Food & Drink

The 18 Best Denver Restaurants for Big Groups, Sorted by 'Hood

Published On 07/20/2016 Published On 07/20/2016
Punch Bowl Social
Courtesy of Punch Bowl Social
Courtesy of Cohills

LoDo

Coohills

Address and Info

For one thing, it comes with owner Diane Coohill, a Denver event planner extraordinaire. Let her take care of the details at this spot, which has hosted as many as 600 people. You don't need to have hundreds in your group, though. It also offers tons of other options for groups of all sizes, including prix-fixe menus, buffets, a private dining room, and a hard-to-beat chef's table experience.
How to reserve: events@coohills.com or 303.623.5700

Rhein Haus

Address and Info

This more-than-14,000sqft restaurant typically has the space to accommodate your group even if it's a last-minute outing. You can also just rent out the whole thing with no room fee -- only food and beverage minimums. Bocce courts are reservable, too.
How to reserve: Book online for groups of all sizes.

Courtesy of Beatrice & Woodlsey

Speer

Beatrice & Woodsley

Address and Info

While the main part of the restaurant can only fit groups of up to eight, it's the wine cellar below that's the real draw for special occasions. Exposed brick, flora and fauna everywhere… and good food. That’s there, too.
How to reserve: Parties of eight to 15 can book the cellar online or by calling the restaurant at 303.777.3505.

Leña

Address and Info

Parties of up to 10 are usually no problem during regular service. For larger groups, you can rent out the private dining room (fits up to 20), or buy out the mezzanine level (fits 46 for a sit-down dinner).
How to reserve: info@lenadenver.com or 720.550.7267.

Odyssey

Address and Info

This family-owned Italian restaurant is the epitome of old-school hospitality. On its menu you’ll find pasta, seafood, Sicilian specialities, and of course, table-side flambé. Request one of the tables upstairs for a more private experience.
How to reserve: Groups up to 12 can book online; for larger parties or special requests, call 303.318.0102.

Carmine's on Penn

Address and Info

Another Italian classic, food here is served family-style -- and has been since 1994 -- so come ready to share.
How to reserve: Book online for groups up to eight, or call 303.777.6443.

Courtesy of Punch Bowl Social

Baker

Punch Bowl Social

Address and Info

Bowling, darts, shuffleboard, ping pong, arcade games… there's a lot to keep your group entertained here, and they're seasoned pros at events of all sizes.
How to reserve: Book online (groups up to 10) or call 303.765.2695.

Chad Chisholm

Central Business District

Panzano

Address and Info

Yes, it's in a hotel; no, this is not your standard hotel fare. There are nine different spaces available for private dining and events, so you're sure to find an option that's right for your group.
How to reserve: There is a form for large-event requests, and groups up to 19 to can book online or call 303.296.3525.

The Nickel

Address and Info

Another hotel eatery, The Nickel's carefully crafted cuisine (and amazing charcuterie program) make it ideal for any night out. But it also has impeccable areas available for big groups -- including the wine cellar.
How to reserve: For private event requests, fill out this form. Groups up to 20 to can book online or call 720-889-2128.

Guard and Grace

Address and Info

Impeccably designed, this modern steakhouse is a crowd-pleaser (and yes, it has vegetarian options too). Its three private rooms can be reserved separately, or combined for large events, and there's only a food and beverage minimum, no rental fee.
How to reserve: 303.293.8500 or email jeorgette@tag-restaurant.com for private events.

Range

Address and Info

You can make your get together at Range, which is located in the restored Colorado National Bank building, a memorable experience by dining in one of three bank vaults. The food is American Western, so expect a lot of lamb… and pork.
How to reserve: info@rangedowntown.com or 720.726.4800

Adam Larkey Photography

Highland

Root Down

Address and Info

This longtime favorite for mimosa-fueled brunches and fresh, locally sourced cuisine also has a private dining room that fits up to 22. The bar and lounge can also be reserved for bigger events.
How to reserve: Groups up to 14 can book online. For larger groups and private events, use this form.

Highland Tap & Burger

Address and Info

There's tons of space (its two private rooms can fit up to 100 people in each), TVs everywhere for big games, and who doesn't love burgers and beer? Serious question.
How to reserve: 720.287.4493, or use this form for private events.

Courtesy of Ace

North Capitol Hill

Ace

Address and Info

Two words: ping pong. It's always included when you buy out a part of the restaurant for a group (or the entire space). Ace can accommodate anywhere from 20-500 people for events, and up to 22 for regular service. For food, you’ll find Korean BBQ ribs, bao buns, and dim sum.
How to reserve: Book online, or use this form for events.

Adam Larkey Photography

Jefferson Park

Sarto's

Address and Info

Its clean, fresh design is inviting, and the space is designed to handle events from 14 to 200 people with several options, including the pantry area (which includes a private outdoor space). It also specializes in Piedmontese pastas, and if you don’t know what that is, definitely go and find out.
How to reserve: Groups up to 11 can book online; for larger groups, call 303.455.1400 or email info@sartos.com.  

