The squat brick building at 3763 Wynkoop Street has seen more than its share of spilled beers and full dish pits in its decades of life as everything from a skid-row dive bar to a daring and edgy dining spot. But the property sold to a new owner on October 16, and will likely never serve as a restaurant or neighborhood watering hole again.
City property records show that the land and building sold for $2.5 million, quite a jump compared to the last sale of $388,732 in 2002. Since that 2002 sale, a string of businesses have occupied the space, including Wynkoop 38 Tavern & Grill (originally just the Wynkoop Grill); a Polish restaurant called Hospoda that served pierogies and green chile for a couple of years starting in 2008; Fat Bros. Bar & Grill, which took over in 2011; and Rebel Restaurant, which served some of Denver's most innovative fare from 2015 to 2018.
The former Rebel building's history stretches back still further; a ghost sign with the words "Flynn's Inn Mixed Drinks" was barely visible on the weathered brick exterior when Rebel first opened. And long before Flynn's, a larger building that held a grocery store and pool hall occupied the property.
Rebel still had two years remaining on its lease when it closed in August, and Nocturne owners Nicole and Scott Mattson had planned on moving a natural wine bar called Noble Riot into the space. But with the sale of the property, they're now looking for a new location, as they shared on the Noble Riot Facebook page:
"Because of the landlord and buyers inflexibility in providing approval of the sublease along with new knowledge about potential environment remediation requirements (the irony of potentially opening a natural wine bar on such a site isn’t lost on us), Noble Riot isn’t going to be taking over the Rebel Restaurant space after all. We’re already looking at other locations and will keep you posted on the journey. Expect a few pop-ups along the way as we gain more inspiration and test new ideas."
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The gritty edge of an industrial district doesn't seem like a great place to locate your business, but just across the street, The Butcher Block Cafe has been serving great cinnamon rolls and other diner eats for more than thirty years.
Elsewhere in the neighborhood, though, other saloons and dive bars are going or gone. The former home of Phil's Place just sold for $1.4 million so that owners Gary and Junie Garcia could retire; the bar just reopened as the Embassy Tavern — for now. The Welcome Inn, at 3759 Chestnut Place, is listed on the market for a defiant $5,299,999 — a number that seemed ridiculous until this month's Rebel sale.
With this kind of money changing hands, redevelopment of the property seems likely, so look for more construction dust in the neighborhood, and more apartments for transplants looking to live in the city's new hot zone — for everything but neighborhood bars.