What’s the best Red Rocks concert you ever went to? Why, the one that began with a dinner in Golden, Colorado, of course! You can’t dance and rock’n roll all night without taking in some calories first, and Golden offers the most diversified dining near the world-famous amphitheater.
Only a 15-minute drive away, Golden is a small historic town at the foot of the mountains, all centered around beautiful Clear Creek, which flows right through the center of the village. The fast-moving river is popular with kayakers and is lined with picnic benches, paved bike trails, and restaurants.
You can dine beside the creek at the Bridgewater Grill on Bacon Wrapped CO Bison Meatloaf, Coors Beer Battered Cod Fish and Chips, Pan Seared Salmon, and Mushroom Risotto. Or grab a bite at the nearby Nomad Taqueria and Beer Garden, with a menu inspired by Mexico, the Southwest’s Four Corners region, and Colorado.
The Golden Mill is the town’s “outdoor backyard” with two levels of dining and drinking with views of the creek and the mountains offering sushi, BBQ, tacos, and ice cream along with a “pour wall,” where you pour your own craft beer and wine. Don’t be surprised if there’s a live music concert here before your trip to Red Rocks.
Golden is the biggest little beer town in the world with Coors Brewery sitting majestically beneath the rocky buttes of South Table Mountain. It is the largest single brewing site on the planet and a tour and samples of their many different beers is another Colorado way to spend a day before Red Rocks. But Golden is also home to numerous craft breweries and distilleries, many of which have rotating food trucks. Closest to Red Rocks is Over Yonder Brewing Company, where you can find a variety of adventurous & delicious brews. In downtown, check out Mountain Toad, Golden City Brewery or Bottles and Barrels, which has a dozen craft beers and a dozen excellent wines on tap. You can also be part of Golden’s legendary craft beverage scene by signing up for the Golden Tap Trail, a mobile passport that will take you to the best breweries and distilleries where you can score great deals and discounts and even earn a Golden Tap Trail stainless steel pint glass.
Nothing goes better with rock’n roll better than pizza and Woody’s Wood-fired Pizza is a local legend with one of the best Western views and most delicious pies in Colorado. Of course, some people prefer burgers and Bob’s Atomic Burgers is the place to fill up with the ultimate hamburger topped with grilled onions, mushrooms, fried egg, blue cheese, guacamole and green chili.
If you want some Old West atmosphere to go with your Red Rocks experience, then head to the New Mexico adobe-style architecture of the Table Mountain Grill & Cantina, which celebrates all the flavors of the Southwest. Just down the block, dig into some pub fare, BBQ and Old West history at the Old Capitol Grill, located in the building that served as Colorado’s first state capitol. Or how about some buffalo? The Buffalo Rose specializes in this lean meat (that has fewer calories than chicken) all served up in a transformed historic building with skylights, open plazas, and streetside tables. Or just grab a buffalo or elk sandwich at D’Deli (consistently ranked as the No. 1 sandwich shop on the Front Range) and head to a picnic table along the creek or bring the goods along with you for a tailgate party in the Red Rocks parking lot. Another option is to grab a delicious charcuterie board and maybe even a coffee to keep you going all night from Launch or take some shareables to-go from Vice Kitchen; perhaps the wings or tatchos?! Both restaurants are located very close to Red Rocks.
Can’t make up your mind about what to have? Then the Tributary Food Hall & Drinkery is the place for your gang, where each can choose from pizza and pasta, tacos and gyros, meat and cheese, or Kona bowls with a full bar.
And if something more international is your fancy, nothing tops the exotic Sherpa House Restaurant & Cultural Center, which serves up a Himalayan fare in a house done up to resemble a traditional home in Nepal. World-class Southern Italian is on the menu at the rustic elegant Bella Colibri, which honors Colorado’s strong ties to Italy and founder Dean Valdez’s Italian family, who immigrated to Colorado from Calabria, Italy in the early 1900s. And this would not be a great Colorado town without a great Mexican restaurant, and El Dorado fits the bill with a family-owned eatery that makes wonderful Mexican dishes from scratch.
To make it a perfect evening, why not stay in Golden? That way, after the concert, you can continue the night at the always eclectic Ace Hi Tavern or check out the Golden Moon Speakeasy, a cool cocktail lounge and distillery tasting room, featuring classic and modern craft cocktails, pre-prohibition style punches and long drinks, all made solely with the spirits produced by Golden Moon Distillery.
The Golden Hotel, Table Mountain Inn and Eddy Taproom & Hotel are within walking distance of all these restaurants and many others.