As fans of the RiNo Yacht Club’s sophisticated cocktails and thoughtful wine list, we were saddened to see it set sail from the Source earlier this year. But thirsty Denverites now have a new treat in store: the day-to-night beverage program at Isabel. The new watering hole is the brainchild of the Zeppelin Development team headed by Justin Croft; it officially opened on March 18. And while the Yacht Club was more of a bar, Isabel’s greenery-bedecked, leather-couch-filled common area is meant to be an all-day respite.
In the morning, Isabel serves fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, and wellness shots—$4 portions meant to be downed in one go, such as the ginger, lemon, and cayenne “Blood” shot. The easy-drinking “Buch, Please,” is another favorite. Its combination of orange, grapefruit, and carrot juices with G.T. Gingerade kombucha is a slightly effervescent, not-too-sweet way to start to the day.
Beginning at 3 p.m., Isabel rolls out craft cocktails, beers, wines, and Latin spirits (like mezcal and pisco) paired with fresh juices. Of the four inventive booze-with-juice pairing options, the “Mezcal” is a must-order: The fresh-pressed concoction of fennel, grapefruit, lemon, Hawaiian red salt, and agave nectar is accompanied by a shot of lightly sweet Cruz de Fuego Mezcal. Whether you pour the Oaxacan spirit directly into your juice or alternate sipping back in forth is up to you.
As the sun sets, the overhead lights dim and Isabel’s juice bar vibe gives way to that of a sophisticated cocktail lounge. If you’re headed to dinner at Acorn, it’s worth arriving early to sample some of beverage director Michael Huebner’s intricate cocktails. Try “the Elk’s Own,” a rose-hued libation of 100-proof Old Forester bourbon, ruby port, raspberry, cinnamon, thyme, and lemon juice. The pretty (but potent) cocktail is shaken with an egg white for a silky, frothy texture and topped with a bit of grated tonka bean, a sweet-and-spicy South American legume.
If you go: Isabel is located inside the Source (3330 Brighton Blvd.) and opens daily at 8 a.m.