Unveiling Denver: The Maven, Wine Tasting, and Urban Exploration

We’re always on the lookout for vibrant LGBTQ+ friendly destinations that offer a mix of culture, excitement, and inclusivity. One city has been a great destination I’ve had the pleasure of visiting now 4 times. My recent two-night stay in downtown Denver exceeded expectations once again, offering a perfect blend of urban adventure and warm hospitality.

Where to Stay

My stay at The Maven was highlighted by a constant feeling of welcomeness. I dropped my bags off early on in the day and went exploring in the city. The morning staff was great, but when I cam back, I chatted with a wonderful front desk crew, we talked about which pronoun one of them used, how the hotel was to work for, husbands, and what they both liked about Denver. 

The hotel itself did a great job with the eye candy everywhere, no not shirtless men, but just the right amount of highlights in the hallways, ceilings, room numbers, elevator walls, and well, yes, they did have some eye candy working the happy-hour airstream in the lobby where hotel guests could use some drink tokens to try out some simple yet tasty libations.


My room was about 1/2 the size of my cute bungalow home.  Large bed, great working area, living room area with wet bar and fridge, roomy balcony overlooking downtown and the mountains, and a massive bathroom with a perfectly round soaking tub and a walk-in shower. 

Easy Explorations

The Maven is in a great location downtown. Its also attached to Denver Milk Market, a 16-venue food hall that opened in June of 2018. Some of the offerings have changed over the years, but it’s still great to check out for lunch, dinner, and even Drag Queen Bingo Brunch. We just missed it by a couple of hours, but next time we will be there!  During my stay, I also had the chance to explore The Alley behind The Maven and the Milk Market, a hidden gem that perfectly captures Denver’s unique blend of urban charm and artistic flair. You can see all of the offerings over of this uniquely developed downtown block at the Dairy Block webpage. The Alley is a vibrant hub of creativity, with colorful street art, cozy cafes, and boutique shops lining its cobblestone streets. It was the perfect place to unwind and soak in the local culture.

This map is interactive over at the Dairy Block webpage

In The Alley, I was delighted to discover Blanchard Family Wines. The cozy downtown location offered a delightful selection of wines, paired with warm hospitality and a welcoming atmosphere. It was the perfect way to unwind after a day of exploration. And we did explore some wines! My hostess for the evening was a hoot, so knowledgeable about the wines, and was great to watch her juggle all that was happening that night in the tasting room.


Blanchard Family Wines was founded on the idea of creating small batch, top quality, artisan wines from the best wine country appellations, and sharing those wines with family and friends. Created by two brothers, one who settled in California, and one in Colorado, their goal is to bring the best of wine country to Denver through pairings of wine and food, sourced locally from various California and Colorado regions.

At the Denver tasting room, sample a flight of wines, pair a bottle with a cheese and charcuterie plate or some locally crafted desserts and take your favorite bottle home with you at the end of the night. Open 7 days a week. Come by after a Rockies game, for happy hour, a drink before your dinner date, or a quiet end to your night out.

One half of the venue was taken over by a cooking class that was wafting its creations through the whole place and it was great. I’ll definitely look at the calendar of events for all of the Dairy Block businesses when I return to Denver next time.

Is a Hotel Restaurant Worth the Time?

During my stay, I also had the pleasure of dining at Kachina, the restaurant located in The Maven hotel. Kachina’s Southwestern-inspired menu was a delightful culinary journey, offering a tantalizing array of flavors and dishes. The cozy ambiance and friendly staff made it the perfect spot for a memorable dining experience. Full name of the restaurant is Kachina Cantina, but maybe it should be “this ain’t your normal Mexican restaurant.” 

When I go to a Mexican or Latin inspired restaurant, I often do seek out something with molé. Not only did they have something, but Kachina offers a pork chop molé accompanied by bacon wrapped plantains and a rice that I think had a stick of butter in it itself, that was epic as well, almost becoming the star of the dish. But all of the parts were synchronized making the meal very satisfying. For an appetizer I chose the stuffed peppers, then chips were brought out with three sauces, a mango, chipotle, and verde, and dessert was an amazing gluten free strawberry cake offering that I had half then and the other half 4 hours later. The service, the ability to watch the kitchen prepare the food from where I was sitting, the flavors, and the fun atmosphere, all of this makes me throw out the warning… do not overlook this Kachina just because it’s in the same building as a hotel. 

Having a Ball


I’m one of those sports gays that like to watch a variety of sports, my coworkers often wonder about me, but I like what I like.

One of the highlights of my trip was attending a Denver Nuggets basketball game at the iconic Ball Arena. The atmosphere was electric as I cheered alongside fellow fans, sampled some of their food offerings, and visited both of their gift shops. The one downstairs has a lot more rainbow/pride wear so definitely check that out. It’s all front and center and mixed in everywhere, not just a “hey, yeah, we have pride stuff over in that corner.” The game against the Atlanta Hawks was thrilling, and the energy of the crowd was infectious. Loved their “Windows, to the walls!” chant when someone made a basket off the glass. The arena is also great because it’s a very simple walk from downtown.

We Shall Return

From the thrill of the basketball game to the charm of The Alley and the warmth of Blanchard Family Wines, Denver’s vibrant LGBTQ+ friendly scene left a lasting impression on me, and I can’t wait to return and explore more of what this dynamic city has to offer.

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