and offers a typical free breakfast every day. Afternoon snacks are typical for a Marriott CL. Wine a beer are extra.
After getting settled in we took the Mall bus back to LoDo looking for lunch. We ended up at Wynkoop Brewery and really enjoyed the Cuban sandwich with pork belly and a chili flavored beer. I try not to repeat restaurants on these trips, but I thought about doing the pork belly Cuban several times. After lunch we jumped on the light rail and got off near an industrial area just SW of downtown to visit the Rising Sun Distillery. (Our airport light rail ticket was a day pass and included busses.)This is a fairly new distillery so they only have vodka and gin. After the tour Denise and I split a flight of six 1 oz vodkas and gins and chatted with the very friendly bar tender. Since any whiskey distilleries were going to be 2 – 3 time farther out, I asked the bar tender which whiskey distillery she would recommend. Her definite first choice was Laws Whiskey House.
Saturday morning we went to a farmers market at Union Station which was much smaller than I expected. We did purchase a local peach that was in season and very tasty. After that we took the light rail south to the Washington Park neighborhood heading for Laws Whiskey House. As we were walking through the neighborhood we came across Duffyrolls, a local cinnamon roll house. The cinnamon rolls looked and smelled great and each one had a “bellybutton of cinnamon and butter”. At that point we walked past Duffyrolls while noticing signs for a Sunday farmers market on South Pearl St., just a few blocks away. At the corner of Louisiana and Broadway we found Maria Empanada. I have not had empanadas before but they looked pretty good so we decided to have a spinach empanada and a ham and cheese empanada for lunch. Very tasty! Maria Empanada also serves coffee and espresso. They have a huge domed espresso machine that is #25 of 100 that was blessed by the Pope. Go figure. About 8 blocks further we came to Laws Whiskey House. Unfortunately, they were setting up for a wedding and were closed for the day.
Since we had a 4:30 PM checkout on Sunday we took the light rail back towards Laws Whiskey Sunday. We stopped at Duffyrolls to get a cinnamon roll and realized that they had sold out of many of their rolls. We got the last “regular” and it was very good. After Duffyrolls we went down to the South Pearl farmers market which was a very good farmers market. From there we walked to Maria Empanadas and got a corn empanada and an Argentine (steak) empanada. Again, very tasty. We were at Laws when they opened at 2 PM and we each had a flight of three ½ oz whiskeys. They have an amazing selection of whiskeys and bourbons and you get to select what you taste. Being a small batch distiller they only sell locally or at their distillery. I learned the hard way on a previous trip not to put booze in airline baggage. If you are whiskey/bourbon fans I would recommend Laws.
We walked back to the light rail and returned to the Renn and checked out just after 4 PM to take the light rail to DIA. We arrived about 5:30 PM with an 8:30 PM depart. Rather than spend 3 hours in the terminal we stopped in the lobby of the Westin and read the WSJ from the Renn and our books. Much quieter than the airline terminal. Since we had PSA Precheck we left the Westin about 7:30 P and flew back to Phoenix.