Brass Tacks | The New Hangout on Blake Street

From the group behind Curio, comes a full scale bar, eatery and hip hangout named Brass Tacks. It’s a cool, open yet cozy space with an amazingly stocked bar showcasing over 300 spirits and a counter-service kitchen making sandwiches, sides and a few large-scale “family meals”. They opened early February, transforming the former Blake Street Vault in LoDo.


The idea behind Brass Tacks was creating a place where people can feel comfortable coming in any time of day by providing delicious food and drink options from mid morning till past midnight in a comfortable, laid back setting. In the morning try a Vietnamese coffee, nitro cold brew or kombucha on tap with a $3 egg and cheese sandwich. For lunch we tried a couple sides and sandwiches, which are available all day. Happy hour is daily from 3-6pm and again Sun-Thu 10pm to close with $1 off beers, $2 off wine and cocktails and a few food specials. The variety of seating options, a couple TVs, free foosball upstairs, and no wait staff give guests the sense they can hang out for as long as they’d like.


The lovely bar features 20 beers on tap and a few wines and cocktails. We tried the sour on tap which was so refreshing and effervescent and a Saison which went well with our creamy Mac & Cheese and flavor-filled chicken wings. They also feature a whole fridge of bottled cocktails; one side has mixed, carbonated style cocktails, the other side has stronger, stirred cocktails. We went for the tequila based Cobble Hill which was very smooth, a bit sweet like honey, and overall amazing. One of their featured nitro cocktails on tap was a Peanut infused bourbon with Coca Cola which we had to sample. It was sweet and savory and we learned mixing peanuts with Coca Cola is a popular thing people do in Florida.


For our entrees (pictured above) we selected the turkey sandwich which came with alfalfa sprouts, thin sliced cucumber, avocado, havarti cheese, and basil aioli. We tried this on their soft gluten free ciabatta and we were impressed by the flavor and texture of this gluten free bread. We also ordered the Chimichurri steak sandwich containing marinated grilled flank steak, chimichurri, roasted piquillo peppers, arugula, jalapeno on a fresh baguette that was tasty and very filling.

In addition to good eats and an endless drink selection, the bar features a frozen cocktail machine with rotating monthly concoctions for $9 ($7 during happy hour). For May, they’re serving up a delicious frozen margarita featuring a 100% agave tequila and quality mixers that are worth coming for this summer. Definitely check out this cool new hangout, we loved kicking back and watching the Nuggets play while eating and drinking the afternoon away at Brass Tacks.


Words by Tiffany Candelaria @TCdoesFnB

Photos by Josh Stephens @freezerfilmfoto

Upstairs private party area

Upstairs private party area

Vesta | 20 Years Later

Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth, is the inspiration for this Denver dining destination that first lit its hearth over 20 years ago. Owner Josh Wolkon shares his story with us, “Vesta opened in 1997 in Denver’s LoDo. I was 25 years old and driven by pure ambition to open my dream restaurant. Surrounded by young, energetic, passionate, and fun people, we created a destination restaurant before LoDo itself became a destination. The term ‘Vesta Vibe’ was later coined and became known for combining positive energy, genuine hospitality, philanthropy and fun.” Through deliciously cooked food in an inviting environment where friends and family can gather and connect by the warmth of the fire, Vesta continues living up to its name and its “vibe”.


The latest menu was created by Colorado-raised Executive Chef, Nicholas Kayser, whose culinary talents enhance the Vesta menu with creative interpretations and beautiful plating. Nicholas’ culinary talents and experience have come from his time working with top chefs all over the world, in restaurants from Hong Kong to New York to Las Vegas. He eventually longed to be closer to his friends and family back here in Denver and moved back and started at Vesta a couple years ago.

Ahi Tuna Tonnato

Ahi Tuna Tonnato

The menu offers seasonal, creative American dishes, plus barrel-aged cocktails, craft beers and an award-winning wine list. To start, you can try “The Full Monty” of Vesta’s own house cured meats and artisan cheeses served with house made breads and mustards, along with pickles and truffle honey. We went a lighter route with the Ahi Tuna Tonnato, a lovely sashimi grade tuna carpaccio drizzled with olive vinaigrette, aioli, and topped with focaccia. This appetizer was incredible; it was not fishy, had an easy to eat texture, and a unique combination of Italian flavors from the focaccia and aioli paired with light, fresh tuna.

We also sampled the XO Smoked Pork Ribs garnished with a fresh cilantro salad. This too was very delicious, with great flavor of a sweet heat hoisin sauce around succulent rib meat with a slightly crisp outside. For the entrée we enjoyed the Pan Roasted Branzino, which is a mild, white fish and comes with crispy roasted red potatoes which we loved, celery salad, sorrel, and winter radishes. This is a modern take on an Israeli dish and incorporates Middle Eastern spices and ingredients which was creative, but not spicy.

Pan Roasted Branzino

Pan Roasted Branzino

To cap off our dinner we were treated to sweet potato beignets. These delightful little dumplings of sweet potato and dough are rolled in cinnamon sugar and sit atop toasted marshmallow, cranberry compote, and caramelized milk. It was a sweet treat for sure, but not too intense or heavy. They have some other tantalizing treats we’d like to try next time like the Sticky Toffee Pudding with medjool date cake and their Tiramisu with chocolate honeycomb.

In addition to the great food, the restaurant has a beautiful interior with noticeable themes of warmth, sensuality and dreams reflected in the handcrafted industrial design. Curved booths, open flames from the exposed grill, and draped fabric light fixtures soften the industrial design and bring a sensuality and warmth to the space that complements the “Vesta Vibe”. Another cool component to Wolkon’s restaurants is their certification as Green Businesses through the EPA and Certifiably Green Denver. Further, since opening Vesta in 1997, charitable giving to nonprofit organizations, particularly youth-focused organizations, has been one of the restaurant group’s top priorities.        Words by Tiffany Candelaria          Photos by Samantha Bliss

sweet potato beignets

sweet potato beignets