The enviable location – at First Avenue and Broadway – once received accolades as one of Denver's Best New Bars and for its stellar Mexican fare. Then, in July 2012, Denver city officials abruptly closed the popular Mexican restaurant and Sketch Wine Bar. Originally opened in 2009, the city alleged unsafe conditions, such as the building's ability (or lack thereof) to withstand heavy winds, flooring issues, necessary roof improvements, failure to meet building codes associated with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, and more. El Diablo and Sketch were closed for three weeks before a Board of Appeals hearing permitted the restaurant to reopen; but issues resurfaced, and the restaurant was ultimately boarded up in April 2013.
Throughout the chaos, restauranteur Jesse Morreale waged a public campaign to find a "more reasonable solution to meet the needs of all," with the city, resulting in more than 1,700 Facebook "Likes." El Diablo was Morreale's finale for Denver's dining scene, previously redeveloping properties such as RockBar club, Mezcal, La Rumba, and others.
Since the closure, the contentious case has been in bankruptcy court and now, finally coming to a head with the building appearing on the auction block at 10 a.m. December 3 at the United States Bankruptcy Court. According to the real estate agent handling the deal, the building is anticipated to go for more than $4 million.