There’s nothing quiet about my favorite pair of shoes on display at SneekEazy, Denver’s latest cocktail lounge and the city’s first bar boasting a collection of rare sneakers. This low-cut pair of shoes has a spotless white sole and heel, but the rest of it is covered in a black, red, and gold floral design that’s been woven onto the sneaker. They are loud, and I love them.
They’re the Adidas-made “Stan Smith Raf Simons,” and they cost $400. At that price, do you really want a pair of shoes that blend in?
These are questions I’ve never asked myself at any other bar in Denver. But this is far from the usual spot. SneekEazy, which is located above Element Kitchen & Cocktail in Cap Hill, has its public grand opening this Friday, November 10. Upon entering, attendees will be greeted by a collection of sneakers prominently displayed in and around three glass cases—featuring mostly Nike and Adidas—the value of which ranges from $250 to $2,500. A pair of red and black Jordans, the “Retro High Banned,” demands the highest price tag.
Jon Spadafora, part of the Element Hospitality Group, is one of SneekEazy’s co-owners. Despite standing next to an impressive collection of shoes, he insists this place isn’t a sneaker store. It’s a cocktail lounge. The walls are lined with artwork from local record stores—Spadafora says these will be rotated on a weekly basis with local art—beneath which are leather couches for people to sort of just, hang out. Soon, Spadafora says, a claw machine (yes, the arcade kind) will give guests the chance to win designer sneakers to bring home with them. There are no refunds if the shoe doesn’t fit; prizes are seen more as collectibles than as your next pair of gym shoes. But these games (there’s also a pool table and a shuffleboard table), the live music (starting every night after 8 p.m.), and atmosphere make this place comfortable. SneekEazy’s general vibe is far less intimidating than the collection of sneakers that could pay my rent for an entire year.
Sneekeazy also offers a wide variety of cocktails and boasts a diverse wine and beer list to boot. The aptly named Eazy-E combines Leopold’s gin, ginger beer, St. Germaine Elderflower, and melon bitters for a smooth-yet-powerful beverage. SneekEazy also offers small bites for $10, which are served until 1 a.m. and prepared by Element Kitchen & Cocktail’s Chef John Tesar. The bacon board, nachos, and quesadillas are dangerously good.
Authenticity, Spadafora says, is the most important quality to shoe collectors. If, in bar form, authenticity means having an impressive shoe collection, ’90s hip-hop coming through the speakers, artwork from local record stores lining the bar’s brick walls, and a range of creative cocktails to choose from—then it might not get more real than this.
If you go: SneekEazy is located at 1134 Broadway, Denver, Colorado. Call 303-653-9169 or go to sneekeazy.com for more details.