First Look: Argyll Whisky Beer Gastropub opens tonight in Uptown
All photos by Lori Midson.
Tonight at 5 p.m., restaurateur Robert Thompson, along with an incredibly pedigreed pool of talent, including executive chef John Broening, beer-and-whisky king Ryan Conklin and front-of-the-house czar Steve Kingsbury, will open Argyll Whisky Beer Gastropub in Uptown, in the former Las Margaritas space.
Thompson, who also owns Punch Bowl Social -- now a prolific national chain -- and the forthcoming Griffin, a German beer hall in RiNo that will come to fruition in the fall, originally opened Argyll in a subterranean spot in Cherry Creek in 2008, and while he shuttered Argyll in 2011, he promised that he'd resurrect it. And he has, with smashing results. "We kept what was beautiful in the old concept and added to that with the new," says Thompson of the 5,000-square-foot space, which doubles as a whisky-and-beer-centric gastropub and a design homage -- the quarters were fashioned by OZ Architecture -- to the Thompson family crest, which is rooted in Scotland.
And the vast size, coupled with a superb location, adds Thompson, sold him on the space. "We needed a lot of square footage to handle the volume, especially at key times, and we already have a concentrated customer base in Uptown," he says, noting, too, that the emphasis at Argyll is "just as much about Ryan's beer, wine and whisky list as it is about John's brilliant food."
In fact, stresses Thompson, "The communication and synergy between John's food and the beers is purposeful; it's all about what pairs well together and creating a conversation between food and beer," he explains.
The beer system, which is constructed from a custom-made, conversation piece plumbing pipe that Thompson had crafted in New York, pours twenty excellent beers, including Lion stout, Calymore Scotch ale, Deschutes Black Butte porter and Avery Reverend Belgian quad; an additional 25 beers are available by the bottle and can, and the whisky roster, inclusive of American, Scottish, Japanese, Irish, Canadian, Indian and French whiskeys, exceeds 200 -- and boasts numerous single malts. And cocktails -- modern and classic -- which number twenty, include a duo of "big cocktails" intended for sharing.
Broening's menu, which is steeped in traditional British trappings, trumpets everything from bangers and mash to fish and chips, a Scotch egg, shepherd's pie and an Indian-inspired chicken curry paired with chutneys and an almond-fennel rice. In addition, there's a terrific in-house charcuterie program that includes brawn, duck liver mousse, country pâté, merguez sausage, boudin blanc, cranberry kielbasa, housemade rosemary-scented ham and gin-cured salmon sidekicked with pickled onions, minced eggs and black bread.