If Don Draper were a young man living in Denver today, he would certainly be excited for the mid-August opening of the many-headed Hydra of a business that is Bellwether. Slated to be part designer clothier, part high-end whiskey bar, part multiroaster coffee shop, and part co-working space, Bellwether’s quest for quality is matched only by its masculine bearing.
The clothing selection will be predominantly for men, featuring local designer labels including Ruckus Apparel, the brand founded by Bellwether’s top brass. A barber service provided in the members-only entrepreneurial workspace hideaway will also specialize in male grooming. The bar will serve top-shelf bourbon, and Bellwether’s local craft coffees will feature multiple methods of manual preparation.
The shop will be located at 5126 E. Colfax Avenue, situated in a transitional grey area between neighborhoods that Bellwether cofounder and General Manager Rustin Coburn is very excited about. “If you go two blocks east or four blocks west, it gets kind of funky and seedy, but we’re in one of those cool little gentrified pockets,” Coburn told Daily Coffee News. “It’s called the Elm District. There’s a bunch of cool restaurants, ice cream shops, a high-end grocery, all in our area. Both north and south of us are really nice, affluent neighborhoods.”
Of the establishment’s 2,600 total square feet, about 1,000 will be dedicated to the bar and café area, where coffee service will employ French Press, pourover, and a two-group Rancilio Classe 6 spring-lever espresso machine. There will be seating for about 20 people in the front of the house, with the rest of the space lined with retail racks of men’s clothing, plus a bit of jewelry and women’s apparel in the mix, for good measure.
Passing through the Mazzer Kony espresso and Baratza Encore brew grinders will be offerings from local micros including Boxcar Coffee Roasters from Boulder and Sweet Bloom from Lakewood, although these are only the first what will in time be a rotating cast of top-quality characters from around the nation. “We’re always looking to support good people with a good coffee program and a good story behind it. Quality is our number one priority,” said Coburn, adding that their first inclination is to support Denver roasters, although they may eventually source roasted coffee from farther afield.
Also on the bar will be a dual-spouted tap, which on one side will dispense nitro-kegged cold brew by Denver wholesaler Method Coffee Roasters. On the other side: Bulleit whiskey. “We’ll be rotating local whiskeys on a seasonal basis, as well,” said Coburn. “A super simple program, just whiskey neat, whiskey on the rocks, Manhattan, Old Fashioned and Sazerac.”
With a $10 monthly membership, the co-working space offers basic amenities such as desks, outlets, business-class Wi-Fi, some light office equipment, the barber shop, and most importantly, a conference room to meet the networking and entrepreneurial needs of local artists, videographers, photographers and other creatives tired of working from home. An iPad mounted on the wall of the conference room allows members to input drink orders directly to the bar. The ordered drinks are then placed on a shelf on a rotating panel built into the wall that separates the bar from the backroom. The panel spins around to deliver coffee and whiskey drinks to the conferring members and their clientele.
As for the more adventurous espresso cocktails that are proving to be a hot item this summer, that’s not Bellwether’s style. “We’re not going to overcomplicate with any of that right now,” said Coburn. “Our whole model is to keep it super simple, and super high-quality. Kind of the way your grandfather would order a drink.”