Your cravings for the best that the Boulder culinary arts scene has to offer don’t follow a strict timetable. Sometimes hunger strikes well after most restaurants have already closed. However, that does not mean you have to settle for subpar food. Here are four excellent choices for dining past the stroke of midnight:
Bramble & Hare
This pub specializes in organically raised farm-to-table fare made with ingredients from the owners’ 130-acre Black Cat Farm, which also supplies sister restaurant Black Cat Bistro. Hence, the dinner menu changes daily based on the supplies of meat and produce, as well as the whims of co-owner chef Eric Skokan. However, Bramble & Hare remains open until 1 a.m. with late night offerings that shift less frequently and are consistently delicious. For the fall, the options include butternut squash soup, a chili cheese dog and pork belly served with black garlic aioli and mustard greens. You can also count on an impressive selection of local craft beers and solid wine list. During late-night hours, the inventive cocktails, all named with witty pop culture references, drop in price to $7. Among November’s choices are Laces Out!, containing hibiscus-infused bourbon, Campari and Dubonnet Rouge, and My Mom Listens to Slayer, made with Reposado tequila, plum, clove and wild sour gastrique.
Though this Mexican chain has expanded to Denver, Fort Collins and now Tucson, Arizona, its roots in Boulder remain strong. Founder Pete Turner is a University of Colorado alumnus and established the first restaurant on the Hill in 1995 with hungry students in mind. Now there are two Boulder locations, both open until 2:30 a.m. Thursday-Saturday. The Pearl Street restaurant even holds a late-night happy hour from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. Pete’s serves all the Southwestern dishes you are likely to hanker for late on a Saturday night, like burritos, tacos, quesadillas and nachos. All are made with hormone- and antibiotic-free meat, though there is also a solid selection of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. The full bar and selection of local beers on draft sets Pete’s apart from similar Mexican eateries, as does the company’s investment in community causes and the local arts scene .
With two Boulder locations and daily hours that stretch until 2 a.m., Cosmo’s is the perfect pizza joint for Boulder culinary school students and others burning the midnight oil. Cosmo’s offers delivery, but visit a storefront if you want to purchase one of the giant, foldable New York-style slices individually. There are several vegetarian options among the specialty pizzas, as well as plenty of tasty pepperoni, sausage and ham for meat-eaters. Cosmo’s signature, though, is its homemade spicy ranch dipping sauce. A side of the sauce is definitely worth the extra 50 cents, and after you try it, you will likely consider picking up a pint-sized jar.
Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery
Mountain Sun established its first pub and brewery on Pearl Street in 1993. It has since added two more in Boulder, plus one each in Denver and Longmont. Both the original location and Southern Sun on South Broadway are open until 1 a.m. all week. Mountain Sun’s menu leans heavily on pub favorites, like a jalapeno cheeseburger, chicken sandwiches and nachos. It distinguishes itself from most pubs, however, by drawing its ingredients from local growers, butchers and bakers. It also offers extensive and clearly labeled vegetarian and gluten-free options. Beer, of course, is the star, with a range of Mountain Sun brews like the Number One – a Belgian-style trippel, the Isadore Java Porter and an IPA called FYIPA. The pubs do not accept credit cards, so be sure to stop at an ATM first.