The unique retro-modern bar, which opened in the Highlands about two years ago, has somehow figured out a way to bring vintage rotary telephones and 1950s recipe clips back in style. The eclectic décor of Root Down on 33rd and Osage St., gives the feeling of an old-school diner with an upscale modern twist through dim lights and a stocked bar.
But the ambiance is only a piece of what makes the old garage space so special. The trendy neighborhood restaurant lives up to its name, using seasonal, organic, and local ingredients to recreate a bond between fork and food. The same earthy philosophy is used behind the bar at Root Down, as mixologists create beautiful concoctions using fresh ingredients.
Watching Scott (“Scotty”) expertly shake up a Bali Snow (local Boca Loca Cachaca, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, coconut milk, lychee puree, lime, cardamom agave nectar and basil) then move on to a Colorado Whiskey Smash (locally distilled Leopolds Apple, Peach or Blackberry Whiskey with lemon, Grand Marnier, agave and mint) is a show in itself.
Empty seats at Root Down’s ever-popular bar are hot commodities. Reservations are recommended every night, as 20-somethings pack into the charming bar room at the very start of happy hour, filling circular leather booths and high chairs as soon as they’re left unattended.
Happy Hour, Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 7 p.m. boasts one of the most appealing menus in Denver. With classic and unique cocktails ranging from $3 to $5 and delicious appetizers for around the same price, Root Down can satisfy any palate. The “42 Below” Rosemary-Lavender Lemonade, Seasonal Boca Loca Caipirinha and sweet potato “falafel” (or sweet potato fries dipped in a lime curry) are not to be missed. Root Down’s menu also features vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly options. On the first Tuesday of every month, Root Down hosts a raw food night, with a different four-course raw, completely vegan and gluten-free menu each month.
The staff at Root Down is attentive without being clingy, ensuring that everyone is comfortable and having a good time. Each waiter/waitress has extensive knowledge of Root Down’s ingredients and are on hand to make recommendations or provide drink pairings.
With warm weather on the horizon, Root Down’s patio is the perfect place to unwind while looking out at Denver’s cityscape. Umbrellas and heat lamps provide a comfortable atmosphere for lunch and dinner … oh and don’t forget about the bottomless blood orange mimosas during weekend brunch! Those unfortunate enough to miss out on a coveted patio table can still feel the sweet spring and summer breezes as the big garage-style doors behind the interior bar slide open giving the feeling of a more protected outdoor dining experience.
The atmosphere and organic flow at Root Down make it a must-go for neighborhood regulars and Highlands novices alike.
Root Down, 1600 W. 33rd Ave., www.rootdowndenver.com