From Vesper Lounge and Green Russell to the NoMad Bar, Adam Hodak and Alex Lerman had helmed the bar or led beverage programs for some of Denver and New York City’s most impressive cocktail outposts. Yet when they sought to collaborate on what would become South Broadway’s first true craft cocktail bar, they weren’t looking to replicate the vibe of their previous places of employ.
In developing The L Cocktail Bar, their concept was to deliver a menu of world-class drinks in an environment more suited to Denver’s low-key social scene. In particular, Hodak — a longtime South Broadway resident — wanted to craft a concept that would seamlessly blend into the neighborhood’s colorful, eccentric history.
Housed in a 100-year old, converted brick building, Hodak and Lerman personally demolished the modern drywall to expose the bones of the space. The pair then collaborated with local firm Koch | Covostos Architects, repurposing much of the hardwood they found onsite to create the back bar and liquor shelves, as well as decking for The L’s enclosed patio. The 33-foot custom bar was also crafted from local Colorado ash wood, salvaged from a tree killed by the emerald ash borer beetle.
With only an initial logo in-hand (designed, along with the brand website by Clara Warner), Hodak and Lerman chose to collaborate with local studio Cognoscenti Creative on fully developing their brand story and visual aesthetic. Tapping into an art deco aesthetic with a touch of old-school train travel, the Cognoscenti team crafted a cohesive brand identity, spanning core messaging, custom menu design, and lifestyle photography for both the cocktails and the bar space. Of particular note are the custom geometric illustrations on the cocktail menu design — abstractions of the skillful, intricate presentation of The L’s colorful drinks.
Slated to open in the coming months, The L promises to be one of the most anticipated new concepts in Denver’s bar scene. And after months of unprecedented social distancing, both Hodak and Lerman look forward to welcoming the South Broadway — and larger Denver — community to their version of the perfect neighborhood bar.
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