It's been a big year for Williams & Graham -- and we're not talking about the LoHi watering hole's win for Best Contemporary Cocktail Bar in the Best of Denver 2014. Four months later, Williams & Graham was one of four finalists for the best bar in the country at the annual Tale of the Cocktail contest in New Orleans, where bartender/co-owner Sean Kenyon was named Bartender of the Year. And after five weeks on the road as this town's top bar ambassador, last night Kenyon was back behind the bar, waiting to get word on where Williams & Graham would place on the list of the World's 50 Best Bars.
To just be in the top fifty was an amazing honor; the Drinks International list, now in its fifth year, is chosen by a who's who of 300 people in the world's drinks industry. Last year, ten American bars made the final fifty. Kenyon had been notified that Williams & Graham had made the cut for 2014, but had to keep it quiet until the ceremony was held in London Thursday evening.
He was actually supposed to be there, but had to cancel Monday -- although partner Todd Colehour was there. So while Kenyon waited for the news, he was back at Williams & Graham, pouring drinks. "It's pretty fucking cool," he said last night. "The fact that Williams & Graham has been somewhat responsible for bringing notice to Denver's cocktail scene twice in a row now -- with Tales of the Cocktail and this -- it's insane.
"I'm pretty psyched about it," he continued. "The whole staff was juiced about it. Just to be on the list is amazing. It's like a pinch-yourself moment. Some of the greatest bars in the world are on that list."
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At first, Kenyon said he didn't care where his bar placed on the prestitious list. But then he admitted that it would be nice to rank somewhere higher than fiftieth -- just so it wasn't the first voted off the island. And where did Williams & Graham land? Keep reading for the answer. Number one? Artesian in London.