What to Eat and Drink Around Union Station in Denver

Originally built in 1881, Union Station is currently undergoing another round of renovations. But construction hasn’t stopped visitors, nor our downtown food tours. As experts on the local dining scene, we can help you decide what to eat and drink around Union Station in Denver, from savory dishes and desserts to the neighborhood’s best boozy beverages

Nearly all of the following recommendations are currently available. But be sure to mark your calendars for July when the refreshed Great Hall will open to the public. Then, you can experience “Denver’s living room” in its entirety. Play a round of shuffleboard, sink into one of the comfy couches, and enjoy all of its incredible eateries.

A coffee mug full of Cafe Con Leche ice cream from Milkbox Ice Creamery

Where: MilkBox Ice Creamery

Milkbox Ice Creamery is a small-batch ice cream shop inside Union Station. For decades, its space served as the landmark’s barbershop and the interior is one of few historic originals, featuring an antique tin ceiling and marble trim. Stop inside or grab a scoop at its quick-service window on the building’s southeast corner. Its shady patio offers seating near the station’s outdoor fountains, which provide another great way to cool off in the summertime. 

Made locally in Louisville, Milkbox offers a fantastic seasonal selection including its Cafe Con Leche ice cream, a decadent caramel and coffee mash-up. Alternatively, try a boozy beer float made with Denver Beer Co.’s Graham Cracker Porter and toasted coconut ice cream; or experience this Union Station favorite on our Downtown Food Tour.

Granita cocktails from Stoic & Genuine, one of our favorite places to eat and drink around Union Station

Where: Stoic & Genuine

This upscale oyster bar was opened by James Beard award-winning chef Jennifer Jasinski and features sustainably caught, fresh seafood. It’s one of our top-recommended downtown lunch restaurants and it has a great happy hour, too. On weekdays from 2 to 5 pm, the eatery offers a rotating granita cocktail for just $8. 

If you haven’t tried a granita cocktail, envision an adult slushy. Flavors include spiked cranberry and gin-infused blackberry, plus a non-alcoholic granita made with zero-proof rum, ginger syrup, and prickly pear. They’re a sweet, refreshing treat on a hot summer day in Denver.

A butter pecan old fashioned from Urban Farmer

Where: Urban Farmer 

Contemporary steakhouse Urban Farmer serves up locally sourced fare and one of the best cocktails in Denver: its smooth and serious butter pecan old fashioned. It’s a blend of Bulleit straight rye whiskey and butter-pecan washed Amaro Nonino, an Italian digestif heavy on burnt caramel and orange flavors. 

The result comes highly recommended — in fact, it’s our favorite old fashioned in the city. Join us on our Cocktail Tasting Tour to sample it and more unbeatable beverages.

Various types of sheep's milk cheese, available for purchase at Mercantile Dining & Provisions

Where: Mercantile Dining & Provisions

You might not guess that one of the city’s top restaurants is located inside Union Station. Mercantile Dining & Provisions was founded by James Beard award-winning chef Alex Seidel and was recently featured in the city’s first Michelin guide.

The Bib Gourmand restaurant boasts an ever-changing menu featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced directly from its farm just south of Denver — and one of those tasty treats is its sheep’s milk cheese. Try one of four varieties at the market counter, or grab some to-go with a fresh baguette for a delicious snack.

Peel n' eat shrimp served with creamy mustard sauce at Jax Fish House

Where: Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar

Jax Fish House is one of our favorite places to eat and drink around Union Station. Since 1996, its LoDo outpost has transported landlocked locals with its coastal flavors. The menu features a variety of sustainably caught seafood, including its popular Cajun-spiced peel n’ eat shrimp served with cocktail sauce and creamy house mustard. 

Order the dish (and a generous handful of napkins) from its chilled raw bar and consider visiting from 3:30 to 5 pm daily when a quarter-pound is priced at just $6. Few Denver happy hours can compete with this one.

A man enjoying a wine flight at Sunday Vinyl, one of our top recommend places to eat and drink around Union Station

Where: Sunday Vinyl

Stop by this listening bar for vinyl tunes, sommelier-selected wines, and vibrant New American dishes. Sunday Vinyl is located just across from the Union Station train tracks and is a fabulous place to plan a date in Denver, meet with friends, and simply unwind. 

Our local guides would love to accompany you here on our Wine Walk tour, which visits two other local wine bars. We also recommend visiting for its Wednesday “flight night” series which pairs a musical artist or genre with a four-part wine flight.

