Kentucky Inn Reopens After Extensive Remodel

The stroller parked outside of the Kentucky Inn is evidence of a changing clientele.
The stroller parked outside of the Kentucky Inn is evidence of a changing clientele. Mark Antonation
The Kentucky Inn, one of the oldest bars in the Washington Park West neighborhood, closed in July for a remodel and the installation of a new kitchen. As with every other construction project in the city, this one stretched on, but the wait is finally over. The bar, which originally opened in 1954 at 890 South Pearl Street, unveiled its new look and menu on Saturday, December 16.

Just over a year ago, the neighborhood bar sold to a new ownership group that included restaurateur Richard Salturelli, who made a few changes at the time but kept the place open while bigger plans were being drawn up. The ownership group now includes Jim Armstrong, Fred Cooke, Neel Sahni and Greg Socha, who kicked off the remodel and expansion in July, including taking over an old dry-cleaning shop next door. Inside, decades of cigarette-smoke stains were scrubbed away, new floors and wood paneling were installed, and a billiards room was added at the back.

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The masonry behind the bar is original, but it's been scrubbed of its layer of cigarette smoke.
Mark Antonation
The original Kentucky Inn never had much of a kitchen, but the expansion comes with a menu of bar favorites and a few Southern specialties to match the Kentucky theme. Salturelli also owns CityPub and has past or current ties to CityGrille, the Cherry Cricket and the Blake Street Tavern, so burgers and green chile are part of the Inn's repertoire. But there's also pimento cheese, smoked wings and a Kentucky hot brown sandwich (an open-faced turkey sandwich smothered in brown gravy or your choice of queso or green chile).

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Inside the refurbished Kentucky Inn, which still maintains much of its neighborhood charm.
Mark Antonation
With the relaunch of the famous old bar, the Kentucky Inn is unlikely to land on our list of Denver's best dive bars (as it had in years past), but as the neighborhood has evolved and attracted young families, its watering holes must keep up with the changes.

The Kentucky Inn is now open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week. Call 303-778-9600 or visit the bar's website for more information.
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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation