When Death & Co. opened, this mile-long stretch was already home to American Bonded, as well as many more cocktail bars.EXPAND
When Death & Co. opened, this mile-long stretch was already home to American Bonded, as well as many more cocktail bars.
Danielle Lirette

Reader: Denver Is an Amazing Cocktail City!

When Death & Co opened this spring inside the Ramble, a hip new RiNo hotel, the national media pronounced that Denver's time behind the bar might finally have arrived, and a CNTraveler.com headlined pronounced, “Death and Co.'s Arrival May Turn Denver Into a Cocktail City.” But as longtime bartender/entrepreneur Sean Kenyon points out, Denver was turning into a cocktail city more than a decade ago. In fact, Death & Co's landed in the middle of what we've dubbed the "Mixology Mile," a stretch of RiNo full of cocktail bars, including Curio Bar (inside Denver Central Market), Greenlight Lab, Finn's Manor, Bar Fausto, Pon Pon Bar,  American Bonded (Kenyon's latest venture), Bar Helix, RiNo Yacht Club and Millers & Rossi.

Looks like cocktails arrived in Denver some time ago.

Asks Amy: 

If RiNo is awash in cocktail bars, why is it so hard to find a seat at one? On my last visit there, I came away high and dry.

Says Michele:

 I 100% agree. Denver IS an amazing cocktail city.

However, as far as the dining scene goes, one of the things that drives me crazy about the dining is the trying to be like the "big" cities.

Just give me a good priced steak, potatoes and a fucking vegetable (which seem to no longer exist). It seems ridiculous that I have to go to the chain "The Black Eyed Pea" to get a vegetable on my plate. I'm tired of every joint being burgers, pizza, or pretentious, and the next person that tries to put kale on my plate is gonna feel a wrath far beyond a woman's scorn, lol.

BUT, we're a damn amazing cocktail city!

Responds Joe: 

A night in RiNo can be fun, but sometimes you just want a drink, you know? That's when it's time to go to a neighborhood bar. Fortunately, my neighborhood has a great one. (And I'm keeping it a secret.)

But then there's this from Ingrid: 

Denver is no longer Denver and Colorado will not be Colorado before long. We are about nature, conservation, and simplicity!! This capitalistic bullshit that has become so pervasive is a real travesty. 

Keep reading for some of our recent coverage of the cocktail scene.

Sean Kenyon at Occidental, one of his Denver bars.
Sean Kenyon at Occidental, one of his Denver bars.

"Denver Is Already a Cocktail City!"

Reader: Denver Is an Amazing Cocktail City!EXPAND
Danielle Lirette

"First Look: Death & Co Opens Inside the Ramble Hotel"

A drink at Greenlight Lab.EXPAND
A drink at Greenlight Lab.
Danielle Lirette

"Hit These Ten Cocktail Bars Along Denver's Mixology Mile"

The rebirth of cocktails in Denver began around 2005, mostly in restaurants where "thoughtful bartenders were teaming up with and learning from their chefs about flavor pairings, making syrups, aromatizing spices, etc.," writes Kenyon. "They dove into history and learned about the 150-year-old recipes and techniques. I am extremely lucky to have been bartending in Denver during this period of time."

The Colorado Bartenders Guild was established a decade ago, in 2008. Currently, there are over 200 active members sharing tips and idea.

In 2011, Green Russell debuted as the first new dedicated craft-cocktail bar in Denver. Eight months later, Kenyon opened Williams & Graham. Since then, over 25 cocktail-centric bars have opened in the city, many of them earning national attention. Williams & Graham, for example, was named one of the World’s Top 50 Bars in 2015 by Drinks International magazine, and Best American Cocktail Bar at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards in 2016. And it's not even in RiNo!

What do you think of Denver's cocktail scene? Post a comment or send a note to cafe@westword.com.

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