The menu at Denver’s new Yacht Club bar reads a little wild at first: Beach drinks, sherry highballs, boozy shave ices; also loaded hot dogs, ham rolls and Cobb salads as snacks.
“It’s high-brow and low-brow,” explained the bar’s co-owner Mary Allison Wright. “If it’s nice, there’s (also) a sense of ratchet to it.” (Re: ratchet, think the opposite of bougie or bourgeoise.)
Wright and her husband, McLain Hedges, have been dreaming up this perfect high-low mix for nearly two decades together. The couple opened their first Denver bar by the same name back in 2014 at The Source.
If you go
Yacht Club is open From 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day except Tuesday. Two daily happy hours happen from 4-6 p.m. and 12-2 a.m. The bar is located next door to Brasserie Brixton at 3701 N. Williams St. More at yachtclubbar.com.
They debuted a bottle shop, The Proper Pour, alongside it, and both destinations gained loyal followings within the food hall until their respective closures in 2019 and 2020.
Now the standalone Yacht Club near the corner of 37th Avenue and Williams Street can become their very own neighborhood bar dream.
“It truly is an amalgamation of everything we love,” Wright said. “And it has everything you could want depending on your mood.”
“This is our home, our clubhouse,” Hedges added.
As the name suggests, Yacht Club is a reference to affluent seaside culture, here flipped on its head.
“Yacht Club is the anti-club club,” the bar’s menu reads. “YC is a nerdy cocktail bar, a natural wine bar, a(n) (expletive) dive bar.”
“Why have to choose?” Wright explained. “The space can’t feel too precious. But it also can’t feel too shitty that you’re wondering why you’re drinking this (great) glass of wine.”
What unites the drinks is a theme around “coastal, water-bound things that have a history of connecting the world through travel,” Hedges explained. So rum, sherry and brandy all make appearances.
Agave-based spirits also get their dues in drinks like How Very Blue the Sea Is, made with Madre mezcal, Blue Spice Clairin rhum, blueberry Curaçao, pineapple and lime ($12).
“That drink is like a Blue Hawaiian met a margarita,” Hedges said. “People have maybe had certain things like it, but there’s also an element of discovery there.”
The discovery continues with fortified wine-soaked shave ices cranked by hand and then topped with surprises like fermented blueberries, raw honey or candied orange (all $12).
Hollywood Frank’s (a fictional character) Famous hot dogs are made here with local Riverbear links and topped in combos like The Varsity chili slaw or The Lorraine cheeseball spread.
And then there are the simpler pleasures like the Old Number 7-11, an $8 Jack and Coke and a hot dog; or a $3.50 Miller High Life, the “Champagne of beer.”
Hedges and Wright agree: These days sometimes good drinks get served in such a fussy way that customers are left to wonder, “Am I enjoying this correctly?”
The answer at Yacht Club is simple. “We want people to drink it, and we want people to have access to it,” Hedges said. “Hopefully we built this place to invite everyone in and to host y’all.”
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