As far as I know, there are only two restaurants in Gunbarrel on their own pad: Element Bistro and Burger King. I’ve never been to Burger King and probably never will go there, so I don’t think I’ll ever review it. Element Bistro I have been to maybe four times.
“Bistro” is correct: The menu is limited, although some of the items are interesting. The food is OK, and I doubt that anyone goes there for the food. Can’t speak about the wine list, but the beer list is above average for Gunbarrel, with a bunch of local draft beers. (With five breweries in Gunbarrel, you wouldn’t go to Element Bistro for the beer.)
The downstairs is a large, very plain room, and not particularly attractive. But, if you’re having dinner with friends and your attention is on them, it probably doesn’t matter.
The roof is much, much better. It overlooks the commercial buildings west of 63rd St., the Diagonal highway, and the railroad tracks, but there’s a great view of the mountains in the distance. And it’s fun when a train comes by.
There’s a bar on the roof, and a bunch of tables, some of which are under cover. (The cover wasn’t there when the place first opened; we got rained on and had to move downstairs.)
We went there once with friends to hear Girls on Top, a popular cover band that we also heard in Niwot at Rock & Rails (which is terrific). There was a $10 per person charge (not a minimum, but a charge), which might have been why the crowd was thin. It was a little spooky to listen to such a high-powered group with only about 15 or 20 other people.
It seems like Element Bistro hasn’t yet found its formula. Only the roof really works, and I don’t think they’re booking the right musical groups, although that opinion is based on only one data point. (The Laughing Goat in Boulder books really interesting groups, and you just tip.)
I’m sure we’ll go back, but only in weather good enough so we can sit on the roof deck. I can’t say whether we’d pay $10 per person for music. Maybe if we’re in the mood. As far as I know, there’s very little live music in Gunbarrel anywhere else.