Published October 9th, 2023 at 11:30 AM1 minute read
(Editor’s note: This article was published originally May 30)
By Kevin Collison
For those who recall the “fern bar” trend of the Seventies and Eighties with their brass, backgammon and greenery, the new iteration that Bryan Arri is opening this Fall in the Crossroads will be both similar and very different.
Whereas the original fern bars were intended to try to woo more women out to the male-heavy bar scene of the day, Arri wants his Fern Bar at 2045 Broadway to welcome all patrons however they may identify.
“I’m not looking to copy the aesthetics of fern bars, but update their hospitality as being a bar for everyone to mingle,” he said. “It will be a casual bar where people can be whoever they are.”
And it will tell stories, lots of stories.
The Fern Bar will focus on craft cocktails using spirits made from sugar cane and agave, ingredients that have created rums and liquors such as mescal at small distilleries around the world.
Arri, who learned his craft at the renowned former Manifesto bar beneath The Riegier, began longing to open his own place six years ago. He had flirted briefly with coffee as a barista, but didn’t feel it.
“I left coffee because I felt it didn’t have much to say,” he said, “but when I looked at the back bar at all the different bottles, I thought there were different people behind the production process with wonderful stories to be told.
“As I found more about the wonderful products of mescal, the were mostly made by farmers for the local community.
“The same thing with sugar cane. There’s so much diversity with rum made all over the world. I got into all these beautiful stories, particularly of the smaller producers.”
The new place will occupy about 2,000 square-feet in the historic former Broadway Bank building, a wedge shaped structure that last housed Architectural Salvage. It will be on the ground floor facing Southwest Boulevard.
“I want a bar that’s casual and designed for everyone,” Arri said.
The decor will emphasize natural stone and wood with great lighting. Food will be provided by Tacos Valentina, a popular former pop-up that also is now the house cuisine at Torn Label in the East Crossroads.
The old building is part of a portfolio of downtown properties recently purchased by Ken Wolf, a Denver developer and Arri said he’s proven to be a great landlord.
He hopes for an early Fall opening. The anticipated hours will be Tuesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.