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A little white lie never hurts, but this one might prove addictive. It’s just one of several intriguing bar concepts that debuted recently.
White Lies is the evening concept offered at Black Eye Coffee, 800 Sherman St. Black Eye Coffee opened last October but took longer than anticipated to refine and reveal its evening concept.
You won’t see any signs of White Lies if you grab an a.m. coffee. Each day the coffee biz ends at 4:00p.m. The bar and upscale dining space emerges an hour later.
It’s an amazing transformation with a few unexpected touches. The pastry case disappears. Candles light the space.
Photo by J. L. Schultheis Price
An easy elegance and a slower pace are evident at White Lies, the evening concept from Black Eye Coffee at East Eighth Avenue and Sherman Street. Signature cocktails are all the rage now, but White Lies' are truly exciting.
The mirror façade behind the coffee counter swivels to reveal an impressive bar on six rotating doors. The spirit offerings are impressive and number nearly 400.
The dinner menu was entirely reworked. One choice says “Trust Us.” You can choose the hungry or the starving option and the staff will make your selections. It’s designed to take the work out of dining.
Cocktails come in two sizes—singles and shares. They divide into two sections—Ringers and Alter Egos. Co-owner Steven Waters explained, “They’re mirror image drinks named in honor of Denver’s many famous past poets.”
White Witchcraft is tequila-based and dark as pitch. Black Revenge is its opposite. These and other beverages are designed to complement specific entrées and appetizers.
“It’s been great,” Waters said. “We have regulars coming in for dinner then coming back more frequently.”
One appealing item is the vintage sherry cart that is offered after dinner. It underscores the relaxing atmosphere and the educational elements that White Lies utilizes.
Dinner begins at 5:00p.m. Closing is midnight Sunday-Thursday and 2:00a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The bar’s website is drinkwhitelies.com.
Don’t miss the bathrooms. Books on tape play excerpts from the poets of Poet’s Row. When’s the last time you witnessed that? Don’t bring your laptop either. They’re not allowed during evening hours.
Don’t ask me what this name means. Couldn’t tell you because no one’s telling me! Mystery is evidently essential to this launch.
One theory circulating is the name should evoke life in the '50s when the Boys & Girls Club emerged. The magazine-format menu is packed with '50s imagery and comments on those days of cocktail craft. B&GS is, in fact, a clandestine drinking spot beneath the ruins of the old post office.
After some daunting personal research, I can state it’s definitely a speakeasy and part of the new Halcyon hotel complex in Cherry Creek North (CCN).
Back in the days of Prohibition, back alley bars operated in unlikely locations. A phrase like “Bennie sent me” was the spoken key needed to enter. Here, you enter off the alley between Josephine and Columbine in true speakeasy style.
The B&GC website—bandgcdenver.com—takes minimalism to the edge. It features an image of a golden doorbell and a phone number—720-925-8598. Text for a reservation. Confirmation comes with directions. Find a nondescript, cinder block façade and a distinctive doorbell. Then ring.
If you pass the identity screening at the door, an associate leads the way down a long staircase and through the hidden corners of 245 Columbine.
Once inside, you’ll wish you’d brought a flashlight. The light levels are indeed dim. Take a few minutes to let your eyes adjust before you pull out that smart phone and fire it up.
To launch this concept, Sage offered memberships, which come with perks, including the ability to make reservations days in advance. Memberships are now closed but non-members can drop in if they jump through the hoops.
The club is small—seating is I’d guess no more than 60 at capacity—so your best chance is to check it out early in the evening. I’m told crowds are smaller before 8:00p.m.
Menu offerings include several pages of craft cocktails. “New Money” is one signature drink built with single batch bourbon and smoked vermouth. Those blends run $15 each. There’s also wine by the glass, ranging $12 to $45 per glass, beer and both savory and sweet eats. Deviled eggs, devils on horseback, caviar and bittersweet chocolate mousse are just a few of the offerings.
As far as speakeasy offerings go, this one’s likely to appeal on several levels, including wowing out-of-town guests.
