There are those who swear that the Beauvallon is cursed -- that there may be no worse location to open a restaurant or bar -- but Bill Kennedy, along with his business partners Dan Woodward and John Wang, are betting that the Beauvallon is ripe for a new tenant, specifically a second outpost of the swanky 9th Door, a Spanish tapas lounge and restaurant that got its start in LoDo eight years ago.
In late October, the second incarnation of that plushy date nook will take up residence in the former Se7en, which, prior to that, was Mr. Coco's Bar & Grill, a weirdly named Mexican restaurant that took the place of the short-lived Marni's Steakhouse and before that, Moe's Southwest Grill.
"That whole curse thing kinda freaks me out," jokes Kennedy, who's very well aware of the number of joints that have opened -- and shuttered -- in that space, but Kennedy, who's enjoyed nothing but success with the LoDo location, insists that the neighborhood surrounding the Beauvallon could benefit from a hangout that appeals to a well-heeled adult crowd that stresses femininity. "From the cushy, padded chairs and gorgeous booths in the dining room to the great mirrors in the bathrooms, the 9th Door LoDo has always been a place where women feel comfortable," says Kennedy, adding that his clientele at the 9th Door has also grown up.
"Our guests have gotten older and matured, and not all of them live downtown -- and may not want to go downtown -- but this space is still urban and close to downtown, Cherry Creek and other great neighborhoods, and there's a whole 30s, 40s and 50s crowd that want a cool place to go that isn't full of young kids, plus we have free covered parking in the lot just adjacent to the restaurant, and that's a big, big plus," he adds.
The new quarters, which are slightly smaller than the LoDo address, will largely resemble the aesthetics of the original: a dramatic design scheme with royal shades of red and gold and pops of magenta. A ten-seat bar, coupled with high-back booths and a few tables will round out the decor.
The menu, a patchwork of Spanish tapas, will also remain true to the 9th Door's culinary culture, and while Kennedy says it might be slightly smaller, he notes that it will also be "edgier" insomuch that chef Kevin Marquet will feature "more creative specials."
And the wine syllabus -- all Spanish and South American bottlings -- as well as the cocktail menu, will be spearheaded by former Jax bartender Tim Harris, who just recently left his post there after close to seventeen years behind the Jax LoDo stick. "I've known Tim since 1999, and he's the best bartender in Denver," says Kennedy, a claim that's echoed by several other local bartenders. "He helped me set up the bar at the original 9th Door, and he's got amazing skills, plus he's just a great guy who knows his stuff inside and out," he adds.
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As for the Beauvallon curse, Kennedy says he and his partners, one of whom owns Drip Coffee, also in Beauvallon, are optimistic: "I love this neighborhood -- it's lively, it's safe and there's a lot of great energy that emanates from the other bars and restaurants, and I think our food, our atmosphere and our drinks will overcome the bad karma that's lingered here in the past," concludes Kennedy.