Class Is in Session at School House Kitchen & Libations in Arvada

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Scott Spears, Arvada native and owner of Scrumptious Ice Cream, just opened School House Kitchen and Libations on Tuesday in Olde Town Arvada in a former school house originally built in 1882. The spacious bar and restaurant features a towering bar of whiskeys with bottles that line shelves all the way up to the vaulted ceiling, decor made from reclaimed school furnishings, and a menu of American classics with a nod to childhood comfort dishes.

See also: Two Rivers Coffee in Arvada Reopens After Move to Larger Cafe

General Manager Seth Murty, a veteran of Udi's (now Silvi's Kitchen), Central Bistro and other Denver eateries, says School House is embracing its Arvada neighborhood. "We're not Denver, we know that -- and we love it," he states.

Still, with a bar boasting more than 475 different whiskeys (putting it among the top in the country), a fun, open and airy atmosphere that encourages socializing, and plenty of space to spread out, with 6,000 square feet encompassing the bar, dining room and upstairs lounge, Denverites should be envious of Arvada's newest attraction.

The highlight of the menu is a list of build-your-own entrees -- "Varsity" flatbreads, "Collegiate" burgers and "Short Bus" mac 'n cheese -- with more than 50 toppings that customers can add. Murty says the restaurant will be running contests on the School House Facebook page to see who can build the best combo, which will then be added to the specials board.

"We wanted to have a menu that would appeal to a wide range of guests," adds Murty. Among a list of dinner plates covering barbecue pork ribs, lasagnetti and spanakopita, Murty points out the half boneless chicken stuffed with prosciutto, sage and Parmesan as one of his favorites from chef Steven Baker's kitchen.

Bar manager Drew Smith, also Arvada born and raised, notes that in addition to whiskey, he also stocks 25 beers on tap and another 25 in cans and bottles, listed of course on a menu that resembles a multiple-choice Scantron quiz. Bar-table tops are painted with elements from Chemistry class; Smith says they could actually be pushed together to form an accurate periodic table.

The bar top itself sports 4,100 yellow number 2 pencils laid out in a grid under a layer of clear resin. Other schoolhouse decor includes reclaimed card catalogs, filing cabinets, bar stools made from cafeteria chairs, old typewriters, a gym locker and the metal frame from the inside of a grand piano.

School House Kitchen and Libations is open from 11 a..m to 11 p.m. daily, but Murty notes that hours may extend later if there are customers. "At our soft opening on Saturday, there were people in here until 1 a.m.," he notes.

Continue on for more photos from Arvada's new School House Kitchen and Libations.

Continue on for more photos from Arvada's new School House Kitchen and Libations.

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.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.