Williams & Graham, the false-front bookstore speakeasy in LoHi has been named the Best American Cocktail Bar at the 2015 Spirited Awards.
The award is so prestigious that the news was picked up by the venerable Esquire magazine, which said about W&G, “Here’s everything you need to know about it before booking a flight.”
The story went on to say, “Outside of coastal cities and Chicago, no interior-American bar has ever won the coveted Drinks International award. New York Times cocktail writer Robert Simonson similarly tweeted that (co-owner) Sean Kenyon’s Bartender of the Year win at last year’s Spirited Awards was the biggest thing ever to happen to Denver’s cocktail scene. Last weekend, at a competition in New Orleans, Williams & Graham was named the Best American Cocktail Bar at the 2015 Spirited Awards.
“Along with his business partners, the 46-year-old Kenyon, a veteran bartender from a long line of New Jersey bartenders, will next month open a new venture, The Occidental Room. It’s connected by a short hallway to Williams & Graham, but it’s a different beast entirely, and one that makes concessions to the 21st century in a way that would shatter Williams & Graham’s meticulously crafted fantasy.
“The 1,200-square-foot space, a former Native American art store, will seat just under 100, including on a modest patio with a view of the Denver skyline to the south. Exposed brick and scuffed wood floors frame a subtle counterculture theme with references to art, literature and music (the bathroom doors bear images of Blondie and Iggy Pop; cue jokes about which one the guys should use). Walls of vintage boomboxes and cassettes, along with arcade games, TVs, darts and a bocce court, further accent the casual theme. Power outlets and USB ports are plentiful.
“There’s no small amount of anticipation surrounding a new business from the owners of one of the country’s most lauded bars. Drinks will be cheaper, yes: an average of $8 per cocktail instead of Williams & Graham’s $12. A 12-tap beer system, which Williams & Graham lacks, will ensure that few (if any) orders need to flow to the Occidental Room from its more exclusive relative.
“But Kenyon insists that his many, deeply held philosophies on hospitality will extend to the Occidental.”
For the rest of the story, go to www.esquire.com/food-drink/bars/a36697/williams-graham-bar-denver/?fb_ref=Default.