One frigid day in December, I was dropped off by REI and left to find my way…somewhere. I crossed the 15th Street bridge over I-25, passed Forest Room 5 and the green-eyed cat living in Mona Lucero with no human minder in sight, and turned right onto Boulder Street. And there I found Shangri-La.

Coffee, that is. I was actually looking for Red Trolley, the ice cream and cereal place. Then I checked the map in my Lower Highlands Local Flavor Guide and realized it was farther away than I wanted to walk.

So I went to Shangri-La (the green building on the right). Denver restaurantsHow many people can say that?

Not that many in Denver, anyway. It’s a tiny little place with lots of exposed brick. (For an amusing rant about exposed brick, check out Brownstoner: Brooklyn Inside and Out.)

(By the way, is there some connection between winter and “tiny little places”? Tomte Modern Craft, Unity … I’ve been finding them, or they’ve been calling me. )

The gray-haired man at the counter inquired if my camera was a Christmas gift. I guess he thought I couldn’t bear to part with it, so I hung it around my neck and walked it around Denver. He also informed me the current owners have run Shangri-La for 2 years, before which it was Carmen’s vegan cafe and coffeehouse. So this space next to Vita has been serving coffee to seekers of truth for years.

I sat in a black leather chair by the door to the inside hallway and drank my hot chocolate with extra mocha (not the best I’ve ever had). The “second room,” with its high ceilings decorated for Christmas, had 4 tables and a few chairs. The floor was painted concrete covered with wood covered with that hexagonal tile you see in bathrooms. Layers upon layers upon layers… Light streamed in through the large window, and several couples chatted happily next to me. It had a completely different atmosphere than the new Hooked on Colfax (2 doors down from the old location, with no sign the last time I checked), which is much more serious and much larger.

As I left, the man who fixed my chocolate sprayed the chairs with cleaner and wiped them off. I hope he did the same to the chair where I sat, since at that point I was still infectious.

Todd and I went next door to Vita to have lunch and then came back to get Todd a drink. It was then I noticed the selection of Numi tea, not to mention Bhakti chai.

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  1. […] the mellow vibe of Shangri-La coffee just next door, Vita seemed almost frenetic. It’s cool, the kind of restaurant where 4 […]

  2. […] Partin has some great shots of  Shangri-La Coffee on her January post of her blog Living the Mile-High Life. Beth has taken a break from her blog but will be coming back […]