Ask Jake Soffes, owner of three-week-old Hudson Hill on 13th Avenue and Pearl Street, where he likes to go in Denver and he’ll reply Bar Fausto, Ste. Ellie, Beast & Bottle, and Rebel. Blend those four together, add a healthy dose of New York City sophistication and Capitol Hill grit, and you’ve got Hudson Hill.
The upscale but casual bar, the name of which blends Soffes’ native ties to the Hudson Valley and his love Capitol Hill, is two and a half years in the making. Soffe moved to Denver from New York City in 2013, took a job at ChoLon, and pretty quickly began working on a business plan. And then he searched for a location—in Highland, in Cherry Creek, LoDo, and in Capitol Hill—before landing on 13th Avenue, across from Wax Trax and Benny Blanco’s.
The windowed space, with mid-century modern furniture mixed with details like Navajo rugs, leather banquettes, air plants, and a rusted sign that was hidden behind drywall, “is a representation of what’s going on in the city,” Soffes says. “It’s a snapshot of the present.” That plus the music (all on vinyl as an ode to Wax Trax’ impressive and eclectic collection) and the cocktails, are the draw.
The Green Hour is a wacky but entirely balanced concoction of tequila, coconut, mint, bitter orange, and nutmeg. Yes, it’s green, and yes, it’s worth ordering if only for the experience of trying to wrap your brain around the drink’s many layers. But the real winner is the 8 a.m., a zinger of drink with Commonwealth espresso, whiskey, amaro, and lemon peel. It’s an eye-opener, and could easily be sipped at 8 a.m. (Soffes says Hudson Hill will eventually open during the day for coffee, pastries, and wifi), or 3 p.m., or 10 p.m. Whenever you sip, pair it with nibbles like pork terrine and Marcona almonds with smoked sea salt. Then cozy into the leather banquette and stay a while.
Bonus: Ask about the cocktail of the day, which is inspired by and paired to music. (When I visited, it was a Brattleboro Fizz with gin, crème de violette, egg white, lemon, lavender, and plum bitters paired to the Police.)
619 E. 13th Ave., 303-832- 0776, hudsonhilldenver.com