CONGRESS PARK TAPROOM
If your alcohol consumption preferences or your budget lean toward the casual, there’s a new choice for you, too. It’s Congress Park Taproom, 833 Colorado Blvd. The space last housed Twisted Cream, an alcohol-infused ice cream shop.
Owner Mark Thompson is a former petroleum engineer seeking a new career in the wake of the recent oil crash. He personally retrofitted most of the space, creating a deep bar that’s topped with sheets of copper.
Mark Thompson, center behind bar, introduces customers to over two dozen Colorado craft breweries at his Congress Park Taproom, 833 Colorado Blvd. Casual and comfortable are the words to remember here.
“I paid someone for the beer system,” he admitted. “I didn’t want to mess it up.”
There are 30 beers on tap and four wine selections from Infinite Monkey Theorem of Denver. Some beers and ciders have earned a permanent spot and others rotate when each keg is dry. Most, but not all of the beers are Colorado craft.
“I have one Wyoming beer on tap right now and just ordered a New Mexico brew,” he said.
Thompson thinks of his venture as bringing numerous craft breweries to the neighborhood so residents can visit many in one sitting.
Tuesday is trivia night. Wednesdays feature a pub run for joggers. Half a dozen flat screen TVs cater to sports fans. There’s popcorn and board games but no other food. Thompson says neighboring Falafel King and Swing Thai eateries will deliver your order.
Hours are Monday-Thursday, 2:00-11:00p.m. and Friday 2:00p.m.-midnight. Weekends, 10:00a.m.-midnight. Happy hour runs from 2:00-6:00p.m. on weekdays. Find the list of what’s on tap at congressparktaproom.com.
THE SPRING CAFÉ
Spring came and went before I stumbled upon this new(ish) café at 1373 Grant St. In early December, Spring Café will celebrate its first anniversary but you need details now because this is a business whose mission speaks to the soul.
If you were a fan of Pizza Fusion as I was, you can guess the end goal here. Fusion helped homeless folks gain job skills. Spring offers job training for refugees and helps them gain the confidence to work in the service industry.
Manager Marin Toscano sees this effort as a great extension of the work the café’s parent, the non-profit Spring Institute, does in the area. For customers, it’s a win-win.
“We want to create an atmosphere of cross-cultural exchange by having a café where customers can learn a little bit about their refugee neighbors while enjoying a cup of coffee,” she said. “We have international trivia questions for customers to guess, exhibit art by or about refugees and host events in line with our mission.”
In coming months, the café’s staff hopes to prepare foods for the shop.
“We would like to start featuring ethnic foods in our grab-and-go food menu. Some ideas are samosas, spring rolls and soups,” Toscano added.
For now, Etai’s salads and sandwiches compete with scones and other pastries for your snacking dollar. There are also empanadas and oatmeal options, fair trade organic coffees and tea, plus fruit and cheese plates.
The program’s goal is to help refugees who need extra help.
“Spring Café intentionally hires the refugees that are still struggling with English and/or customer service skills so that they can gain more hands on training through our program,” she said.
Workers put in 20 hours a week and are paid a wage. They also get help with issues like cash register operations and chatting with customers.
The interior space is full of light, is nicely decorated and boasts a fireplace. There’s also a spacious east-facing patio in the First Baptist Church courtyard. The church gives office space to Spring Institute and its mission.
The café is open weekdays from 7:00a.m.-5:30p.m. It is also available for special events on Saturdays. It also can cater company breakfasts and lunches.
There’s 30-minute parking in a lot off Grant Street if you’d like to check out “coffee with a conscience.” Call 303-835-1124 for details.
MAKE, BELIEVE BAKERY
Yes, that’s a comma in the company name. Make, Believe is so named to create a pause that provokes thought. It’s also the new retail name for Watercourse Bakery, the all-vegan, mostly gluten-free place at 214 E. 13th Ave. near Sherman Street.
After years of baking for City, O’ City and Watercourse Foods, the bakery is finally open to the public. You don’t have to order at the restaurant next door.
