Music, great food, libations and local art -- that's the mantra of Cold Crush, a new venue opening April 20 in Ballpark at 2700 Larimer Street. The all-in-one package, run by model and DJ Cassie Stevens and three guys obsessed with music and art -- general manager Eric Cunningham, owner Brian Mathenge and Mu$a Bailey, a local musician, DJ and producer -- is inspired by the late-70s hip-hop group Cold Crush Brothers.
See also: - Former Frasca Food and Wine pros will open Lower48 restaurant in Ballpark this fall - Brian Laird opening Sarto's, a restaurant and pantry, this fall in Jefferson Park - Tony Maciag and Justice League of Street Food pioneer Delores Tronco opening Work & Class on Upper Larimer this fall
Mathenge, who also owns Killer Shrimp restaurant in Marina Del Rey, California, says the space, bedecked with a red brick bar and walls wooded with beetle-kill pine, is an "artist's haven, a place where artists, poets, musicians and those who appreciate their work can meet, mingle and eat great food."
Cunningham, who, along with the a few of the other partners, grew up in the neighborhood, adds that they wanted to open a spot that embraced the community in which they spent their childhood. "We're always down here and have major ties with this neighborhood -- we're from here and think that this is a perfect place to celebrate how much we love this area," he says.
The exterior, muraled with kaleidoscopic graffiti depicting a music motif, is the work of Scot Lefavor, a local artist, and his paintings, along with those of other local artists, will hang inside the space, rotating every three months. "Lots of places hang art and sell it -- and call themselves an art bar -- but our vision is for Cold Crush to be a part of the local community," says Mathenge. The mural, like the interior art, will also change quarterly, and only one artist's work will be represented at any one time. "This isn't a bar and restaurant that will have 1,000 pieces on show -- it's a showcase for one individual artist, and we're excited to have all these kids who have amazing art in their basements to have an opportunity to highlight their work," echoes Cunningham.
In addition to art, Mu$a will spin tunes from every genre, and also hire local bands and guest musicians.
And the menu, created by Sterling Robinson of Billy's Inn, will play along in tune, focusing on everything but deep-fried bar grub. "We might be a bar, but this is going to be a bar with really good, fresh, homemade food," says Cunningham. Expect everything from hummus and mussels to Tuscan beef stew and shrimp scampi, along with several desserts, including carrot cake and sweet potato-pecan pie; there's a juice bar, too.
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Cold Crush will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and the kitchen will stay open until the lights go down. "You'll be able to eat until you walk out of here," quips Cunningham.