Courtesy of Charcoal

Civic Center

Charcoal

Address and Info

This place specializes in contemporary European cuisine, and the space is large and easily reconfigured for large groups during regular service. It has a private dining room, as well as a full restaurant buy-out option.
How to reserve: 303.454.0000

Courtesy of Acorn

RiNo

Acorn

Address and Info

Acorn's private dining loft, know as the Bird's Nest, hovers above the rest of this bustling eatery, and can fit up to 40. Also, the cocktails have been recognized as some of the best in the nation, so come thirsty.
How to reserve: Groups of up to 13 can book online for regular service in the main dining area. For larger groups, events, and to book the Bird's Nest, call 720.542.3721 or email events@denveracorn.com.

Courtesy of Luca

Capitol Hill

Luca

Address and Info

For classic Italian fare, Luca is hard to beat. It's perfect for impressing when planning a classy get-together, and it also has a spacious private dining room and full restaurant buy-out options for those bigger shindigs.
How to reserve: Groups up to 10 can book online for regular service (for larger groups, call 303.832.6600). Use this form for private events.

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1. Coohill's Restaurant 1400 Wewatta St, Denver, CO 80202 (Lodo)

At this sleek, floor-to-ceiling windowed restaurant, James Beard Award-winning chef Tom Coohill serves up French-inspired, contemporary American fare via seasonal small plates like duck and foie gras pate with zucchini, sorrel, mushroom, and dried apricot. Coohill did his culinary training at Michelin-starred restaurants in France, and he combines his master expertise with locally-sourced Denver ingredients. The expansive restaurant features 280 seats and includes a chef's counter with a special tasting menu.

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2. Rhein Haus Denver 1415 Market St, Denver, CO 80202 (University)

This massive 14,000sqft German-style beer hall traffics in the three Bs: brats, bocce, and brews. The expansive all-in-one location is decked out with elaborate chandeliers, majestic wooden staircases, and bocce courts on both levels -- an apt setting for enjoying house-made sausages and sour, Belgian-style, and dark beers. Rein Haus is a popular option for large groups and it gets crowded on the weekends, but the attentive staff keeps the mood jovial.

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3. Beatrice & Woodsley 38 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80209 (South Broadway)

Beatrice & Woodsley is primed for date night with a romantic ambience and shareable bites like ricotta gnocchi and sour, curry-poached octopus. Not all entrees here are dainty though -- there are plenty of meat-centric dishes like braised goat with homemade barbecue sauce and pork chop with potatoes, kale, and escargot. The seating situation, consisting of narrow tabletops and cozy booths in the main dining room, encourages intimate conversation, so you may want to rethink taking a colleague here for dinner.

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4. Leña 24 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203 (Speer)

Housed in a former furniture store, Leña serves dishes that seamlessly weave together the flavors of Latin America. Expect dishes in forms you already know but with an extra level of innovation: empanadas with green plantain dough and poblano, goat tacos, and chicken chilaquiles. While Leña isn't a tapas bar per se, small plates are the go-to order, and most groups (at least the ones who know what they're doing) end their meal with a shared plate of gooey chocolate pelotas fritas made with yucca flour and served with a glass of horchata.

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5. Odyssey Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar 603 E 6th Ave, Denver, CO 80203

Formerly an Asian bistro and sushi restaurant, the repurposed Odyssey serves up Italian fare to a neighborhood crowd. The menu is filled with classic Italian dishes like melon and prosciutto, homemade gnocchi, and shrimp scampi, but the real standout is the extensive list of Sicilian chicken and veal specialities that'll appease even the most diehard spaghetti and red sauce fans. Live music is featured a few nights a week, and there's an outdoor patio for those cool summer nights.

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6. Carmine's on Penn 92 S Pennsylvania St, Denver, CO 80209 (Southwest)

This neighborhood Italian has been drawing crowds for its legendary garlic-and-salt rolls and larger-than-life portions since 1994. Carmine's pasta dishes, like seafood marinara and four-cheese ziti, are not for the faint of heart, and they're so good -- and big enough -- that you'll be more than happy to take home leftovers. There's nothing sexy about the butcher paper-covered tables, but then again, there's nothing sexy about large family gatherings and loud reunions, which are the kinds of crowds you'll be seeing here.

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7. Punch Bowl Social 65 Broadway, Denver, CO 80209 (Baker)

It might advertise itself as a restaurant and bar, but Punch Bowl Social is first and foremost a game hall. The 24,000sqft space features skeeball, shuffleboard, bowling, and a handful of arcade games. Though the whole set-up is kiddish in nature, retro decor gives it a cool, mature boost and polished bites like truffle kettle chips and cauliflower nachos elevate the experience to a tasteful level, making it worthy of the reservations you'll likely have to make.

