Arvada's Bar and Restaurant Scene Is Taking Off

Teocalli's cochinita pipil tacos are coming to Olde Town Arvada.
Teocalli's cochinita pipil tacos are coming to Olde Town Arvada. Courtesy of Teocallli Cocina

Over the past decade, Arvada's downtown revitalization has turned a once-shabby section of blocks into a vibrant retail district, and much of that has been done without sacrificing Olde Town's architectural history. With the arrival of more high-density housing (even if some of it stands out as Arvada fugly) and a light-rail station on the G Line, many of the new businesses in the district are restaurants and bars, eager to feed suburban hunger for more eating options.

There were a few misfires and losses along the way, however. Braun Taphouse looked to be a winner but didn't work out, though its eventual replacement, Homegrown Tap & Dough, has shown staying power. The Arvada Beer Company fizzled out in 2016, but since then, New Image Restaurant & Brewery and Denver Beer Co. have come along to keep beer taps flowing. And Arvada even has its own hard seltzer company (a seltzery, if you will) in Elevated Seltzer.

Ophelia's, an old-school Mexican standby, became a casualty in 2017; it had been there for more than forty years. But the address is now home to So Radish, which still pours beers and dishes out comfort food, even if it's entirely vegan. Other recent arrivals, such as Schoolhouse Kitchen & Libations, the Bluegrass and Flying Pig Burger Co., have come along to bolster old favorites like Rheinlander Bakery and the 12 Volt Tavern.

Keeping track of changes has been tough during the pandemic, but so far it appears that most of Olde Town Arvada's bars and restaurants have made it through — with help from downtown boosters and city officials, who launched the Arvada Resiliency Taskforce to ensure that businesses would emerge strong from the pandemic. Kline's Beer Hall and the Cereal Box were two that didn't make it, but Kline's was owned by Lenka Juchelkova and Mike Huggins, who also run the Arvada Tavern, and they may be reopening Kline's in the Cereal Box location (since Huggins owns the building).

Olde Town Arvada isn't the only part of the city experiencing growth. The Candelas development in northwest Arvada, which borders the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, will also soon see a surge of new eateries and watering holes. Here are some of Arvada's recent arrivals and other eateries on the way:

Bluegrass Candelas
18068 West 92nd Lane, Arvada

Sheena and Drew Gordon opened the original Bluegrass Coffee & Bourbon Lounge at 7415 Grandview Avenue in Olde Town Arvada in 2015, banking on foot traffic from the light-rail station across the street. And while the G Line was a little late in getting started, the coffee, bourbon and pizza bar flourished. The couple now has a second Bluegrass at Candelas, which they opened last October. This Bluegrass joined Resolute Taproom & Cellar, a spinoff of Centennial's Resolute Brewing Co., which opened at Candelas in 2019.
click to enlarge Missing micheladas in Arvada Cochino Taco will soon be pouring. - LAURA SHUNK
Missing micheladas in Arvada Cochino Taco will soon be pouring.
Laura Shunk
Cochino Taco
7702 Ralston Road, Arvada

Last fall, restaurateur Johnny Ballen took over a 1950s-era Texaco station that was most recently 4Barrel Bar & Barbecue, where he'll soon open his third location of Cochino Taco (after the original in Englewood and the second at 176 South Broadway). The original estimate for opening was sometime this spring, so margaritas and Kip Winger cocktails should definitely be pouring on the patio this summer.

Freedom Street Food Hall
15177 Candelas Parkway, Arvada

Candelas will soon have its own multi-vendor food hall, but details are slim on which vendors will be there. The project's social media is currently showing April 1 as a potential opening date, but construction doesn't look far enough along for that to happen.

Lot Que
13730 West 85th Drive

Arvada neighbors Jaime Miles and Josh Timon opened Lot One at 13730 West 85th Drive in the newish Village of Five Parks shopping center in 2019, and they're following up that neighborhood bistro with Lot Que, a smokehouse with an Ole Hickory pit at its heart. Current plans call for it to debut in May in the same shopping center as Lot One.
click to enlarge The Stockroom and Spirits Wine Provisions have your drinkng needs covered, either at home or at the speakeasy bar. - COURTESY OF THE STOCKROOM
The Stockroom and Spirits Wine Provisions have your drinkng needs covered, either at home or at the speakeasy bar.
Courtesy of the Stockroom
The Stockroom
5713 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada

The Stockroom is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar that opened in February in the former Primo Vino space. Wedged between So Radish and Rheinlander Bakery, its rough-hewn interior currently only has a few tables — and, as at a true speakeasy, landing one isn't as easy as just picking up the phone. Hit up the Stockroom's email (listed on Facebook) for hours, details and reservations (just make sure you don't land on the page of the bondage gear company of the same name, unless you're into that). The Stockroom is located inside Spirits Wine Provisions; the shop is owned by Emelye Adler and the speakeasy is operated by owner Casey Adler and managing partner Jeremy Duffy.

Teocalli Cocina
5770 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada

Teocalli, under executive chef Julio Gaspar, opened in Lafayette in 2019, and now owner Grant Hopfenspirger is filling the former Griff's Burgers space in Olde Town Arvada with a second Teocalli. Hopfenspirger is the son of the founders of Gunther Toody's; he also opened Zig Zag Smokin' Burgers and the Meatball Eatery in a former Gunther Toody's in Centennial. A spokesperson for Teocalli says construction is in the early stages, but the Mexican restaurant should be ready to open in late summer or early fall.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation