The RiNo Art District got its first boutique hotel with the opening of the Ramble at 1280 25th Street last weekend. And with it came a complete food and beverage program from acclaimed New York City cocktail pioneer Death & Co.
Your first thought might be "Great — another out-of-town interloper trying to show Denver how it's done back east." But that's not the goal of Death & Co co-founder David Kaplan and partner Alex Day. Instead, they've hired a team that's 90 percent local, created a whole new cocktail menu exclusive to the Denver Death & Co, and reimagined the dark, intimate East Village bar as an opulent, wide-open space where the bar, dining areas, cafe and hotel lobby flow seamlessly, with no clear delineations.
While this is the first Death & Co outside of New York City, Kaplan and Day have launched ventures in Los Angeles and now Denver, so they're accustomed to adapting their vision to a new audience. "We're not building a New York Bar in Denver; we're building a Denver bar," Day explains.
He also points out similarities between Manhattan's East Village when the original Death & Co opened eleven years ago and the RiNo neighborhood now. "It was a little bit on the fringe of things, and that energy is something we really loved," he notes. "This neighborhood has that really exciting energy and flow."
Whether you're a guest at the hotel or are just stopping by for food and drinks, there are several options available throughout the day. DC/AM is the breakfast side of Death & Co, with a coffee bar in the lobby for espresso drinks, pastries, topped toasts, breakfast bowls and sandwiches, and a few larger plates for heartier appetites. The only room service at the Ramble will come from DC/AM from 6 to 9 a.m. daily; guests can order from tablets in their rooms (since there are no land lines in the hotel).
If you're looking for booze, pull up a stool at the Death & Co bar, where you can thumb through six pages of cocktails, with different beverage styles — from "Fresh & Lively" to "Boozy & Honest" — on each page. A small wine list and a handful of draft beers round out the list.
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Food options range from snacks to steaks, but don't expect standard bar fare; burrata, hamachi crudo and Persian cucumber stuffed with beans and pine nuts take the place of familiar wings and rings. Family-style plates designed for two or three diners include striped bass, lamb saddle and roast chicken. Seating may feel a little ambiguous at first, but there are plush booths tucked in along the windows, cozy nooks for something a little more intimate, and breezy lounge areas where you can settle into a comfy armchair with a cocktail.
Beyond the lobby, there's also a mezzanine bar called Suite 6A that will open soon as a more private, reservation-based spot for drinks (though some seats will be held for walk-ins) and a second-floor garden patio that will have its own drinks list. The hotel also has a music and events venue called Vauxhaul that will host entertainment as well as private soirées.
The Ramble Hotel is the project of Ryan Diggins of Gravitas, a development company that also built the shipping-container complex across the street that houses Work & Class, Cart-Driver and Port Side. This weekend, the Work & Class team — Tony Maciag, Tabatha Knop and chef Dana Rodriguez — will open Super Mega Bien, their new pan-Latin American eatery that's also located inside the hotel.
For more photos of the Ramble Hotel and Death & Co, see our complete slideshow.