Dining Out: Maine Shack and The 1UP Arcade Bar

A hotspot for Denver's lobster lovers and a pinball bar with a full kitchen

Photo by Joni Schrantz

Maine Shack

Hotspot for Denver’s lobster lovers

You don’t have to be a fan of the Boston Red Sox or the New England Patriots (phew!) to appreciate Maine Shack. You just have to love lobster: lobster tails, lobster rolls, lobster pie, lobster mac and cheese, and if you come in on the right afternoon for lunch, lobster chef salad.

Owned and operated by New England natives who desperately missed their home delicacy in Denver, Maine Shack ships lobster four times a week from the family-owned Greenhead Lobster company, which catches the clawed creatures in the Gulf of Maine. Maine Shack is banking on the quality of these lobsters and not the dining experience, which is absolutely and simply casual.

You walk up to the counter and order off the overhead menu, which includes a selection of draft and canned beers ($6-$8, including New England brews) and white and rosé wines on tap or in cans ($9). Cocktails were on the way when we visited but not yet available. Then, you take a seat—ideally outside, if Maine Shack has managed to cover and heat its sidewalk, or upstairs along the balcony that looks over at the city—and wait for the magic to come to you.

It comes quickly, in cardboard baskets or foil tins, with plastic utensils. You’re paying for lobster here, not white tablecloths, bibs, and mallets. And it is to die for. The Lobster Rolls ($22 up to $36 for the Lobsterado with a lobster tail on top) all come on a griddled bun with 4 ounces of claw and knuckle meat, and not much to spoil it. The Lobster Pie ($26) is a foil tin loaded with lobster, some buttered breadcrumbs, and a divine sherry lobster cream sauce. The Lobster Mac & Cheese ($14) is less lobster, but with mascarpone and cheddar lobster fondue.

If you don’t like lobster, you might love the Fried Stuff—whole belly clams, scallops, or haddock in various sizes for your table. You can get a salad or sandwich.

But, if you don’t like lobster, you will not get the full experience at Maine Shack. Lobster Grilled Cheese ($16) or Lobster B.L.A.T ($19), anyone? —Susan Fornoff

Maine Shack
1535 Central St.

Courtesy The 1UP Arcade Bar

The 1UP Arcade Bar

Pinball and retro games with drinks and a full kitchen

Speakeasies and mixology bars are great, and we could rave about Denver’s for hours, using lots of words like “challenging” and “curated” and “bespoke.” But what about those casual evenings when you’re in the mood for a solid beer-and-burger combo, no funny business? That’s where The 1UP, Denver’s chain of arcade bars, makes its play.

Like its older siblings in LoDo and Cap Hill, the new Greenwood Village location offers the same impressive array of retro arcade games—from dozens of pinball machines to old-school classics like Galaga and Frogger. It also has a full kitchen with a large selection of appetizers, burgers, and salads, as well as specialty items like the Colorado-style Fried Tacos ($10) and loaded hot dogs ($8 – $10), which come wrapped in bacon, wedged into baked potatoes, and topped with fried eggs. The menu’s ten burgers range from classic options—the Blue Cheese Burger ($12) and the jalapeño-covered Ring “O” Fire ($12)—to more, shall we say, challenging options. (There’s that word, after all.) The Total Carnage Burger ($15) with double meat, jalapeños, habaneros, and ghost peppers is perhaps the hottest burger in town, and The 1Up Donut Burger ($12), an Angus beef patty with bacon and cheese, served on a glazed donut bun, is perhaps the most indulgent.

For drinks, you’ll find more than 22 beers on tap (most of them local), plenty more in cans and bottles, and a nice selection of cocktails. —Andrew Weaver

The 1UP Arcade Bar
6864 S. Clinton Ct., Greenwood Village