Yesterday’s quiet opening of Death & Co. Denver has already garnered a bonanza of press, for a multitude of reasons. Chief among them is the fact that the pioneering, 11-year-old New York City cocktail bar chose RiNo’s new Ramble Hotel as the site of its first-ever full-on brand expansion. But perhaps even more interesting is that the Mile High outpost is far more than a cocktail bar. Death & Co. formed a true partnership with the 50-room boutique Ramble Hotel, resulting in various “levels of engagement,” as co-owner David Kaplan says. Translation: There are a lot of different ways to experience Death & Co. Denver.
The most obvious is the grand lobby bar, which vaguely recalls Union Station’s great hall with its luxe furnishings and glittering baroque chandeliers. There, Death & Co. will dispense a long list of 36 cocktails organized by flavor profile—Elegant & Timeless, Fresh & Lively, etc. Beverage director Tyson Buhler, who spent the past five years behind the bar at the East Village original, was charged with developing the menu. All of his drinks, which he describes as “classics with unique flavors,” are exclusive to the Denver location, and he’s making use of the Centennial State’s best hooch in the form of Leopold Bros. spirits and local brews from Ratio Beerworks, Cerebral Brewing, and others. Buhler also scored lots of local talent to staff the bar, including bar manager Alex Jump (previously of RiNo Yacht Club and Mercantile Dining & Provision) and Jon Feuersanger (Beast & Bottle, Coperta).
The 90-seat lobby space also serves as the main dining area for nightly dinner service. Chef Wes Hamilton (formerly the culinary director of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort) serves an eclectic, “no rules” menu he classifies as “ingredient driven.” It spans everything from fava bean agnolotti to Japanese eggplant with miso to green garlic panisse (a fried chickpea flour cake). “We have this amazingly robust bar program, and this [menu] is the accompaniment to that,” he says. Kathryn Caine, formerly of the Populist, turns out beautiful sweets such as olive oil cake with almond caramel and violet.
Next up: In a small cove off the main lobby you’ll find DC/AM, Death & Co.’s daytime coffee shop alter ego replete with Izzio Bakery pastries and other breakfast-and-lunch eats, from zucchini bread waffles with cultured butter to egg sandwiches to grain bowls. According to Ramble Hotel founder Ryan Diggins, the Death & Co. team takes coffee just as seriously as they do cocktails; expect top-notch espresso drinks made with local Middlestate Coffee beans.
When it opens in mid-May, the Garden, an upper level outdoor courtyard bar and restaurant, will provide the perfect al fresco setting for a menu of Mediterranean-centric fare (think grilled meat skewers and pita bread) and Buhler’s more playful cocktails (we hear a slushy machine is involved).
And in late May, the team will unveil Suite 6A, a cozy, private mezzanine bar that perhaps hews most closely to the vibe of the original Death & Co., with dim lighting and an elegant jewel box vibe.
But that’s not all! Death & Co. is running the bar program and culinary offerings at Vauxhall, the Ramble’s intimate music and event space, and it’s also tasked with providing a slightly more limited room service menu for hotel guests. These various and distinctive expressions of the Death & Co. brand add up to an ambitious, possibly risky endeavor, but Kaplan doesn’t see it that way. “We get to exercise our nerdiness in a variety of ways,” he says. Such passion is the undercurrent that weaves Death & Co.’s many new iterations into one cohesive—and Denver appropriate—whole. We’ll see you there.
If you go: DC/AM is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Dinner and drinks are served in the lobby from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly. Reservations are available through Reserve.
The Ramble Hotel, 1280 25th St., 720-330-2660