Bad news for fans of short skirts and big beers: The Tilted Kilt at 16th and Lawrence streets closed its doors on Sunday, February 5, so if you want brews and bar food served by scantily clad girls in plaid, you'll have to head to the chain's two remaining Colorado outposts, in Greeley and Colorado Springs.
Co-owner Mark Voss says the Tabor Center space won't be vacant for long, however. The owners of the Denver Tilted Kilt franchise are remodeling, and in March will roll out a new concept called Burnt Barrel Colorado Spirits & Sports. Breaking away from the corporate model of the past seven years, the Burnt Barrel will focus on all that's great about Colorado, explains co-owner Mark Voss: the sports, the spirits, the suds and the scenery.
But that scenery won't include themed, barely there costumes, according to Voss, who notes that the waitstaff will instead wear modern, sporty attire — and will also be trained to help guests select from the list of more than fifty Colorado beers on tap and in cans and bottles. "People are looking for more of a local experience," he says of the change.
Burnt Barrel will still be a bar for sports fans, but the decor will celebrate those fans and the outdoorsy residents of Colorado, with what Voss calls "lifestyle and action photos" of snowboarders, skiers and Denver Broncos fans celebrating the Super Bowl win, instead of the typical display of autographed sports memorabilia.
Voss adds that the restaurant reboot will focus more on quality ingredients, both behind the bar and from the kitchen. He and his partners have hired a beverage director to ensure quality and consistency from the bar program and staff, and the kitchen will shift more toward Colorado-based ingredients and food. Outside, the Burnt Barrel's patio is receiving upgrades in the form of a more permanent canopy to replace umbrellas.
Despite the bar's 16th Street Mall location, Voss says, tourists and other visitors to the city are only a small part of the customer base he wants to appeal to, noting that downtown's residential population has grown considerably in recent years: "We are looking to be a great place for people who live and work here."
That sounds like a good thing for downtown residents, even if it's not so good for the sexy-costume manufacturing trade.