For the past year, under sexy lighting in TAG's chic modern dining room, Troy Guard has put out his particular brand of East meets West fusion,while Mike Henderson and his staff of mixologists craft equally flashy spirits concoctions to pair.
There's a changing of the guard under way, though: Henderson has put in his notice.
"Mike's been with us since the beginning," says Leigh Sullivan-Guard, Troy's wife, who, together with her husband, worked with Francesco Lanfraconi, director of mixology for Southern Wine & Spirits of America, to find Henderson. "He's helped us define our spirits program and give it vision. But now we have the opportunity to dial it in and take it to the next level."
Henderson's departure will coincide with the exit of another TAG bartender, Jared Boller, who's leaving the restaurant to pursue mixology in New York City.
"The opportunity to pursue my own thing presented itself, and I have to go for it at this point," says Henderson, who joins the sudden rash of Front Range mixologists with their own projects on their plates.
He won't yet share where he's headed after his last day at the restaurant in mid-June, but the Guards don't seem worried, noting that they're seeking someone innovative and new to fill the barman's shoes.
"We wish him nothing but success," says Sullivan-Guard. "At TAG, we've got a hell of a stage to showcase big talent. We're excited for what's next."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.