New Denver Cocktail Bar Pretty Neat Opening on South Broadway | Westword

There's a Pretty Neat New Bar Coming to Broadway, With a Speakeasy Hidden Inside

It will host its grand opening on Black Friday.
Pretty Neat will focus on classic cocktails crafted with care.
Pretty Neat will focus on classic cocktails crafted with care. Xanthus Be Dell
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"My wife likes to say that she's pretty and I'm neat. That's what we're bringing to this place," says Xanthus Be Dell, who will open a new cocktail bar named Pretty Neat at 114 South Broadway on Black Friday.

Be Dell and his wife, Cristy, moved to Denver in May 2021 after years of running large-scale beverage programs for music festivals and other events while based in Los Angeles. "My wife has always been there to help. It's been her and I ever since we started to do this," he notes. "I grew exponentially in that field. I said yes to everything." But he and Cristy had long wanted to move to Colorado; she has family in the state and had visited often while growing up.

The idea remained on the back burner, though, until Be Dell was furloughed during COVID. With live events on pause, he took a professional break, but eventually, he found a consulting opportunity in Denver through a friend.

Shortly after arriving, he connected with Zack Weiss, owner of Gnarly Mountain Cookies. "I met him the same way everyone in Colorado meets Zack — I bought cookies from him," Be Dell says, and it turned out the two had friends in common. Now, Weiss is a partner in Pretty Neat.

Rounding out the small team is Michael "Rooster" Uphoff. "He was my right hand for all of the events and music fests for ten years, and he moved out to Colorado as well," Be Dell notes.
click to enlarge two people sitting in chairs in front of a bookcase
Cristy and Xanthus Be Dell, owners of Pretty Neat.
Xanthus Be Dell
With Pretty Neat, Be Dell is going back to his roots. "My career in the bar world started with craft cocktails," he says, when he worked under famed L.A. barman Aidan Demarest at his bar, Neat, with his "partner in craft" there, Nathan Fletcher. "This is an homage or a wave to the first bar we worked at. It's about getting back to the way we would do it."

Pretty Neat's opening menu is "one of the first cocktail menus that was done at Neat," Be Dell says, and Fletcher is even flying out to help launch it. "It's classic staples that have been popular throughout time" — heavy hitters like the Old Fashioned and Moscow Mule. "This menu is a handshake. It's a way to introduce ourselves."

All drinks will be priced at $12 when made with the bar's well spirits. The focus here is on the craftsmanship itself, Be Dell emphasizes, and making drinks with "love and great skill." The experience is just as important as the drink itself, he adds: "The requirement to be in this circle is that we all want to be here."

The space itself is actually two bars in one. The main bar is on the first floor, in a large open area with a neon sign that reads, "I think you're pretty neat." There's also a large television for watching sports — though this certainly isn't a sports bar. On display will be a rotating canned beer cooler, as well as another cooler showcasing the fresh herbs and other ingredients used for the cocktails. "Everything we make here is made fresh," Be Dell says.
click to enlarge a wooden table with black stools
The "party table" in the loft area at Pretty Neat.
Xanthus Be Dell
There's also a loft outfitted with a floor-to-ceiling bookcase and seating, including a large eight-person table. "Just as you think you've seen the whole bar, you head toward the hallway where the restrooms are, and there's a doorway to another dimly lit, intimate room. It's a speakeasy inside the bar that offers a whole other experience," Be Dell explains.

"We're excited to be able to serve the neighbors," he adds. "This community is really awesome." He's been exploring the area and connecting with the surrounding businesses, including Mutiny Information Cafe, which is where he sourced the books for the loft.

One thing Pretty Neat won't have is an extensive food menu. Guests will be able to order charcuterie as well as hummus with pita, but "we're cocktail folk," Be Dell notes. "If there's really good food down the street, you can go get it and bring it back here. And we will have menus for local restaurants that you can order from and get delivered here."

While craft cocktails are the focus, Be Dell says that he wants Pretty Neat to be "a place for everyone," whether you're in the mood to dress up and party late at night or pop in for a casual afternoon drink. "We are very excited," he concludes.

Pretty Neat is located at 114 South Broadway and will be open from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday starting on Friday, November 24. For more information, follow it on Instagram @prettyneatbar.
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