There’s no shortage of fantastic patios in Denver, and when (oh, when?) the warm weather arrives, locals flock to them to sip craft brews, listen to live music, play corn hole, and chill. But Safta’s Alon and Emily Shaya have something a bit bigger in store for us this summer: August 10-11, they’re hosting Bacchanal x Denver, which brings New Orleans’ Bacchanal Wine, the “coolest bar in the world,” to an open-air festival in the parking lot of the Source.
It’s going to be a one-of-a-kind party, mainly because Bacchanal is no ordinary wine shop. Set on an unassuming corner in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, it’s known for its deep wine selection featuring small producers, its string-light-adorned backyard garden, and daily live jazz sessions. In fact, Bacchanal has been nominated twice for the James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Wine Program.
“We’ve been big fans of Bacchanal for over a decade,” says Alon. “And it’s one of the most unique experiences in the country.” How so? It starts by wandering around the crowded wine shop, where thousands of bottles line shelves and coolers, and “you always find these new surprises,” says Alon. Pick out a few bottles, and buy a few cheeses, too; Bacchanal’s staff will take it all away as you find seats in the lush garden, then arrive at your table with your bottles opened and the cheeses arranged into a gorgeous platter with pickles, nuts, jams, bread, and cured meats. You can also order Mediterranean-inspired tapas from a kitchen-counter window off the garden, and then, sit back, sip your vino, nibble on snacks, and watch the twice-daily show.
During a weekend in August, Alon and Emily are going to recreate the Bacchanal experience right here in RiNo. Taking over the entire Brighton Boulevard parking lot of the Source Hotel & Market Hall, they’re going to bring in tropical plants, wood-fire ovens, erect a stage, and style plenty of seating and umbrellas so Denverites can eat, drink, listen, and dance the weekend away. Beginning at 11 a.m. and ending around 11 p.m. each day, there will be more than 25 bottles of Old World wine to choose from (selected with the Bacchanal team), as well as custom beers brewed by neighboring New Belgium Brewing Company just for the event.
Alon and his Safta team will bring Spanish-inspired meat-and-cheese boards, fresh salads, gazpacho, and the like to the party, as well as cook fresh seafood and meats inside mobile wood-burning ovens. For entertainment, New Orleans-based gypsy jazz bands are being booked for the weekend, and local bands will appear on the stage as well. (We’ll update this story as the music lineups are confirmed.)
“We’ve been scheming on this event since before Safta even opened,” says Emily, and with the new Mission Ballroom opening earlier that week, “we’re hoping it’ll be a lively time on Brighton Boulevard.”
If you go: Bacchanal x Denver takes place August 10 & 11, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The festival is free to attend; tokens will be available for purchasing food and beverages. All are welcome, but bring ID if you plan on drinking alcohol. The Source Hotel & Market Hall parking garage will be open, and there’s parking along Brighton Boulevard as well. 3330 Brighton Blvd.