The Berkeley neighborhood certainly isn't lacking for bars and restaurants. But when the owners of Tennyson's Tap decided to set up shop on West 38th Avenue at the start of the year, they were betting that the neighborhood didn't have another bar like it.
"There are a lot of local bars in the area, but we're trying to get more of the new element that's coming in," says co-owner Bryan Duncan. "There are a lot of people moving in and expanding homes, and those people are all going downtown to eat and drink. We're trying to keep them in the neighborhood."
Tennyson's Tap inhabits a nondescript building that was once home to Baron's, and it's easy to drive past without noticing the new occupant. Larger signage is on the way, Duncan says. And once you get inside, you can't miss the fact that Tennyson's Tap is a bar that specializes not only in Colorado whiskey and brews, but also local art.
"We're all musicians or artists ourselves and we really like what's going on with the Tennyson Street art walk," Duncan says of the owners. "We really like incorporating artwork, and that's something that makes us different than some of the other bars in the area." Right now the walls are decorated with paintings and photography from Metro State (excuse me, Denver State University) students; Tennyson's Tap will feature new artwork each month.
And while right now the bar occasionally features a DJ or acoustic act, the owners are going for a cabaret license so that they can regularly feature live music.
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Despite the emphasis on whiskey and beer, the bartenders appreciate the art of the cocktail, too, and mix up custom cocktails on a regular basis. For now the food menu consists of a creative sandwich list, but salads, appetizers and other items are on the way.
What won't be coming at any point is a fryer. "It's bar food," Duncan admits, "but we don't want it to be as un-healthy as normal bar food," he says.