Star-tender Sean Kenyon had all of his cocktail recipes ready to go for the late July opening of the Occidental, a cocktail bar that would have taken over the Squeaky Bean, which closed last month when owner Johnny Ballen and his landlord -- ARV Holdings, the entity run by the Aguirre family, who own Rosa Linda's, the Bean's next-door neighbor -- couldn't hash out a lease agreement.
Ballen and his crew planned to reopen the Squeaky Bean in another location and turn the existing Highland space into a swank cocktail lounge spearheaded by Kenyon, but last week, lease negotiations again broke down between Ballen and the Aguirres, and, as a result, the Occidental won't be opening after all -- at least not there.
And that means that the staff is looking for interim jobs to tide them over until the Squeaky Bean and the Occidental find homes. Kenyon landed a position at Euclid Hall -- and he started behind-the-bar training earlier today.
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"It's unfortunate that it didn't work out, but until the Bean reopens, and we find another space to open the Occidental -- which we're definitely going to do somewhere, because we love the idea -- I'll be behind the bar at Euclid three or four nights a week," says Kenyon, adding that Euclid Hall owner/chef Jennifer Jasinski and her business partner, Beth Gruitch, have extended temporary positions at Euclid, Rioja and Bistro Vendome, all of which are owned by Jasinksi, to several Squeaky Bean employees.
For his part, Kenyon, who's renowned for his craftsmanship with cocktails, doesn't intend to overhaul Euclid's existing syllabus."There's really not a ton to fix," he notes. "We'll do some tweaking here and there, and there will be more concentration on the technique and preparation of classic cocktails and their formulas -- but, really, we're just going to have some fun behind the bar," he adds.
Euclid, of course, already lays claim to one of the best beer programs in Denver, so it's no surprise that Kenyon and the Euclid bar clan will play around with beer cocktails, too. "There's already an amazing beer program in place here, so we're going to take advantage of that and create some great beer cocktails, as well," says Kenyon.