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Sage Restaurant Group is certainly making its presence known in the Mile High City. The Denver-based group is responsible for the Corner Office, Second Home Kitchen & Bar, Departure Restaurant & Lounge, and as of March 28, Kachina Southwestern Grill and Poka Lola Social Club, both located inside the Maven Hotel in LoDo’s newly constructed Dairy Block.
If Kachina sounds familiar, that’s because it is: The original location of the southwestern-inspired concept is located at Westminster’s Westin Hotel. Executive chef Jeff Bolton has brought more than half of his menu to the Denver restaurant (including the crave-worthy Navajo tacos), but the new outpost’s design and cocktail menu are markedly different.
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A vibrant, road trip-inspired mural painted by Denver-born artist Emanuel Martinez injects color into the space, and a full-size airstream trailer is parked in one corner. (Once permitting goes through, Kachina intends to dispense cocktails and snacks from the airstream.) Sage’s beverage director, Brandon Wise, overhauled the cocktail menu, which takes agave spirits to more interesting places than the typical margarita (although the classic house marg is certainly worth your time). Try the Bollo, a sophisticated take on a white Negroni made with raicilla (a rustic agave spirit from Jalisco), dry vermouth, yellow Chartreuse, and lemon flake salt.
Wise (along with veteran bartender Mike Henderson) is also behind Poka Lola Social Club, the soda fountain-inspired speakeasy perched above the Maven’s lobby. It’s a gorgeous space, with mint-green banquettes, geometric white-and-black tile, and an inviting, horseshoe-shaped bar. Belly up for whimsical takes on classic soda fountain drinks such as the Windsor Egg Cream, made with Fernet Branca, chocolate syrup, cream, egg white, seltzer, and mint. Between the space, the impressive drinks, and the more-than-fair prices (no cocktail is more than $10), we’re guessing Poka Lola will quickly become one of LoDo’s most popular watering holes.
Bonus: Sage isn’t quite done with Denver yet. This summer, the group is transforming the former McCormick’s Fish House & Bar on Wazee and 17th streets into the Urban Farmer Steakhouse. The Cruise Room—one of Denver’s most storied cocktail bars—is also getting a Sage revamp.