Hush speakeasy event gives a glimpse of what's to come

With cocktail culture exploding in this town, it's only a matter of time before a crop of speakeasies infiltrates the drinking scene, using storefronts and mundane delis to disguise hidden, dimly lit caverns of revelers imbibing pre-Prohibition libations long into the wee hours.

Hush Denver, the not-so-secret supper club that holds dining events throughout Denver, brought a preview of that last night, hosting an event called Shhhhh in an unfinished office space next to Colt & Gray, 1553 Platte Street.

Colt & Gray barman Kevin Burke was on hand, as was former TAG tender Mike Henderson, fresh from spending a few days at New York City's famous bar, PDT, and making his first Colorado appearance since his departure from Larimer Square. Together, the pair turned out three rounds of cocktails, beginning with champagne and ending with Fernet, while women in flapper costumes and men in fedoras snacked on celery mousse and salted peaches served in Asian soup spoons and socialized beneath films of the 1920s, projected silently on the sparse walls.

"Denver's first speakeasy," Burke said with a coy smile, as he poured a classic Tom Collins, made from gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and soda, into a tall glass.

It's unlikely that forthcoming speakeasies will feel like this; high catering tables will be exchanged for low seats, sleek bars will take the place of makeshift mixing stands, and the entire affair will likely be shrouded in more secrecy.

Still, Shhhhh was a glimpse of the next wave, and proof that crowds will gather in spots dedicated to cocktail craft. We predict it won't be long before events like this give way to the real thing.

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