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Squeaky Bean Bar Shake Up: Sean Kenyon and Nick Touch Out, Brian Smith In

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Left to right: Sean Kenyon [Photo: Adam Larkey], Nick Touch [Photo: Mark Manger], Brian Smith
Left to right: Sean Kenyon [Photo: Adam Larkey], Nick Touch [Photo: Mark Manger], Brian Smith
Photo: Industry Denver

Sean Kenyon has been the name and force behind the bar at the Squeaky Bean since the restaurant reopened in LoDo last June and for a good amount of time in its old location in LoHi. The bartender, who also co-owns the popular Williams & Graham speakeasy, had officially left the restaurant in early July. Two weeks ago, the Bean's bar manager, Nick Touch, also left the Bean team following Kenyon back to Williams & Graham. As of this week, Brian Smith, most recently of Coohills, took over the shakers as the new bar manager at the LoDo restaurant.

It has been a busy year for Kenyon professionally and something had to give. "It was a quality of life issue. Williams and Graham has received a lot of attention this year from the James Beard nomination, Tales of the Cocktail nominations, as well as top bar nods from Food and Wine Magazine and Esquire. We've been really busy and it has required more of my attention," the bartender explains. "When I left, I was confident that Nick Touch would pick up and push the Squeaky Bean program to the next level," he adds.

While Nick Touch continued at the Bean for a few weeks after Kenyon's departure, he has chosen to return to Williams & Graham and be part of that team's plans for expansion. "Nick is a big part of our future plans as we plan to open more spots," Kenyon says. "He's a huge asset and a great guy- one of the best bartenders in town," he continues.

Johnny Ballen, owner of the Squeaky Bean, chose Brian Smith as the new leader behind the bar at his restaurant. "I wanted to bring someone in who has the passion that Sean has- and Brian has that," Ballen says. "Sean will always remain part of the Bean family in his own way. I know that if I ever need anything or get stuck on a cocktail, he would always help out," he adds.

Early last month, Smith left Pinche Tacos where he managed the bar since opening, to join the team at Coohills. Smith was excited to work alongside Anika Zappe and Noah Heaney there, but the offer to manage the bar at the Squeaky Bean was one that he could not pass up. After a couple of weeks of transition and try-outs, Smith is now the face you should expect to see at the Squeaky Bean.

There will be some changes in the cocktail menu, undoubtedly, as Smith makes his mark on menu, but they will not be dramatic. "The cocktail themes will continue to exist in the same form - the 70s and '80s movies- something we started at the Bean in the old location," Ballen assures.

· Major Bar Shuffles at Old Major: Ryan Conklin, Brian Melton, Melissa Durant Depart [EDen]
· Bartender Sean Kenyon Shared 25 Things About Himself [EDen]
· A New Era Begins Behind the Bar at Coohills With a Hot Cocktail and Wine Team [EDen]

The Squeaky Bean

1500 Wynkoop Street, Denver, CO 80209 (303) 623-2665 Visit Website