Denver's ten best new bars of 2011
This year was a banner year for new restaurants -- as we noted in this week's Year in Review, nearly 300 new places have opened since January 1. Dozens of them included bars, and many more new dives, cocktail lounges, pubs and piano bars gave us still more reasons to go out drinking.
Crash 45 Crash 45 opened this year in Globeville.
Here, in no particular order, are Denver's ten best new bars of 2011:
Williams & Graham
It took longer than expected for Todd Colehour and Sean Kenyon, Westword's "Ask the Bartender" contributor, to get the doors open to their spot in highland, but the wait was worth it: They've created a sexy, sexy place. Step across a threshold concealed by a miniature bookstore and you're in a 1920s-themed world, filled with plush leather, dark woods and quirky artifacts from the age of Prohibition. It's the perfect setting for enjoying Kenyon's comprehensive cocktail and spirits list, which includes inventive twists on classics and rare selections from all over the world.
Pure genius. That just about sums up how we feel about Jourdan Adler's decision to rock Denver's downtown nightlife by adding The 1Up to the mix. This basement spot on Blake Street features vintage arcade games -- which are particularly popular with the demographic the grew up playing them -- and giant Jenga in digs tricked out with old-school arcade art. With that kind of entertainment, we don't care what we're drinking -- but we're particularly amused by the fact that the bar serves Schlitz on tap.
Black Crown Lounge
We're suckers for a good piano bar, and that's exactly what partners Mark Cameron and Brian Grace delivered with the Black Crown Lounge, located in a house on South Broadway that was once home to Cafe Cero/Open Tap. The place is opulent, filled with chandeliers, antique furniture and ornate glassware. You can stay in the lounge and enjoy the live piano, or head upstairs to the game room for a round of darts or cards. While this spot has a large gay following, we wouldn't exactly call it a gay bar -- and neither would the owners.