By Brittany Anas / NewsBreak Denver
(Denver, Colorado) On the second level of BurnDown Bar—located at 476 S. Broadway, a newcomer to the South Broadway bar scene—is a series of historic photos showing firefighters hosing down the building engulfed in flames.
Back in 1978, a fire started at the former Christmas tree/furniture/tchotchke shop, hollowing out the middle of the building, and a photographer in the neighborhood documented the blaze. The new owners of the space—a trio of friends and rookies to the bar-owning biz who purchased the 24,000-square-foot Broadway building in 2018—stumbled upon the portraits during the renovation.
The BurnDown team spent the past few years renovating the former Christmas and furniture palace, reusing the charred wood beams, repurposing distressed bricks, filling in the gaping hole left by the fire in the middle of the building with an atrium, and, for a finishing touch, creating the gallery wall to showcase the historic fire photos.
They also popped off the building’s plastic bubble top. The third and fourth levels of the gigantic bar are now open-air spaces furnished with cornhole sets, picnic tables, and balcony seats overlooking South Broadway, with clear views of the mountains to the west and downtown’s skyline to the north. Water misters work with cold beers to keep bar-goers cool in the summer on the rooftop.
But not only is the BurnDown space interesting (thanks to both its backstory and its size, especially on dive bar-centric South Broadway), but its cocktail program is exceptional.
While most high-volume bars rely on shortcuts like lip-puckering, pre-made sour mix, the BurnDown bar team batches some of its most popular craft cocktails, like $13 espresso martinis and $10 margaritas and pours them from taps.
The bar menu, conceptualized by industry veteran and one of the BurnDown partners Gigi Muto, includes craft cocktails like an avocado margarita; Crash into a Ditch, which is leveled-up Aperol Spritz with flavors of guava and pineapple; and Bebo’s Car Wash, made with pink peppercorn-infused gin, orange bitters and sparkling wine.
Muto, who grew up in Northern California and loves foraging, is also making a rye whisky cocktail infused with candy cap mushrooms, which, she says, gives the drink a nice maple flavor with a little umami.
The other two owners are Reed Sparks, who left the insurance industry to brew beer, most recently at Snake River Brewing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and his childhood friend Alex Vickers, who has a project management background.
BurnDown also has a food menu, serving snacks like an elote dip topped with hot Cheetos cotija, wings, sandwiches, salads and more. The events calendar is packed with live music on the weekends.
BurnDown is open 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday; noon to 1 a.m. Saturday; noon to 11 p.m. Sunday; and closed Monday.