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Drinking at Seven Grand Denver is probably going to feel a bit like glamping. That’s because the just-opened Los Angeles transplant of a whiskey bar is, at its heart, a community-driven pub. But at closer look, its swanky-comfy decor, hospitality-driven service model, and Dairy Block digs make it feel like a whole lot more.
Seven Grand’s motto—“Whiskey for the people”—belies the dive bar side of its personality. Also apropos are the taxidermy animals staring down from almost every wall, the custom plaid carpeting, old fashioned wallpaper, exposed brick, $1-a-game pool tables, Americana juke box, and chalkboard-listed booze offerings.
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Elevate each of those homey details and you’ll get a better feel for what’s in store at Seven Grand. The stuffed animals—elk, bear, deer, moose, squirrels—are all natives of the West. There are playful glass curiosity cabinets filled with vintage ceramic spirit bottles and dioramas designed by local artist Bill “Willie” Nelson bearing Molly Brown artifacts. The long walnut bar, rich burgundy leather banquettes, and studded, hand-rolled bar stools gleam under warm brass lighting; crystals bounce their beams off the tops of the pool tables. And boy, do those 450-plus bottles of whiskey shine from their back-lit pillars. Even the carpet, meant to harken to traditional Irish pubs, brings warmth to the space while keeping the acoustics comfortable.
Oh, and the Seven Grand sign lighting your way to the entrance? The logo was designed by Shepard Fairey (the well-known street artist), and the neon is all hand-blown.
Andrew Abrahamson, director of single spirit bars for brand owner 213 Hospitality, says that Denver made sense for Seven Grand’s next outpost (following Los Angeles offshoots in San Diego and Austin, Texas). “It’s our first cold-weather location,” he says, “which is the climate in which whiskey should be consumed.” The 213 Hospitality group also fell for the 4,400-square foot Dairy Block location at the corner of Blake and 19th streets, feeling a connection between the history of the building and Seven Grand’s classic vibe. “This location already had soul built into it,” Abrahamson says.
Seven Grand is now open and ready to share its incredible whiskey collection with Denver drinkers. “We’re starting with about 450 bottles, but should be at 700 by summer,” says Pedro Shanahan, Seven Grand’s “spirit guide.” Customers are encouraged to speak up about which brown bottles they’d like to see fill out the library, which includes a vast collection of rye, Scotch, bourbon, and signature single barrels from around the world.
In addition to whiskey of all sorts, Seven Grand has a craft cocktail menu, three custom taps (pouring house-made ginger beer, a seasonal cranberry-rosemary soda, and a batched old fashioned), and eight Colorado draught brews. Potato chips and beef jerky are available for snacking on, but those with larger appetites are allowed and encouraged to order in from neighboring restaurants such as Pony Up or Milk Market across the alley.
Starting on November 15, Seven Grand will host live jazz, blues, and bluegrass bands on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, and by early December, its Whiskey Society will commence, offering special weekly seminars and tastings for members. Also coming soon is the establishment of a “Century Club” rewards program for guests who have tried 100 whiskies at the bar—a worthy pursuit befitting the soon-to-be regulars at Denver’s newest, most beautiful dive.
Seven Grand (1855 Blake St., Suite 160) is open seven days a week from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.