On Thursday, after several years lying dormant, Denver's historic Colorado National Bank building, originally built in 1915 and still one of the most stunning architectural structures in the Mile High City, will reopen as the Renaissance Denver Hotel, a multi-storied masterpiece that features futuristic hotel rooms and a new restaurant called Range, which ballyhoos executive chef Paul Nagan's "modern interpretation of Colorado cuisine built around live wood-fired cooking, a charcoal grill and smoker."
The space, created to mimic a modern day whiskey saloon, defies the usual suspect hotel restaurant (and even has its own separate street entrance), and the result is a gorgeously appointed homage to the American West, complete with rough-hewn barn wood, rich leather accents, ebony hardwood floors, a glass art installation that's a collection of welded horseshoes, all of which were procured in Colorado, and a custom-printed mirror that hangs above the bar and showcases an abstract of a cowboy, his horse and his lasso.
In addition, live-edge community tables, constructed from walnut, are complemented by a lounge area strewn with rusticated leather sofas, and near the interior entrance, there's an open kitchen area with a wood-fired oven, from which many of Nagan's dishes emerge, including his blistered padron peppers punctuated with bits of habanero-bacon; oval-shaped, bubbling flatbreads crowned with housemade chorizo or smoked bacon jam; and his jadori chicken, plated with a panzanella salad. "I'm taking what's local and seasonal and applying the techniques of the American West to my cooking and giving the plates a modern presentation," explains Nagan, who's also doing his own pickling and preserving.
Nagan's menu is augmented by a craft-cocktail scroll, a well-rounded list of wines, four of which are kegged wines from Infinitely Monkey Theorem, and an all-Colorado beer list that includes a pre-prohibition-style cream ale called Countinghouse that's brewed exclusively for Range by Former Future Brewing Company.
Range opens for dinner service on Thursday night, and following that, it'll serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, along with a bar menu. Here's a first peek at the space, the cocktails and the food.