The Denver International Airport is one of the busiest hubs in the world (and the most suited for conspiracy theories complete with horses and gargoyles). From here, you can go to some 200 destinations, making it a common place for a layover. Luckily, the airport is packed full with all the things that make Denver’s food and drink scene so good: local craft beer, hearty Mexican-American food, and steak.
Whether you got to the airport far too early or you’re waiting out a delay, these are the best breweries, bars, and restaurants in every section of the Denver airport.
Breckenridge Brewery by gate A71: Airport outpost of beloved Breckenridge Brewery, which has been making craft beer in Colorado since 1990. House beers on tap including seasonal options along with spirits and wine options. The eats are standard American bar food.
Denver Central Market by gate A48: Denver does food halls exceedingly well, and the city’s airport does it pretty well too. This airport outpost of the actual Central Market has options like pizza, cheese and charcuterie, and sushi.
Snarf’s Sandwiches by gate A73: A grab-and-go sandwich shop with gluten-free options as well as soups and salads.
Chef Jimmy’s Bistro & Spirits in the center concourse: Italian-American food and a full bar. Three-meal type of place with omelets and French toast for breakfast and sandwiches, salads, pizza, and pasta for lunch and dinner. It’s worth taking your meal sitting down if you have time, but there are grab-and-go options as well.
Mesa Verde Bar & Grill by the gate in the center mezzanine: Colorado Mexican food like burritos (and breakfast burritos), nachos, tacos, and quesadillas. One big draw is the full bar, which has local beers as well as a large tequila section.
Denver Chophouse and Brewery in the center concourse: Beer and food from Denver’s Rock Bottom Brewery Co. It has a mid-20th-century steakhouse vibe, but with modern craft beer and healthy portions of steak, burgers, and chicken.
New Belgium Sports Bar by gate B30: Brewery and restaurant from the beloved craft brewery New Belgium. Along with the house beers (including harder-to-find sours), there’s American wines and a full range of spirits. The food is a bit all over the place, with classics like burgers and breakfast burritos. Farther down the concourse by gate B60, you’ll find the New Belgium Hub, which offers similar beer and food.
Elway’s in the center concourse: Named after Colorado’s favorite quarterback and NFL general manager. Come if you’re looking for a higher-end surf-and-turf-style menu with options like fish, steak, and shellfish, plus a full bar.
Lounge 5280 Wine Bar in the center mezzanine: Stop in for a curated wine list, Colorado craft beer, and cocktails. There’s bar food and small plates if you’ve got some time to break up your pre-flight drinks.
Cantina Grill by gate in the center mezzanine: Standard Mexican-American food that you’ll find around Colorado like thick loaded burritos and tacos. The restaurant also has a full bar.
Root Down DIA in the center concourse: Farm-to-table food, or at least as close to farm-to-table as you can get in an airport. The seasonal menu has standard sandwiches, salads, and soups, and the full bar has a selection of pretty much whatever you’re in the mood for — even if you’re in the mood for sake.
The Magic Pan by gate C28: Crepes to go. Sweet and savory options are on the menu and made to order, and there are ice cream and sundaes to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Tamales by La Casita in the center concourse: Mexican-American fare like burritos, quesadillas, and tacos. There’s also, as the name implies, tamales. Come for breakfast for a breakfast burrito or huevos rancheros.
Tapas Sky Bar by gate C24: Specialty cocktails, 16 well-chosen wines, and 12 Colorado craft beers. Small plates like cheese boards and salads are available if you just want something to munch on.
Boulder Beer Tap House on Level 5 West: Boulder, Colorado, is just as much a wonderland for beer lovers as Denver is. This airport outpost pours craft beer from Boulder Beer Company and serves up classic bar food.
Red Rocks Bar & BBQ on Level 5 East: Plenty of local craft beer on draft to wash down sandwiches and plates of smoked brisket, turkey, pork, and chicken.