When Thomas Taylor‘s family signed the papers for an old auto salvage park in the rapidly developing, hipster-chic RiNo neighborhood, Taylor had no idea what it was going to turn into. What he did know: The large space, which was littered with wood and used metal scraps, begged for renovation.
Then Taylor sat down with his friend Noah Price, co-owner of the Populist and Crema, and Robert Sickler, a cocktail extraordinaire with New Orleans roots. Instead of throwing another craft brewery or restaurant on the block, the three decided to give the people of Denver something more. Drawing on inspiration from the year-round food truck culture in Austin and the celebrated voodoo bar scene of New Orleans, Finn’s Manor was born.
The now six-week old neighborhood hangout sports a candy-colored fence, an alluring smell of bao buns and barbecue, and an ever-changing menu of craft beer and creative cocktails. The outdoor space has adapted the littered wood and metal scraps into a series of tables and chairs for casual, communal seating, and is home to four anchor food trucks and a few more that rotate in.
“It just so happened that everyone we have set up in there are friends of mine—people I’ve met in the last 10 years around Denver with a vision to open up their own places,” Price says. This includes Karl Fallenius, owner and operator of the already popular Owlbear Barbecue. Fallenius moved to Denver this summer from his senior cook position at the beloved Franklin BBQ in Austin. Those of you who have tasted from the pits of the legendary Texas icon might be doing a little happy dance.
Other food trucks on the roster include Tiger Monkey, A Taste of the Philippines, and Night Shift. Price’s goal is to give these talented food vendors a home even in the chill of winter, so diners can get a taste all year long. He even has plans to open up his own food truck soon, El Taco de Gyro.
“We need a taco truck and a gyro truck for a full variety, so I just thought I’d do both at once,” Price says. He will be in charge of the build out and, when the truck launches, the cooking.
As for the drinks? Sickler has nestled into the indoor half of Finn’s (which used to be a single-family home), spicing it up with a few Bourbon Street odds and ends and his own creative flair. You might never see the same cocktail twice, although popular ones like the Caloosahatchee with Angel’s Envy Bourbon and a fruity finish will sometimes make a comeback. Others worth looking out for include the Bangkok Bubble Bath with toasted coconut infused vodka, Thai tea, and cane syrup, or Garcia’s Garden with Don Julio Anejo Tequila, pineapple, habanero, chocolate mole bitters, and the hard-to-find huitlacoche.
Finn’s Manor offers a warm, Caribbean-Texan vibe without taking itself too seriously. Next time you find yourself in RiNo, look for the bright pink and yellow fence that stands out as a cheerful trademark. “We’re thinking of changing the colors of the fence every season, just for fun,” Price says. “Maybe blue and green for the spring?”
2927 Larimer St., finnsmanor.net