Sunday, February 2, it was Seattle versus Denver going head-to-head in the Super Bowl. Leading up to the football game of the year, residents of each city were playing full-on defense for the virtues of their hometown. Beyond the trash talk, the truth is that, as cities, they're similar – great places to get outdoors, drink beer, eat well, and catch a concert. They're roughly the same size: As of 2012, the difference in their respective population counts was only 271 souls, with Seattle in the lead. And they both have excellent craft beer scenes, acclaimed restaurants, beautiful scenery, die-hard fans, and legal weed. The only question is which one deserves our – and your – allegiance.
To make a tricky decision easier, we pitted each city's subcultures against each other, asking the experts who live there to make the case for local superiority in six arenas that deeply affect a man's quality of life. Predictably, competition was fierce.
Growers versus enthusiasts
Denver: Marijuana became legal in both Washington and Colorado after the November 2012 election, but only the latter offers retail sales in the same manner as alcohol. "Colorado government and businesses really hustled, and that's why we were able to open on January 1," says Denver Post Marijuana Editor Ricardo Baca, whose title is a tribute to local enthusiasm. "Washington won't be open for months." But the real insult is this: Denver has more dispensaries than Starbucks. Take that Seattle.
Seattle: It's still illegal to grow your own plants in Washington, and without the retail sales, enthusiasts shouldn't book their plane tickets just yet. Still, those who enjoy the recreation are having fun with it. "Pot use is not at all pervasive in the beer business, but a handful of our best brewers are not at all shy about their appreciation of the stuff," Jones says. "Redhook Ale Brewery and Hilliard's Beer Company collaborated to brew a beer called Joint Effort. The tap handle is actually fashioned out of a bong."
Credit: Craig F. Walker / The Denver Post / Getty Images