Wash Park's Newest Cafe Is Roast Coffee Bar | Westword

Wash Park's Newest Cafe Is Roast Coffee Bar, in Former Downpours Location

Owner Justin Henson is originally from Hawaii and has been in the service industry for over two decades.
Roast quietly opened in Wash Park this year.
Roast quietly opened in Wash Park this year. Roast Coffee Bar
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Justin Henson is no stranger to the service industry. Before moving to Denver two years ago, he owned and operated several bars and restaurants in his native Hawaii. But the pandemic took its toll on his businesses, and age took a toll on his desire to work late hours. That's how he landed in Denver, where he's taken on a new venture, opening Roast Coffee Bar two months ago in the former Downpours Coffee location at 1085 South Pearl Street.

After more than twenty years in the service industry, Henson says he still enjoyed interacting with people and building connections with customers, so the move to coffee made sense. "I've always been a big fan of coffee — I'm just not a big fan of late hours anymore," he says. "It was great when I was younger and it was fun, but coffee is more my speed now."

Henson found that his cocktail-making skills transferred well to mixing up new drinks, and he still enjoys serving people from behind the bar — only now it's an espresso bar. "We make our syrups in-house, including our new orange blossom syrup, and we use all natural ingredients. Our Kyoto cold brew is a Japanese method for cold brew that takes eight to ten hours to extract the brew...giving the cold brew a smooth texture that brings out the flavors of the beans," he explains, adding that it's a really refreshing method for cold brews.
click to enlarge a pastry next to a cup of coffee
Roast serves pastries from Rebel Bread.
Roast Coffee Bar
Since the space was already set up as a coffee shop, minimal work was needed, though Henson invested in a few light renovations and new decor. He also updated the outdoor space, transforming it into a cozy courtyard with extra seating and planters for sunny Denver days.

Henson, who lives in LoDo, mans the shop full-time. "We’re definitely the neighborhood coffeeshop," he says. "The great thing has been getting to know our neighbors and regulars that come in. We have a nice flow, [from] people looking for a good co-working space to families to people meeting with friends."

Roast is as straightforward as the name sounds — a nod to unfussy, quality coffee, which it gets from Sweet Bloom. It also serves baked goods from Rebel Bread.

The cafe never officially celebrated a grand opening, but Henson says plans are in the works to host events like a latte art throwdown and latte art classes for customers.

Roast Coffee Bar is located at 1085 South Pearl Street and is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. For more information, visit roastcoffeebardenver.com or follow it on Instagram @roastcoffeebardenver.
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