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8. Panzano 909 17th St, Denver, CO 80202 (Cbd)

Lauded as one of Denver's best Italian destinations, Panzano prepares artful plates of Northern Italian food inside Hotel Monaco. Its menu is a welcome break from the modern American fare that many hotel restaurants stray towards, featuring unique dishes like house-made pasta with lamb ragĂş and gluten-free options (a rarity at any carb-centric restaurant). The space, while eschewing the white tablecloth aesthetic, is polished and draws many a businessman, so brush up on your dressy casual dress before dining here.

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9. The Nickel 1100 Fourteenth St, Denver, CO 80202

A rooftop hive and in-house pickling service elevate The Nickel's American menu to finely tuned standards. Prices are relatively high but barrel-aged cocktails, Colorado craft beers, and posh snacks like crispy quail and boiled peanuts justify the fancy experience. Most of the dishes are made on a wood-fired grill, which like the menu itself, changes seasonally: cherry wood might be fueling your lamb ribs one month, and peach wood the next.

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10. Guard and Grace 1801 California St, Denver, CO 80202

In a huge, bright space that sprawls out to a patio and includes three private dining rooms, Guard and Grace's expert staff delivers the likes of grilled beef short ribs, raw bar oysters, and solid wine selections. It's not just the myriad chops (including a filet mignon flight) that make it a stunner; the kitchen conceives of everything on the seasonal menu with care and flair then executes it just as beautifully -- breads, salumi, starters, seafood, sides, exquisite desserts, and all. This is one of Denver’s best restaurants, period.

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11. range 918 17th St, Denver, CO 80202

American Western fare doesn't have to be kitschy. Take, for example, the menu at Range, where gamey meats like bison are creatively served with root beer BBQ, sweet potato steak fries, and pickled green tomatoes. The space resembles an old-school whiskey saloon and pulls off a modern interpretation of the American West with leather accents and trendy art pieces. As with any Western throwback, the liquor menu is comprehensive and includes Colorado bourbon and whiskey.

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12. Root Down 1600 W 33rd Ave, Denver, CO 80211 (Highland)

Chef-owner Justin Cucci turned an old gas station into a trendy restaurant that uses all the right, hipster-friendly ingredients; offers vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options; and serves a bottomless mimosa brunch. The dimly-lit space features mosaic windows (with excellent views) and eclectic art, but the universally lovable dishes, like spinach and ricotta gnocchi and diver scallops, are likely what make this funky spot a neighborhood staple.

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13. Highland Tap and Burger 2219 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO 80211 (Highland)

A patio with a fire pit might draw crowds during the colder months, but 16 52" TVs, an exclusively Colorado tap list, and significant happy hour deals keep them coming the rest of the year. Of course, some people do come to Highland Tap and Burger for the food itself, which constitutes surprisingly original takes on the usual pub grub. Fair warning: most of the crowd is college-age.

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14. Ace 501 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80203 (Uptown)

The eclectic Asian cuisine here -- think Korean BBQ ribs, steamed bao buns, and dim sum -- might be good, but the ping-pong and huge outdoor patio is really what draws crowds. Tables can be rented by the hour, and you're encouraged to try one of the house-made sodas, or local and Asian beers (Asahi, Tiger, Singha) while waiting for your table.

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15. Sarto's 2900 W 25th Ave, Denver, CO 80211 (Jefferson Park)

An instant destination complete with a cicchetti bar and a quick-stop deli, Sarto’s emanates both sophistication and soul in spades: think house-made Piedmontese pastas, oven-fired pizzettes, and tender proteins. The pan-Italian wine list rules, too. A private chef's table is available to reserve for tastings, but the friendly vibe of the crowd at large will probably attract you to the main dining room.

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16. Charcoal Restaurant 43 W 9th Ave, Denver, CO 80204 (Golden Triangle)

If you can't visualize European-inspired American food, go to Charcoal, where dishes like pan-roasted chicken and crab cakes on creamed corn will convince you of your favorite new niche cuisine. Almost everything here is prepped on the open kitchen's Colorado-made Bincho grills, which in laymen's terms means your dinner will be cooked quickly, with maximum flavor. The restaurant is located just a few minutes from the Denver Art Museum and boasts a modern space.

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17. Acorn 3350 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216 (Five Points)

A buzzy, industrial-chic small plates spot, Acorn in River North is offers shareable plates, as well as innovative libations (think alcoholic shaved ice). The eclectic, epicurean-inspired menu features oak-fired game (waygu beef, pork shoulder, and chicken), fresh seafood plates, and roasted vegetable salads. An extensive wine list and cool, artisanal cocktails are also worth checking out.

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18. Luca 711 Grant St, Denver, CO 80203 (Capitol Hill)

Chef Frank Bonanno brings the community together at this Governor's Park restaurant named after his son. Simple, Italian classics that everyone knows make the heart of the menu, with main courses veering little from Italian favorites like cacio e pepe and capellini carbonara. An expansive 10-page wine list gives diners a chance to class up their meal -- as well as their bill -- though most will settle for something off the specialty cocktail list.