What We’re Looking Forward to in Denver in 2022

With plenty of hot new openings, the new year is going to be big for Denver.

While it’s indeed been a long, weird year, 2021 also brought us many moments of hope and positivity. We saw the much-awaited revival of Red Rocks concerts, the saving of Colorado institution Casa Bonita, an array of cool, new restaurants opening against all odds, and the introduction of one-of-a-kind experiences like Meow Wolf, giving us plenty to do, see, and eat over the last 365 days. And though there’s no way to fully tell what 2022 will bring, we’ve got our sights set on what’s shaping up to be a pretty bright future. New restaurants to try, art exhibits to contemplate, and places to shop are just some of the things we’re looking forward to in Denver this year.

High up on the radar for exciting stuff coming to Denver this year is the new music venue-slash-bar-slash-restaurant from country star Dierks Bentley, which will settle in comfortably in LoDo. 1946 Market Street will see the opening of Whiskey Row Denver, the newest location of the popular venue that has homes in both Arizona and Tennessee. Expect live music from local artists five days a week and rotating weekend DJs, good ol’ Southern-inspired fare and cocktails, and a large patio with lawn games (because Denver, duh).

Need more places to spend money in 2022? You’re covered! In the northeastern Denver neighborhood of Gateway, you’ll soon find the 223,000 square-foot Flyway Retail Center, which will feature clothing, general merchandise, groceries, and dining options for your every need. The space will have a town center plaza with outdoor seating and public art, and all storefronts, restaurants, and services will be easily accessible.

Cantina Loca
Cantina Loca | Photo courtesy of Hi Rez Photography

Brand new restaurants…

Coming to the local food scene is… quite the array of concepts that have our mouths watering and our hearts beaming for the perseverance of Denver restaurants. Thompson Denver, an “urban chalet” opening in LoDo this Februrary will also be home to Chez Maggy, a French brasserie by acclaimed French chef Ludo Lefebvre, which will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And in addition to refreshing Casa Bonita, chef Dana Rodriguez is simultaneously working on her own concept, Cantina Loca, set to open this year in LoHi’s Espadín and bring Denverites Mexico City street food by way of, yes, tacos and tequila, but mezcal, enchiladas, and a ton of other goodness as well.

There’s a uniquely cool concept coming to Sunnyside in 2022 that challenges your predisposed ideas of what the term “social club” really means. Birch Road is a women-owned, BYOB clubhouse where you can bring, store, and savor your favorite spirits without worry of corking fees, bartender interactions, or end-of-evening bills. A monthly membership gets you exclusive fingerprint access to the social club of your Friday night dreams. Also on the social club wave is the long-awaited Five Nines, set to open this year inside the Clayton Members Club & Hotel and feature colorful, classic, craft cocktails in a sophisticated atmosphere. And last (for now) though certainly not least is an expansion of the popular surf, turf, and sushi restaurant, Water Grill, coming to LoDo in late January.

Cherry Cricket Littleton
Photo courtesy of Cherry Cricket Littleton

… and expansions of favorites

Despite all odds, several beloved restaurants were not only able to survive this year but also thrive, meaning additional locations in 2022 to bring Denverites more of what we love. Cherry Cricket will be seeing a third location open up in Littleton this year, following the success of both its original Cherry Creek and more recent Ballpark locations. The newly opened Crack Shack (currently housed in Greenwood Village’s Grange Hall) will also expand this year with not one but two new locations—one near Park Meadows Mall and the other in RiNo.

Brand new breweries…

The ever-prospering Denver brewery scene will see a bunch of new additions this year, including Wisconsin brewery MobCraft Beer moving into the Curtis Park neighborhood and bringing along the “tacos, taps, and tequila” of Dee Tacko. Also opening up is Danico Brewing Company, which recently broke ground for its 66th Avenue and Tower Road location. And Live Slow Brewing will join the arsenal of Denver breweries with its Wheat Ride post, replacing Paramount bowling alley—though it’s keeping a few of the lanes for an added entertainment bonus when you eventually visit. The brewery will also be part of a larger hub to be known as Gold’s Marketplace, where you can bowl, sip brews, watch live entertainment, and snack on bowling alley-style food.

FlyteCo Brewing
FlyteCo Brewing | Photo courtesy of Dustin Holstein

… and, you guessed it, more of the ones we love!

Mental note: Pandemics might be good for craft beer sales? At least for a few of our favorites, anyway. FlyteCo Brewing is expanding from its singular W 38th Ave location to a new Central Park location, replacing the Punch Bowl Social at former Stapleton International Airport Control Tower, and RiNo’s Ratio Beerworks is taking over the former Declaration Brewing space to bring a Ratio location to South Denver. The team at Longmont’s Left Hand Brewing clearly knows strategy, as it’s parking a secondary location right next to Mission Ballroom for all your pre- and post-concert beer needs. More second locations planned for this year? New Image Brewing , Cerebral Brewing, and 4 Noses Brewing. Looks like 2022 will (thankfully) be the year of beer.

The Art of Banksy
The Art of Banksy

Denver, known for its impressive curation of art across several museums and constantly rotating exhibits—looking at you, Immersive Van Gogh and Denver Art Museum’ previous Monet exhibits—is expecting a new attraction this year that will likely blow attendance records out of the water. The Art of Banksy will be opening this April in the Denver Sports Castle building, the grandeur of which seems expertly fitting. Check out iconic pieces like “Girl and Balloon” and “Flower Thrower” as well as lesser known works by the popular street artist, including smaller, indoor pieces (as opposed to the famous outdoor works seen across the globe). Tickets are on sale now but are expected to sell out fast.

If you weren’t following the fate of Casa Bonita as it hung in the balance this past year, do you even live here? Luckily for everyone, this pillar of Denver’s society was saved by none other than the creators of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, and perhaps even luckier is that award-winning chef Dana Rodriguez is going to breathe new life into the kitchen. This will include a total redesign of the kitchen space, new menu (obviously), and will revitalize the entire Casa Bonita space without sacrificing any of our favorite parts of it. Fingers crossed for snacking on sopapillas while watching dancing gorillas and divers in 2022.

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Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.