Sean Kenyon, who recently left his bar manager post at Steuben's, 523 East Seventeenth Avenue, just snagged a new gig slinging drinks behind the bar of the Squeaky Bean, Johnny Ballen's irreverent food temple and watering hole at 3301 Tejon Street.
Not surprisingly, Kenyon, one of the state's most talented cocktail czars, was flooded with offers, but after meeting with Ballen on Wednesday, Kenyon didn't have to think twice about his decision. "This was the place that matched my personality more than anywhere else," Kenyon tells me. "I love this bar, I love the vibe, I love the people and I knew immediately it was the right place for me."
The cocktologist, who leaves for Boston on Monday to take a master class in sherry, and then jets off to Chicago to train with Olmeca, a Mexico-based tequila company that just released Olmeca Altos, a 100 percent agave tequila, and for whom Kenyon is the Denver brand ambassador, will start busting out drinks at the Bean on Friday, October 15. "I can't wait to get behind the bar again," says Kenyon, who took a few practice runs last night. "I want to keep cocktail culture accessible to people, and the cocktail program here already has a good basis, but we're going to kick it up a notch by moving into seasonal cocktails and refining the spirits list so that it's more of a boutique selection."
For his part, Ballen, who's enlarging the Bean's quarters and kitchen, spearheaded by superstar exec chef Max MacKissock, early next year, couldn't be happier. "I think this is the perfect fit for what we do here. We want to expand the cocktail program and the space and, in turn, grow to become a better restaurant, and Sean will be a great complement to what we're planning to do," explains Ballen.
Kenyon will be behind the bar at the Bean four nights a week, Wednesday through Saturday.
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