The SOMM Journal

August / September 2018

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Page 24 of 124

24 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018 { elevating the rockies } C M Y CM MY CY CMY K WHEN IT COMES TO DIVERSE DRINKING EXPERIENCES, THE MILE HIGH CITY RUNS DEEP by Ruth Tobias WHY GO ON A BAR CRAWL when the bar crawl can come to you? In the last installment of this column in the June-July issue, we explored Zeppelin Station as the first food hall in Denver to house not one but two cocktail lounges; now, two more multi-concept destinations, Milk Market and BOOZ hall, have opened to further expand the city's variety of drinking venues clustered under one roof. One of the city's best-known chef-restaurateurs, Frank Bonanno, is the mastermind behind Milk Market. Located in the LoDo neighborhood's Dairy Block building, the ambitious project houses 16 food-and-beverage stations, including a butcher's counter, scoop shop, coffeehouse- bakery, and pizzeria in addition to three watering holes. Anchoring the emporium is MOO Bar, which Beverage Director Adam Hodak says he "built around beautiful cocktails that aren't simple but are simply executed." He believes "when up - wards of 4,000 guests are coming in a day," they're not there for an intimate, bespoke experience; in- stead, "they care about a drink in their hand" while they soak up the scenery. As a result, MOO Bar's list features a mix of prebatched and easy-to-make concoctions featuring Colorado spirits, as well as what Hodak calls "soon-to-be classics"—like the Amo Ambra with tequila, ginger liqueur, passion - fruit, lemon, and habanero tincture—that are a bit more elaborate. Across the way, the Cellar wine bar offers, in Ho- dak's words, "that retail feeling in a restaurant set- ting" with 20 offerings on tap and a Coravin device. Thirty-plus bottlings are also available for purchase "at basically retail pricing" (Colorado law doesn't allow off-premise sales in on-premise contexts, but it does allow consumers to take opened bottles home). There's also Stranded Pilgrim, a taproom pouring 20 Colorado beers and ciders on draft, several of them exclusive to Milk Market. For added convenience, Hodak has curated beverage selections for many of the stalls. Take Bao Chica Bao, where you can order a variety of savory Chinese buns alongside kegged sake and Japanese wheat beer, or Lou's Hot & Naked, which serves up fried chicken to pair with whiskey and nitro bourbon cider. "It just gives you some flexibility" if you're unable to make multiple stops, Hodak explains. As for BOOZ hall, it's exactly what it sounds like. This warren of tasting rooms—five in all plus an arts-and-crafts gallery—in Denver's River North ("RiNo") neighborhood operates as a rotating showcase for distillers and winemakers who "really represent the state," says part - ner Josh Sampson. With tenants like certified-Biodynamic winery Jack Rabbit Hill Farm and agave distillery State-38, guests "can walk into this place and fall in love with [their] favorite Colorado brand," Sampson adds. A burgeoning live-music lineup and planned food-truck pod will make it even more of a party: Mile High–style. Food Halls Meet Their Match PHOTO: RYAN DEARTH One of 15 cocktails available to order at Milk Market's MOO Bar. PHOTO: RUTH TOBIAS PHOTO: RYAN DEARTH The 3 Hundred Days of Shine moonshine tasting room at BOOZ hall is run by Army veteran–turned–moonshine-maker Mike Girard. The Cellar at Milk Market offers nearly 20 wines on tap.

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