First look: Agave Taco Bar opens in Washington Park


For eighteen years, Rafael Najera has been clamoring to open a taqueria in Washington Park, and he finally got his wish. On Saturday, Najera, the longtime executive chef of Washington Park Grille and Max Gill and Grill, unveiled Agave Taco Bar in the former space that held the Local, which shuttered in April. Owned by Greg Sauber and Jeff Estey, who also operate Max's and Washington Park Grille, the taqueria, says Najera, is reminiscent of "the kind of food I grew up eating in Mexico -- the kind of food that I've been eating forever and will always eat."

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Fourteen tacos, all of which are plopped on housemade tortillas -- squid ink, traditional corn or spinach and poblano pepper -- grace the menu, which also trumpets seven varieties of salsa, along with ceviche, fundido, taquitos, huaraches, carne asada and blackened tilapia, and they're all unleashed in a sun-kissed space bedecked with weathered and reclaimed woods and garage doors that open to a patio flush with flowers.

Twenty different tequilas squat behind the bar, and while the list will grow, there's already an impressive selection of margaritas and cocktails, all of which are concocted with fresh-squeezed juices and fresh herbs. Seven beers, all in cans, a few Spanish, Argentinian and Chilean wines and fresh aguas frescas, which can be combined with mixers, round out the beverage menu.

"I think the neighborhood is going to like what we're doing," says Najera, a sentiment echoed by general manager Lance Knight. "We need a taqueria in Wash Park, and we're serving great food and amazing cocktails, plus we have a super-friendly staff, an awesome patio, and the place is just full of sunshine -- what's not to love?"

Agave is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, and when I stopped by yesterday to shoot photos, it was slammed with neighborhood revelers soaking up the rays, feasting on tacos and wrapping up the work day with shots of tequila. Welcome to the 'hood!

Location Info

Agave Taco Bar

2217 E. Mississippi Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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For those of us who don't want to venture to Aurora, Santa Fe or Colfax for an authentic taco bar with a fresh atmosphere, Agave is the perfect addition to our locals-only block of South Gaylord. A little culture and diversity in wash park is a great thing!


Crap. Went over to try it again and the line was out the door. Bar was full too. Wandered over to wash park tavern for their delish fish tacos. Now u can get it grilled or blackened not just fried. Got the blackened with a pint of boddingtons. It was scrumptious and almost no one here so barkeep was really attentive


So all the people complaining about stolen menus must think that both Machete and Pinche Tacos stole their menus from the original Denver taquerias on Federal, right? Cause let me tell you, lengua, al pastor, etc tacos, guacamole, queso fundido, and so on are not original to anyone. If you want the source of flavored tortillas, go to Mexico. 

And no doubt, the people complaining OH NO MORE MEXICAN/TACO JOINTS surely say the same every time a new pizza place opens up. Or a new Italian/Chinese spot. Right?

I think I'll just wait and try the menu myself!


I thought Machete #2 will be downtown??

Najera"lets do the menu!, I will copy paste Machete menu" ta da! I have a menu!!! Seriously..


So apparently Najera is not creative enough to create his own menu, instead he copy machete and pinche taqueria....lame!

Eric Smiles
Eric Smiles

Great. We were running low on Mexican food joints.


OH HELL YEAH! All Denver needed was another taco joint. At this point we have so many freaking taco shacks that even the names are starting to be duplicated. Agave Taco Bar, please meet Agave Mexican Grill and his friend El Agave over on Colorado.

LoriMidsonCafeSociety moderator editor

@GreaseMonkey Actually, one of those introductions isn't necessary, since El Agave on Colorado Boulevard closed almost a year ago. I liked that place.

Mantonat topcommenter

@GreaseMonkey Not to mention Blue Agave in Aurora and 100% de Agave in the Golden Triangle. Still, for the people in the Wash Park neighborhood it's probably nice to have something within walking distance. Except for that one guy who keeps fighting all the liquor licenses.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Mantonat @GreaseMonkey

Agave Mexico Bistro & Tequila House in Boulder ...

fyi - El Taco de Mexico on Santa Fe still reigns supreme.

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