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Handlebar Tavern Will Become Blackbird

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The space that once housed Handlebar Tavern will be unveiling a very different face when Blackbird opens its doors in late October.

The former Handle Bar space
The former Handle Bar space

In a month, Blackbird, a restaurant and lounge with a vintage industrial vibe, will open at  305 South Downing in the space that previously housed the Handlebar Tavern and the neighboring Abo's Pizza. Blackbird, a concept created by the Table to Tavern group, which also runs Atticus and Boone's Tavern, will serve everything from artisan pizza to small plates with an international flare.

The full menu offered throughout the place will feature dishes like pork confit with crispy skin, apple jelly, root vegetables and a tequila demi and whole-roasted lemon-sage cauliflower. A more casual bar menu that includes artisanal pizzas and dry-rubbed, coq au vin-style wings is available to bar guests and the weekend warrior football crowd.

The cocktail program is created in collaboration with acclaimed bartender Sean Kenyon of Williams & Graham. Kenyon will oversee menu conception, hiring staff, and bar and menu design. "Sean has the same passion that we do, and it wasn't a question of if we were going to work together, it was a question of when," says Brian Midtbo of Table to Tavern.

"I value the ability to run multiple programs at one time," says Kenyon. "Maybe it's selfish, but I want cooler places to drink around Denver. I appreciate what Table to Tavern is looking to accomplish and plan to complement their efforts with drinks that match the tone of each restaurant," he adds.

The former Abo's space will be transformed into a fun, community-style room. From whiskey tastings and Sunday meals to farm-to-table dinners, Blackbird aims to embrace everyone from neighborhood families to the late-night dining and cocktail crowd.

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