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Photograph by Matt Nager

Exploring One of the Best New (Underground) Bars in Denver

At Run for the Roses, sophisticated design meets craft cocktails.

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Elusive yet welcoming. Elegant but relaxed. Old made new. Restaurateur Steven Waters’ three-month-old Dairy Block cocktail bar, Run for the Roses, is a subterranean spot where contradictions converge—and harmonize. With the help of Denver-based Gensler architect Nick Seglie, Waters refreshed the space’s original 1880s brick walls and timber beams by painting them in uplifting white, then grounded the effect with tufted leather chairs in jewel-tone ruby and royal blue. Antiques, including an ornate 1920s bank teller window turned hostess stand, punctuate the room, and a fresco of roses at the entrance adds a romantic touch. Run for the Roses’ menus offer similarly alluring juxtapositions: Food options span from caviar service to a Spam, egg, and cheddar sandwich, while the 59 cocktail options include updated classics such as the Beachcomber’s Zombie, made with three kinds of rum and pineapple and passion fruit juices. The pièce de résistance is the private Garland Room, which is adorned with vintage and brand-new knickknacks, a record player, and black-and-white photos of the old Windsor Farm Dairy that occupied the building 100 years ago—a reminder, along with the coupe in your hand, of just how far our former cow town has come.

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