First look: Former Bitter Bar big shot Noah Heaney lands at Harold's and the Bayonet Room, a new restaurant and lounge in Longmont
From the street, Harold's and the Bayonet Room doesn't look like the kind of place you'd expect to find Noah Heaney, the former beverage purchasing agent for Big Red F and the current adviser to the president of the Colorado Bartenders Guild. In fact, Harold's is attached to the modest Plaza Hotel in...Longmont, a significant detour from the trendy vibe of Boulder and Big Red F, the prolific restaurant group founded by Dave Query, who owns, among other joints, the Bitter Bar, where Heaney spent two and half years behind the shtick, collecting local and national accolades from fellow bartenders.
But a chance meeting between Heaney and James Unger, an owner of the hotel and Harold's, convinced the accomplished bartender to take a chance on a newly conceived concept that would allow him to share his knowledge -- both mixology and culinary -- in a town that's long struggled with its restaurant landscape.
"I've always had a passion for food and cocktail culture, and I had a vision of what I wanted to do with the restaurant, but I didn't know how to put it all together," admits Unger, who found himself sitting at the Bitter Bar one night while Heaney was concocting cocktails -- and he liked what he saw. "I just watched him that first night, but after getting the approval to overhaul the restaurant, I went back to the Bitter Bar, sneaked up to the bar and told Noah that I'd like to talk to him." He and Heaney chatted, and it didn't take long for the two to agree to partner on the project.
"When James pitched me on the idea, and told me that I'd have a blank canvas to work with, and that I'd be able to get my hands in every single aspect of the restaurant, I was hooked," says Heaney. "And I loved that what he was doing was yet to be defined, and that it'd be a collaborative effort."
The restaurant and lounge, formerly called Fusion, opened last week and is named after Harold Pratt, who was born and raised in Longmont, and whose family has a long lineage and history in the town. And the adjacent speakeasy bar, called the Bayonet Room, is named for a sword that once belonged to Pratt and is now in the hands of Unger.