Ghost Plate & Tap has one of the most unique bar programs in the city, thanks mostly to the Coupe Bar, a second bar inside the restaurant where any local bartender can work a guest shift. And their cocktails often end up on the Ghost Plate's regular drink list, where the authoring bartender is given credit, and it definitely makes for one of the interesting and collaborative amalgamations of mixology that we've seen.
And starting this week, that beverage program, which grew organically, will get a new direction and purpose: Tara Curry, who has worked behind the stick at Star Bar and Adrift, is coming in as Ghost Plate's first bar manager.
"The Coupe Bar is kind of starting to take off," Curry explains. "We have a general manager, and she was overseeing the bar, too. But they wanted someone to focus on the bar and focus on the Coupe Bar. I've been here a couple of days a week, and I thought it would be a great opportunity so I jumped on it."
Curry says a lot of her attention will be devoted to continuing to build the Coupe Bar. "We want to consistently book the Coupe Bar every weekend night," she says, adding that she'll also partner with brands to have Coupe Bar nights focused around specific spirits.
And to do that, she'll continue to give area bartenders incentive to pull guest shifts at the spot, the biggest of which is a quarterly cocktail contest with a cash prize of $300. "When someone works the Coupe bar, they submit their recipes," Curry explains. "We take everyone that's worked the Coupe for the quarter, and we judge their drinks and pick a winner." The winning bartender walks away with the cash, and if they donate any of it, BW Holdings -- Ghost Plate's parent company -- and Southern Wine & Spirits both make a matching donation to the same organization.
The winning drink also goes on the quarterly cocktail list, along with other favorites culled from Coupe Bar guest stars, which Curry says is a way to give recognition where it's due. "A lot of really talented people who work in this industry aren't writing their own lists," she notes. "We see this as opportunity to give some people credit who deserve it."
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Curry will also try to offer a variety of beverage education opportunities for the public at Ghost Plate. "We want to do beer dinners, Scotch dinners, whiskey dinners and tequila dinners," she says. "I want to embrace the spirits out there and educate the public about them. And I want to educate on beer and beer cocktails, which are relatively new to the general public."
And of course, the bartender will be contributing her own drinks to the list -- which she's just starting to work on now. "We just redid the list a month ago," she says. "But I've already started working on the next one."
You can find Curry at Ghost Plate full time starting this week.