Yes, that’s the name. Make, Believe. The comma is intentional and is added to make folks pause and consider the merits of vegan baking. The lovely customer service space is new; folks used to have to knock and wait outside
When Dan Landes first opened Watercourse Foods in the space next to the bakery, it was one of the area’s first vegetarian restaurants and a runaway hit. Then, City ‘O City took its place when Watercourse moved to East 17th Avenue in Uptown. Landes still owns City ‘O City but last year sold Watercourse Foods. He selected the bakery name.
For years, folks have been knocking on the bakery’s door. Now you can step inside the colorful storefront with its Mason jars full of colored sugars and front case stuffed with both gluten-free and gluten-full cupcakes and other treats. Zucchini carrot biscuits and cakes are also offered.
Make, Believe takes GF seriously. There’s a special room for preparing goods with non-gluten flours that’s separate from the main prep to minimize contamination.
Bakery manager Randa Duffy is enjoying the retail interaction and the chance to make custom orders that are sensitive to food allergies or other dietary concerns. She said roughly 45 percent of the products are GF. There’s even one bread loaf that qualifies.
A popular seller is the sweet potato cinnamon roll—an offering Duffy says they hope to add to their GF menu one day. However, the biggest seller is the scout cookie—a blend of walnuts, coconut and shredded sweet potato on a base of dark chocolate. It’s the size of a hockey puck.
Special orders like a soy-free birthday cake require 48 hours notice. But any time you get an itch for vegan pastry, you can now eyeball the selection daily. New fall flavors are on the way and you can pick up a cup of coffee, too.
Hours are weekdays 10:00a.m.-6:00p.m., weekends 9:00a.m.-5:00p.m.
“Vegetarian. Vegan. Carnivore.” The headline says it all; The Goods is an eatery that offers something for every palate.
In the 2550 E. Colfax Ave. space just vacated by The Good Son, owner/operators Seth Murty and Mark Whistler are dishing up dinners and brunch, six days a week.
At night, The Goods features everything from pulled pork sandwiches called “Sandys” to vegan mac ‘n’ cheese with roasted garlic. Paleo diet? No problem. There’s a bowl for that. Desserts even get their due with house made ice creams in a trio of flavors and a trio of cakes.
The masterpiece bar topped with green bamboo granite still remains at The Goods restaurant, 2550 E. Colfax Ave., but the menu is totally different from prior eateries in this space with vegan, vegetarian and carnivore options getting equal weight.
Since the place first opened as Encore years ago, a wood oven has been part of the magic. That oven is still turning out wood-fired veggies and even bone marrow. There’s just no pizza on the menu.
There’s an aggressive bar program to complement the diverse menu. Some of the 15 Prohibition-style cocktails on the menu are barrel-aged, including one dubbed the Colfax Boulevardier.
The eatery also partnered with local winery Jack Rabbit Hill to create four custom-blended house wines. The rest of the list includes many offerings from family-run wineries.
Whistler is an author and investments guru who wanted a new way to live; Murty brings extensive restaurant experience to the space. When the two met—just two months ago—they knew they wanted to open this type of restaurant.
Murty once worked for the U Baron Group and it feels right for him to fill their shuttered Good Son space. The private dining area has morphed into a kids’ room where youngsters can dress up or draw on the walls while they wait for their meals.
Whistler said the goal is to be a truly family-centered eatery. Dog centered too. The patio’s dog friendly and each four-legged guest gets a marrow bone for entertainment. Residents of surrounding areas should request the neighborhood card that offers numerous discounts.
There are two main dining areas, plus the elegant, green, bamboo granite bar that has survived each incarnation in the past decade. Ample doesn’t begin to cover the outdoor patio.
While most of the restaurant is up and running, Goods plans to reopen a doorway near Colfax Avenue that connects the space to the Tattered Cover. That was part of the original design but was closed off during The Good Son’s tenure. Soon, the wide doors will return.
The eatery has already put in place a comprehensive plan to support East High School across the street. Students can apply for jobs and an internship is also in the works. A dollar of each lunch entrée goes to support East fundraising goals.
