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If you had an Aunt Jane who ran a California recording studio in the late ‘70s and worked with the Rolling Stones, wouldn’t you name a bar after her? That’s what Hudson Hill owner Jake Soffes has done, in partnership with A. Minetta Gould (formerly of Ste. Ellie’s), with the opening of their stunning new LoHi cocktail bar, Lady Jane.
“We want Lady Jane to be a modern neighborhood bar,” Soffes says. “Similar to the bar on Cheers, it should feel like your home away from home.” The bright West 32nd Avenue space is certainly comfortable enough to move into as is, but it’s far more beautiful than Cheers’ bar ever was. Designed by Adam Steinbach of UNUM Collaborative—who also devised the look-and-feel of cozy Hudson Hill—Lady Jane is a stunning combination of cherry wood features, decorative dividing walls, a cherry-topped Carrera marble bar, and emerald cotton banquettes. A mid-century modern theme plays out across the space through the chevron wall design and furniture, while brass light fixtures and tall palm trees add pops of warmth and color. Denver drinkers will surely spend hours lingering against pillows on the sleek banquettes, sipping and listening to the curated tunes that Soffes and his team at Hudson Hill are known for. The best seats in the house are perched atop a multi-level cherrywood stage near the open, street-side garage doors.
Gould designed the drink menu with equal care and finesse; she and Soffes are kindred collaborators, and he gave her the freedom to plan everything from the beverage program to the apron design to the custom glassware. “After a week or so of chats with Jake [about Lady Jane],” Gould says, “it became a twinkle in my eye, too.” That excitement translates to a seasonal drink menu with a rotating theme; the opening theme is the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album, which was spinning on the bar’s record player on opening night.
For each menu, there will be a featured cocktail in its own custom glassware, designed by Denver artist (and Lady Jane bartender) Allegra Beach—the A Brand New Love Affair, made with aged rum, Fernet Branca, dry curacao, lime, and mint comes in a gold-rimmed highball upon which Beach painted a pirate seahorse, in honor of Pet Sounds. There’s also a charity cocktail on each menu, and $1 from each sold will go to a local nonprofit. Try the silky smooth Believe In Me (bourbon, macadamia nut, bitters) and the MCA Denver will use the money raised to support its teen programming.
What underscores these delicious cocktails is not only a sense of community, but also Gould’s wish to run a program where there are no “15 minute cocktails,” as she calls them. Her goal at Lady Jane: Simple, balanced drinks that are fun to drink and can be made quickly. Tiki elements are on hand to communicate some of that fun; try the Sloop John B, a rum-based concoction flavored with cardamom and coconut that arrives with a burning sugar cube set into a spent lime rind. There’s also a handful of beer taps and plenty of canned offerings; a concise wine list; unpretentious bottle service—“a selection of the bottles we’d drink if we were on the other side of the bar,” the menu reads—for groups of four or more; happy hour deals from 4 to 6 p.m. daily; and a few snacks (olives, almonds, Italian butter on a baguette), cheese plate options, and the sweet-and-salty grilled cheese sandwich, served with fruit jam and Dijon, that Hudson Hill regulars will recognize and celebrate.
“We’re going to serve good drinks and eats,” Gould says, “and let people be.” Aunt Jane would surely approve.
Lady Jane is open from 4 p.m. until midnight, Monday through Wednesday; 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Thursday through Saturday; closed on Sundays. 2021 W. 32nd Ave., 720-328-9288