Not feeling the Christmas cooking love this holiday? Here are some places that will take that task off your plate:
* This Christmas Eve Punch Bowl Social (65 Broadway www.punchbowlsocial.com/) the “eatertainment” hot spot in the Baker neighborhood, is staying open until midnight. Grab the family or meet friends and hit the bowling lanes, channel your inner rock star in the private karaoke rooms, play some ping pong, vintage arcade and pinball games, darts, foosball or marbles. The featured holiday punch Grandma Got Run Over by a Punch Bowl is perfect for sharing and the expert bar staff can create tasty non-alcoholic punches for the under 21 set. Don’t forget to check out the scratch kitchen menu items like the popular chicken and waffles or cauliflower nachos to keep everyone satisfied before Santa’s visit.
* On Christmas Eve celebrate with family and friends at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House (8100 E. Orchard Road, www.delfriscos.com). Chef Mario Hernandez has added a special to the menu which includes an 18-ounce prime rib plated with a lobster twice baked potato and asparagus with hollandaise for $75. The full menu will also be available to enjoy. Reservations are highly recommended: 303-796-0100.
* Zengo’s (1610 Little Raven St., Riverfront Park, www.richardsandoval.com) Chef Robert Juan will be serving up special dishes on Christmas Eve including the smoked pork belly made with roasted garlic soy sauce and pickled cherry tomato ($12). Guests can also indulge in a pan-roasted New York strip with seared foie gras served with spiced whipped potatoes, caramelized baby carrots and a plum wine reduction ($38). Guests can toast to the holidays with Zengo’s holiday cocktail – the Bourbon Espresso Martini ($12). Restaurant hours will be from 5 to 9 p.m. and reservations are recommended: 720-904-0965.
* Celebrate Christmas Eve with modern Mexican cuisine and cocktails at Tamayo on historic Larimer Square (1400 Larimer St., www.richardsandoval.com). Try the special $26 carne asada holiday menu until 9 p.m. that includes marinated grilled skirt steak, sweet potatoes and chorizo gratin, tomatillo chipotle sauce and cilantro chimichurri or order off of the regular menu. Call 720-946-1433 for reservations.
* Both locations of ViewHouse (2015 Market St. and 7101 S. Clinton St., Centennial – www.viewhouse.com) will be open for holiday revelers on Christmas Eve and will be offering a few specials for downtown and down south diners. Sip on the seasonally-inspired Peppermint Godiva Chocolate Martini, the ViewHouse signature holiday cocktail with Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, Grey Goose vodka and a splash of crème de menthe with heavy cream. It’s rimmed with a bit of crushed peppermint and $1 for every drink is donated to the Care for Colorado Toy Drive. Stop in on Christmas Eve for a drink that does good, and indulge in Chef Jose Guerrero’s Christmas Eve special of roasted airline Red Bird Farms chicken breast, petite root vegetable fricassee and aromatic natural jus for $20. If you’re looking for something lighter try chef’s special butternut squash bisque with mascarpone and pumpkin seed toast points and a spicy sweet harissa shrimp relish for $6.
* Cherry Creek North newcomer Del Frisco’s Grille (100 St. Paul St. - www.delfriscosgrille.com/cherry-creek) will be tempting diners on Christmas Eve with the cozy holiday cocktail Cinnamon Apple Mule for $11 with smooth apple bourbon, spicy-cinnamon-y Jim Beam Fire, ginger beer and fresh squeezed lime and the White Chocolate Candy Cane Martini with Stoli Vanil Vodka, Godiva White Chocolate, old-school Peppermint Schnapps and a dollop of cream. After your pre-dinner drink settle in for a special from the kitchen of Chef Dan Kane: Slow roasted dry aged prime rib. This special also features hand-mashed potatoes, au jus and complimentary champagne toast at midnight, and you can get the 16-ounce version for $42, or indulge in the 20-ounce for $49. Wash it down with a selection from the 2,000-plus bottles of wine on site or one of 10 draft beers on tap.
* It’s a hip-hop Christmas Eve at Habit Doughnut Dispensary and Carbon Beverage Café (1553 Platte St., www.habitcarbon.com) where the ultra-sleek ModBar coffee system, a hip scene and thirst-inducing munchies make it a great stop on your way to, from, or the spot of your holiday celebration. Sip on the Oh Starry Night, a special holiday boozy version of the inventive Bulletproof buttery coffee drink amped up with a splash of vanilla, a shot of bright citrusy Combier orange liqueur and a dollop of single barrel four roses bourbon and finished with star anise. Nosh on a Li’l Kim or Insanity Grilled Cheese from the regular menu that’s served all day, or stop in to Habit for the special Holiday Habit coffee and doughnuts. Open at 6 a.m., closing at midnight or later depending on the crowd.
* Postino WineCafé (2715 17th St. – www.postinowinecafe.com) is open Christmas Eve starting at 11 a.m. with an all-day happy hour with $5 wines by the glass or pitchers of beer until 5 p.m. Pair your wine or beer with the seasonal bruschetta of roasted butternut squash, roasted pumpkin seeds, ricotta and fresh chives, drizzled with two oils, pumpkin oil and olive oil.
* Pull on the most gaudy sweater you can find and head over to MAX’s Wine Dive (696 Sherman St. - www.maxswinedive.com/denver-sherman-st/menus/) on Christmas Eve for the Ugly Sweater Party – guests who show up in an ugly holiday sweater will receive a complimentary glass of bubbles. Choose a selection from the Wine Dive Classics or something from Chef Kevin’s new winter menu such as the 303 Pappardelle with elk, bison and venison and small fruity Sweet 100 tomatoes, fresh marjoram and parmesan for a hearty and warming Christmas Eve dish.
* Stop in to Argyll Whisky Beer (1035 E. 17th Ave. - www.argylldenver.com) for a traditional British pub favorite. Argyll’s beef roast dinner special will be offered for $25 alongside choices from the regular menu. Served with au jus, creamy scalloped potatoes, French cut green beans and chorizo, it’s a comforting pub favorite perfect for pre-holiday ease. Wash it down with a selection from the recommended special pairings including Tomero Malbec, Sierra Nevada Celebration or a pour of Basil Haydens High Rye Bourbon. Or indulge in the the Festivus Martini, a tart and refreshing new holiday classic that combines gin, Lillet Blanc, fresh squeezed lemon, cranberry juice and a hint of house-infused rosemary syrup for a complex and herbal finish. Enjoy it while airing grievances and performing feats of strength. Argyll is open regular hours on Christmas Eve, so stop in as early as 11 a.m. or drop by for a late-night whisky or beer.