Next up is the addition of dance lessons and instructor-led dancing on Saturday evenings. 303-355-5445 is the phone number. The business is open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:00a.m.-10:00p.m. The full menu should be up at thegoodsrestaurant.com.
I’ve interviewed Kelly Perkins twice since June. She’s opened two new retail locations for her Spinster Sisters all-natural body products line in that short stretch of time. And she’s still standing.
“Cherry Creek North is well known for supporting Colorado companies with great locally owned galleries, restaurants, and boutiques. We appreciate that kind of support, and love being surrounded by all that local talent,” she said of her CCN location selection.
I had to ask Perkins how many more shops she envisions.
“The sky is the limit at this point. The Colorado community is really focused on shopping locally, and shopping small businesses. We are so lucky to be located in that kind of environment, as we really feel the support and love first-hand from our customers.”
This third space is larger than the RiNo one opened this summer. It can offer bulk products sold by the ounce.
“We will also have an expanded “Mix Your Own” section where customers can come in and mix their own scent of Body Butter, Sugar Scrub or Salt Soak,” she said. “We look forward to helping more customers transition to body and skincare products that are locally made and free of harsh ingredients.”
The address is 2628 E. Third Ave. A grand opening party is slated for Saturday, Nov. 12, with drinks, snacks, special discounts and giveaways. 844-SPINSTER is the phone number and hours are Monday, 11:00a.m.-6:00p.m., Tuesday-Saturday 10:00a.m.-6:00p.m., Sunday noon-5:00p.m.
SCOUT AND MOLLY’S
CCN has another new women’s clothing shop with an emphasis on styling services. It’s Scout and Molly’s, which just opened its 20th location—the first in Colorado—and tribute is paid to Colorado designers here.
A local artist created a series of canvases to illustrate how women dress for the day. An entire table is dedicated to Colorado works. One designer specializes in SPF clothing that limits the wearer’s sun exposure.
The Colorado table near the front door of Scout & Molly’s features a host of clothing and accessory designers from our state. Paintings along the wall artfully capture the daily dressing ritual.
“We like to bring in unusual pieces at a nice price,” said owner/operator Nesa Opp.
The front of the shop is stocked with casual attire. Step further inside and you’ll find career wear with dressy attire in the back.
Some attire is imported, some made in the U.S. Opp and her staff throw in styling services at no extra cost.
“We love your price point. We love your service.” Those are the comments Opp said she started hearing as soon as the doors opened. She believes CCN lacked her approach to women’s wear.
A broad range of sizes is available and the target demographic is ages 29-65.
Community is important to Opp and her company. The company supports Dress for Success and Mothers of Preschoolers efforts to empower women around town.
Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10:00a.m.-6:00p.m. Sunday, doors open at noon and shut at 4:00p.m.
CHERRY CREEK JEWELERS
There’s a new custom jewelry designer now open in the former Elizabeth Lindsay boutique shop at 3033 E. Third Ave.
Owned by Kien Quach, the space features onsite design work and a variety of unique styles. Phuong Nguyen is the master jeweler and designer. He’s also Quach’s brother.
“I always wanted to own a jewelry business. I owned a hair salon for 25 years,” she said. “I’ve been asking Mr. Nguyen for the past three years to get into the business with me.”
According to Quach, her brother designed a ring for her three years ago. She can’t stop looking at it or wearing it.
“You look at his pieces and you never get bored of them,” she explained.
Nguyen’s credentials also include designs for high-end clients, including the wives of many Broncos players and coaches.
For Nguyen, this venture marks his return to CCN. At one time he worked for John Attencio and then Trice Jewelers. While the majority of work is custom design, there’s also a strong repair business.
“We have a lot of walk-in traffic for repairs. Some bring us repairs that weren’t done right to fix,” Quach added.
She wants area shoppers to know there’s a price benefit from eliminating the middleman.
“We have really good prices because we design our own stuff.”
The shop also replaces batteries for watches and sells some estate pieces. The website is cherrycreekjewelersdenver.com, and the number is 303-953-1107. Hours are weekdays from 10:00a.m.-7:00p.m., Saturday 10:00a.m.-6:00p.m.
Jeans and cashmere look so appealing together. From casual to very dressy, Kaitlyn Collective at 3035 E. Third Ave. provides women’s clothing with blue, black and white being the dominant colors.
This is Kaitlyn Martin’s new business. Her mother is her business partner.
“This is a new venture for the both of us! We opened online in April and opened our first storefront in CCN on June 11th,” she said. “Our goal is to offer fashion pieces with a timeless style for all parts of your wardrobe. From casual to cocktail, we focus on carrying items that will be with you for longer than one season.”
Her lines come in sizes XS-L. Personal styling service is also offered.
Martin is energized by this new venture.
“There is no better feeling than watching your clients leave feeling like they got exactly what (they were) looking for and feeling fabulous in what they are wearing.”
Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10:00a.m.-5:00p.m. The number is 970-590-2743 and kaitlyncollective.com is the web address.
TRUFIT ATHLETIC CLUBS
You won’t recognize the old Key Bank building at 3300 E. First Ave. There’s a new front on the old office building and the bank’s (mostly) gone.
In its place is TruFit Athletic Club. This is the company’s seventh location in the state. The 28,000 square foot fitness studio covers two floors.
“We’re just a great workout club. We’re the best value in fitness in Colorado,” said sales manager Randy Dillow.
Sales Manager Randy Dillow demonstrates the work desk for folks who cannot break away to work out. Bring your laptop and walk while you work at TruFit, Cherry Creek’s sprawling new athletic club.
There are multiple approaches to fitness under this roof.
“We have a private yoga studio as a feature of the club,” he added.
Downstairs, you’ll find numerous boutique features desired by CCN residents and the Key Bank vault.
“The women’s locker room is through the vault door, so it’s pretty unique,” Dillow added.
One room even sports astroturf if you want to drag sleds full of weight and work out like a football player. Equipment brands include Life Fitness, Hammer Strength and Skills Mills. Life Fitness offers an app that counts reps and sends them to your phone. The studio also includes three working desks for folks who find work is getting in the way of their workout. Bring your laptop. Plug in and walk while you work.
“It’s pretty unique to the Denver (fitness) market,” he said.
Membership details are available at trufitcherrycreek.com. Come January, the parking garage under construction will open behind TruFit—a welcome feature in CCN.
McNEIL DESIGNER PORTRAITS
After 27 years in Littleton, it was time for a move. So photographer Craig McNeil leased a new home at 2930 E. Sixth Ave. to showcase his take on family portraiture.
“Most people would rather do a group root canal than take a family portrait,” McNeil explained.
He’s joking but is not far off the mark. It takes effort and organization to achieve a group get together. Over the years, McNeil has developed a strategy that gets everyone to the photo shoot. His specialty is location shooting and he seeks spots that have special meaning to the clients. He’s traveled all the way to Ireland for a shoot.
Before the date is set, McNeil spends time consulting on the design elements. He feels that yields a better final product. With so many smartphone cameras out there, he has to compete.
“I have to be able to produce something that you cannot,” he said.
When the shutter snaps, the work is not finished. Portraits are then enhanced and textured. Some are also hand-painted to add depth. The process is explained in detail at mcneildesignerportraits.com.
Not surprisingly, most of his clients are moms who want to preserve family moments for the future. After all, photos are usually the first thing grabbed when disaster threatens.
The studio also does school portraits for grads and even pooch shots. McNeil’s company is well known for Dogs of Denver, a series of books featuring Denver dog glamour shots created to raise funds for canine charities. His son, Sean, worked on the Dogs project then joined Craig full time. 720-981-9705 is the studio number.
Next time you pass The Chop Shop casual eatery on East Colfax Avenue at Elm Street, check out a pair of new businesses on that block.
Rhythm Revolution at 2990 E. Colfax Ave. is a cycle and yoga studio where music is key.
