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Rose & Thorn delivers moody vibes, upscale street food, and a bar program centered around infused ice cubes. Photo by Michael Pisarcik

Rose & Thorn Brings Latin Fare—and Lots of Rum—to Downtown

The restaurant includes an underground speakeasy called Double Barrel Club.

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We said “Bye, Bye, Bye” to the one-time Justin Timberlake–backed barbecue restaurant called Southern Hospitality nearly two years ago. As of late last month, a duo restaurant/bar concept has opened in the same space, hoping to “Take Back the Night” and revive the brick building at 17th and Blake streets in downtown Denver. (Sorry, we’ll stop now.)

At street level is Rose & Thorn, an upscale Pan-Latin street food restaurant that warrants a spot in your regular rotation for its ice laboratory alone. What’s an ice laboratory? Well, the premise is based on Rose & Thorn’s selection of infused ice cubes—flavors include rose petal, bitter orange, and smoked paprika with poblano—that will evolve your cocktail as you sip it, changing the flavor of the drink as the ice melts.

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The Spring Sweet Pea cocktail, an earthy blend of pisco, ginger, lemon, and soda that gets a sweet counterpoint from blueberry-sage ice, is an early favorite. If you like a campfire note to your drink, ask for the smoked version of the bourbon, blackberry, and brown sugar-loaded Piece of the Pie cocktail; we suggest ordering it with a big cube of black garlic–maple ice.

The long food menu highlights mainly Latin and Caribbean dishes, like pork belly carne frita with four chunks of slider-size belly; mild, coconut-y Caribbean curry chicken; shrimp-filled “mofongo” (deep-fried mashed plantains); and a selection of arepas.

Downstairs is the moody Double Barrel Club, a 1950s-era Cuban-style speakeasy. Food there is limited to ropa vieja (a classic shredded beef stew), served individual or family-style, and the 30-pound lechon asado (or suckling pig, only available for larger groups), because Double Barrel is really an underground rum bar, which hopes to eventually boast the largest aged rum selection in town. The impressive bar space, tucked behind Double Barrel’s dining area, is decorated with a tin ceiling, brick walls, and a red-lit bottle collection that set a fiery vibe.

Rum enthusiasts can purchase a rum locker for a cool $5,000 to $20,000 per year, depending on how special they like their rums. In addition to the bottles of exclusive spirits, those Clevelands also buy access to a private room, complete with a private key-coded entrance and a separate team of waitstaff and bartenders.

Now, who’s bringing “SexyBack?”

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1433 17th St., 303-367-3533

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