A glass of Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout on Wynkoop Brewing Company's patio

Where: Wynkoop Brewing Company

At one of our go-to bars near the Ballpark, you can experience two of Colorado’s specialties: craft beer and Rocky Mountain oysters, all in a single sip. Keep in mind, this recommendation is a bit unusual — every barrel of the stout is brewed with locally sourced bull testicles. 

If that combo whets your appetite, or at least piques your interest, pop by Wynkoop Brewing Company for a pint, pub grub, and fun entertainment including pool tables, shuffleboard, and more bar games.

An aperitif cocktail and mixed nuts on a silver platter at The Cooper Lounge

Where: The Cooper Lounge

Many looking to eat and drink around Union Station make it to Terminal Bar, but few realize that one of the neighborhood’s best bars is just overhead. Make your way to the station’s second floor to find The Cooper Lounge, which overlooks the Great Hall and offers silver service.

Modeled after an old railcar, you’ll feel as though you’ve gone back in time as you sip on classic and signature cocktails — which cost just $10 per during aperitif hour, available from 4 to 6 pm daily. If you’re feeling hungry, order a fancy snack from the cart that’s rolled through the bar’s seating area. 

However, note that The Cooper Lounge is currently closed and will reopen following renovations in late 2024.

The warm interior of Pigtrain Coffee Co

Where: Pigtrain Coffee Company

With commuters coming into the city, Union Station’s craft coffee shop is a busy place on weekday mornings. But convenience isn’t the only reason to pay Pigtrain a visit. In addition to quality coffee beverages, this spot offers some of the most decadent chocolate chip cookies in town. We sample these freshly baked treats on our Dinner Tasting Tour, which caters to groups of eight to fifty guests — perfect for team outings in Denver!

If you’re looking to entertain an even larger group, consider our Food Hall Tour. It accommodates up to 150 guests and is a popular choice for corporate events. Guests have the ability to easily mix and mingle between our five stops, which include Pigtrain for dessert.

Two bowls of braised beef noodle soup from Zoe Ma Ma

Where: Zoe Ma Ma

Few winter activities in Denver beat slurping up a steaming bowl of braised beef noodle soup from Zoe Ma Ma. This classic Taiwanese dish is made with juicy strips of beef, thick noodles, pickled vegetables, bok choy, and a spicy, flavorful broth that warms you to your core. 

It may not quite hit the spot on a hot summer day, but everything made by this mother-and-son duo is impressive. Dan dan noodles, bao buns, and more Chinese street food add to the selection of yummy things to eat and drink around Union Station.

The stylish bi-level interior of Ultreia

Where: Ultreia

Ultreia was founded by chef Jennifer Jasinski and is a sister concept to Stoic & Genuine — safe to say, it won’t disappoint. The chic restaurant spotlights flavors around the Iberian Peninsula with mouth-watering tapas, paellas, and refreshing gin and tonics appearing on the menu. 

The eatery also offers a great sherry program, which pairs perfectly with one of our favorite desserts: pastel de nata, a traditional Portuguese custard tart dusted with powdered sugar and served on our Downtown Food Tour.

De la milpa street tacos from Machete Tequila + Tacos

Where: Machete Tequila + Tacos

Machete is one of the most fun places to eat and drink around Union Station. Its interior is decorated with freaky wood masks and Mexican folk art, but the vibe is cool and complemented by a great menu. 

All of its street tacos are delish, but there’s one that especially stands out: the de la milpa made with roasted zucchini, mushrooms, corn, poblano pesto, and cotija cheese on a hibiscus tortilla. This vegetarian bite is incredibly flavorful and even better with a shot of chilled pineapple tequila infused in-house.

A pink-hued brachetto spritz from Tavernetta

Where: Tavernetta

Tavernetta comes from the same award-winning hospitality group as Sunday Vinyl and similarly, it offers a fantastic ambiance and menu. It’s one of the most romantic restaurants in the city, but also popular as an after-work stop given its phenomenal happy hour. 

Every day from 3 to 6 pm, its refreshing Brachetto spritz is discounted to just $8 a glass. Sip on this blend of Cocchi Rosa and blood orange ginger beer on the patio, or enjoy it and other beverages on our Cocktail Tasting Tour.

A classic martini backdropped by red lighting at Cruise Room

Where: Cruise Room 

Located within the historic Oxford Hotel, Cruise Room is the longest-running bar in Denver. It’s been open since the day after prohibition’s repeal in 1933 — although, some speculate it’s been in business even longer. 

You’ll go back in time when you visit this Art Deco-inspired, red-lit bar where martinis take center stage. Order its signature mix of gin, French vermouth, and orange bitters, garnished with a lemon twist; or opt for a vodka-based dirty martini served with a skewer of savory green olives.