James Lee cannot stay away from the Bitter Bar no matter how hard he tries. Since 2009, when Lee opened the Bitter Bar (originally named Happy Noodle), the bartender left Boulder twice (last time just a year ago). Third time must be a charm because Lee now purchased the business from his partner and mentor Dave Query of the Big Red F Group.
Lee plans to close the joint on April 21 for just a few days dedicated to training staff and implementing a new approach and format that includes doing away with the food program and creating a neighborhood bar with enticing craft cocktails.
Some minor changes will take place in the décor, while the cocktail menu will change to one where all drinks cost $8 or $9. There will be no hostess or formal seating policy, but rather an open room where patrons can find a seat, put two tables together, hang out for one drink or ten without feeling the need to order food. Should they have that urge, however, Lee plans to set aside an area close to the entry where a deli refrigerator will be stocked with limited items, some desserts included.
Lee will be joined behind the bar by Josh Burbank, formerly of Jax and currently at Machete. Burbank will bring his extensive experience with making sodas and kegs for draft cocktails to the Boulder bar. Lee plans to have several cocktails on draft from Moscow Mules to White Russians. The two will also make root beer, ginger beer, and more in house, some of which will be bottled and available for sale to go.
The rebirth of the Bitter Bar in this iteration is planned for May 1, if all goes according to plan.
· James Lee, Colorado's Godfather of Cocktails [EDen]
· James Lee Will Leave the Bitter Bar to Pursue a New Bar Venture in Austin [EDen]
· Bitter Bar, Where Cocktails and Food Share The Spotlight [EDen]