Cafe Society

Tavern Hospitality Group Takes on Chopper's, Opening Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Monday

Get ready for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, the latest watering hole from Tavern Hospitality Group. But the spot, which officially opens January 19 in the up-and-coming Prospect Park, right at 29th Avenue and Huron Street, is not another Tavern -- though it has a great rooftop deck, a Tavern hallmark. Instead, it's a new kind of neighborhood gathering place, with an emphasis on whiskey (and lots of it) and a small but smart menu created by Justin Brunson of Masterpiece Deli and Old Major. See also: Tavern Platt Park Will Finally Start Construction in January 2014 And the name? Technically, whiskey tango foxtrot are the NATO phonetic alphabet names for the letters W, T and F -- although WTF has come to have a different meaning today.

"The focus of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot will be on craft whiskeys and beers, handcrafted cocktails, and craveable flat top food while delivering exceptional quality and service in a fun, upbeat and social atmosphere," said the WTF employment ad late last year. "Individuals must be passionate about providing guests with a unique, exceptional drinking and dining experience."

The space is indeed upbeat, but also more intimate than at the official Taverns, with cozy, teal-colored booths and photo murals that recall Denver in the '30s and '40s.

But Frank Schultz and company aren't giving up on the Tavern concept. In fact, construction continues on the Tavern Platt Park, which is going up where India's Pearl once stood on South Pearl Street; after several delays, THG is shooting for a May opening.

In the meantime, the group has also taken on Chopper's Sports Grill at 80 South Madison Street, an address that hosted the legendary Rick's Cafe back in the '70s. (President Jimmy Carter once stopped in the fern bar to see its solar-powered dishwasher.) According to Schultz, the company plans to keep the name -- it's named for Bob "Chopper" Travaglini, the late, beloved Denver Nuggets trainer -- and the sports orientation but improve the bar and the food. And Chopper's already had one unbeatable amenity that made the location almost impossible to turn down once it became available: parking -- in parking-poor Cherry Creek.

And there's still more in store from THG. Schultz, who owns an old gas station across from Root Down in LoHi, plans to create a dive bar there, one that's short on seats but long on atmosphere -- and good burgers.

We think Down & Dirty might be just the right name for that concept.

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