Three years after the groundbreaking for Tavern Platt Park, the latest edition to the Tavern Hospitality Group finally has an opening date: Monday, February 29. And really, if you count by leap years, that puts Tavern Platt Park — which occupies the address at 1475 South Pearl that was once home to India's Pearl (and several unsuccessful occupants before that) — ahead of schedule.
And for residents of Platt Park, the result looks worth waiting for. While the THG team was unable to save the facade, as Historic Denver and some neighbors had hoped, the front is faced with the original bricks, and Tavern Platt Park seems to fit in just fine on this stretch of South Pearl. It’s airy and open — with a roof that retracts, a second-floor patio and front windows that will open to the sidewalk in a very neighborly way come spring. In size and space, it's somewhat similar to the very contemporary Izakaya Den next door, which opened in June 2013 and won a 2015 Mayor's Design Award — and the two will even share a valet.
But otherwise, Tavern Platt Park is very much its own place, and will even be a departure from other Taverns. "It's Tavern 2.0," says owner Frank Schultz. The space will seat about 300 people, divided between a big gathering area complete with comfy booths around a four-sided bar at the front, then an elevated dining area with more booths and tables beyond, and a game room at the back. The second floor features another big, four-sided bar; a private dining area at the back (complete with a third bar) and a deck overlooking Pearl Street out front. At the request of neighbors, the deck will close at 11 p.m. on weekends (and earlier on weekdays), when customers can move inside and still enjoy an open-air feel under that retractable roof.
The menu has been scaled back from other Tavern fosters by about 20 percent, says Schultz, with an added emphasis on improving the dishes that remain, and adding a few new ones. It includes everything from casual bar apps to "obligatory healthy things" to full entrees, offering a range that's been lacking since the Pearl Street Grill closed years ago. (The kitchen has taken few cues from Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, the Prospect Park spot that THG opened in January 2015 with a much smaller menu than at bigger Taverns.) The beer offerings have been expanded, too, and there will be plenty of quality spirits on hand — but don't expect any self-conscious mixology. This is definitely a neighborhood watering hole, for one of Denver's most popular neighborhoods.
Right now manager Matt Arminio and his crew are putting the final touches on the place. "We have all the right pieces, all the right people," says Schultz. See for yourself when Tavern 2.0 leaps onto the scene on February 29.
And in the meantime, there are other Tavern options, including Tavern Uptown. Originally this spot was slated to close right after the Super Bowl — but now it looks like Tavern Uptown will be open through the summer, as the new owner of the property works on a compromise plan that would save the corner building occupied by the bar. In fact, there's a public meeting on that February 17; watch for updates.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.