Openings and Closings

Black Crown Lounge Changes Ownership, Converts Bar to All-Colorado Lineup

The Black Crown Lounge has graced South Broadway with its antique-filled dining room and bar for the past four years, but the charming piano lounge and restaurant set inside a restored mansion has a new owner, Kell Peplau-Kaiser. He's changed the name to The Crown Social and has made other changes as well — most notably, the bar will now feature only Colorado-made spirits, beers and wines. It's a move Peplau-Kaiser says may be a first in Denver, at least on the scale offered at his bar.

The Crown Social is inviting the public to its grand reveal tonight at 6 p.m. where guests can get one free cocktail of $10 or less (or a sampling of up to four spirits). Peplau-Kaiser says he's not going halfway with the new list. "There's no Scotch or tequila," he notes, "because Colorado is not Scotland or Mexico. It was a hard decision, but we wanted to stick with our principles on this." 

The bar will feature Dancing Pines Distillery as its signature line of spirits; Peplau-Kaiser says they'll carry every product the Loveland distillery makes. The beer list — both draft and bottles — is being finalized today in preparation for tonight's event, and the wine list currently encompasses ten reds and eight whites, with Infinite Monkey Theorem malbec and Bookcliff chardonnay as the house red and white. Two Rivers, Jack Rabbit Hill, Silver Vines, Creekside and Ten Bears are among the other Colorado labels.

One thing that hasn't changed is that the Crown Social will still double as an antique shop, with curios and furniture on display throughout the space. The new owner (who took possession in early February and has been slowly transitioning the space to his vision) has pared down the collection and organized it into themed galleries; one room, for example, features only Asian antiques. 

The Crown Social opens Tuesday through Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. with a bottomless piano brunch featuring mimosas and a Bloody Mary bar; one price will allow you to drink either or both. Peplau-Kaiser plans to expand hours in mid-May to offer lunch beginning at 11 a.m. daily, but for now, the kitchen offers a dinner menu that has also been pared down from the the previous roster with the help of Mark Cameron, one of the Black Crown's founders who still has a minority ownership stake.

"The Black Crown opened the door to chapter two of this concept," explains Peplau-Kaiser. "We want to honor that foundation."

The Crown Social will expand the music program, too, featuring upbeat jazz and blues trios and quartets with a house band. Peplau-Kaiser has also partnered with two local music schools to bring in student bands from 5 to 6:30 on Tuesday through Thursday, with a second music set with featured artists from 8 to 11 p.m.

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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