Owner/instructor Jasmine Anderson said, “It’s all about the music and the rhythm and moving to the beat … what that does to the brain.”
Anderson also teaches other fitness professionals how to incorporate music effectively to really connect with clients.
“I want people to know they are not going to hear Top 40 music in our classes. Our mantra is really tapping into the senses. What does it sound like? What does it feel like?”
It’s about what it feels like to move—the tempo, the rhythm. You can also check out one of Anderson’s live cycling concerts.
“We take the bikes to non-traditional locations,” she explained. Participants get to work out in unusual spaces as bands play. Events are listed on rrtribe.com and on Facebook.
This music focus comes naturally to Anderson who’s also a DJ with ties to the underground music scene in Denver, dating back nearly two decades.
Rhythm Revolution opened on East Colfax Avenue several months ago after a lengthy location search.
“Community is massive for us. We use the studio for events. We are not just a cycling studio. We do a whole lot more and our intention is to do a whole lot more in the community.”
The website lists over 25 classes each week. The first week is free unless you’re using ClassPass.
Just west of Rhythm is Computer Doc at 4956 E. Colfax Ave. It’s a repair and networking operation. This is the first storefront for Doc, which launched its mobile repair business in 2011.
“We see that Colfax is starting to be fixed up and wanted to be part of it,” said owner Glenn Brinegar.
His company clientele includes home users and small businesses. The hourly charge for a home visit is $89 per hour but Brinegar says his technicians get a lot done in just 60 minutes.
The company repairs both Macs and PCs and sells DIY electronics kits along with robotics and drone kits.
Weekday hours are 9:00a.m.-6:00p.m. Saturday, the shop is open from 10:00a.m.-5:00p.m.
The website has more: compdocdenver.com. The phone is 303-333-1864.
The area’s well-known liquor supermarket has expanded its offerings even further. This time, it’s the addition of Boar’s Head cheeses and meats, plus sausages, crackers, pretzels, nuts, jerky, lemons, limes and a lot more.
One of the more unusual offerings is chocolate-flavored whipped cream in a can. A wide selection of pickles, olives and cherries are natural additions.
If you’re looking for a gift, there are also food and wine baskets and other combinations.
Argonaut sits on the southwest corner of East Colfax Avenue and Clarkson Street. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 8:00am-11:00p.m., Friday-Saturday, 8:00a.m.-11:45p.m. and Sunday 10:00a.m.-10:00p.m. Call 303-831-7788 for details.
“Thanks for all the memories.” Just a short, sweet note is all that’s left at Hotcakes Diner on East 18th Avenue at Humboldt. The area’s anchor eatery for decades, Hotcakes closed its doors in early September.
ROOSTER & MOON COFFEE PUB
I remember when Rooster & Moon at 955 Bannock in the Golden Triangle opened almost eight years ago. The area was just about to catch fire and R&M developed a strong following.
That run is about to come to an end. On Sept. 7, the quartet behind R&M posted a farewell message on the café’s Facebook page.
“It is a strange sensation when you find yourself in a moment that is both heartbreaking and thrilling at the same time. We find ourselves on the precipice of such a moment because, after much thought, meditation, tears, debate and a fair amount of wine, we have decided not to renew our lease.
"At the end of September, we will be closing Rooster & Moon Coffee Pub.”
It’s likely that a new concept will snatch the space up rapidly.
ACT II CONSIGNMENT
After many years at 1244 E. Colfax Ave., Act II Consignment has vamoosed. The company started down south before expanding to Colfax and still operates its original shop at 1500 W. Littleton Blvd. There’s also an outlet at 4011 S. Broadway.
FLOW JUICE BAR
Located at 208 East Seventh Ave., one door east of sister establishment Max’s Wine Dive, Flow Juice closed for a second and apparently final time last month.
After a kitchen fire this summer, WOK Uptown at 1789 Ogden St. remains shuttered. It appears the well-established takeout place may not reopen as planned. Signage still indicates that plan but the eatery’s phone number is no longer in service.
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