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Element Kitchen & Cocktail at the Top of Broadway’s Sports Bar Game

The Cap Hill restaurant impresses diners

Online reviewers repeatedly rave about Element’s spacious, welcoming, and screen-heavy space
Adam Larkey

Broadway bustles with restaurants and bars that claim they’re the perfect spot to watch the upcoming Broncos season. Element Kitchen & Cocktail, helmed by Top Chef alum John Tesar, aims to fill the gap in between farm-to-table fare and lively sports bars, in addition to hosting fans this season. The restaurant, the first Denver restaurant from Element Hospitality, finds support from celebrity chef John Tesar, a four-time James Beard nominee who acts as a consultant for the menu and back-of-house business. When Element Kitchen & Cocktail opened this past July, the restaurant’s debut left diners wondering what a “farm to table sports bar is.”

Here’s the buzz about Element Kitchen & Cocktail, according to online critics and social media users:

High-Quality Sports Bar Bites: About one month after Element Kitchen & Cocktail opened, Westword recognized the new restaurant’s potential. In a relatively recent “where and what to eat this week” round-up, critical veteran Mark Antonation praised Tesar’s improved take on the traditional sports bar menu. He notes that for Tesar, “The dining experience is every bit as important as the big game.” Stand-outs include the Vietnamese-inspired and salt-and-vinegar wings, each with their own tangy twist on traditional chicken wings. Tesar accumulated critical acclaim for the his “mastery of beef” that translates from the steakhouse to the bar. Element Kitchen & Cocktail’s burger “relies on simplicity to highlight the flavor of the meat itself, and in a pepper-crusted filet mignon” that utilizes the same Texas ranch that supplies Tesar’s steakhouse, Knife. The gooey pork belly quesadillas add a level of smokiness to the classic finger food, as well. However, the hidden gem of the restaurant seems to be the $10 burger and beer combo. [Westword]

A Sports Bar for the new Millennium: Element Kitchen & Cocktail’s impressive 6,000-square-foot interior is expanded by “gleaming” TV screens and wood furnishings, along with a picturesque outdoor patio. These factors, along with the menu’s emphasis on Colorado craft beverages and produce, render the spot the ultimate sports bar for the 21st century, according to Zagat. The publication elaborated on the restaurant’s enticing qualities in a late-summer round-up of must-hit Denver bars and restaurants. However, the real star of Tesar’s kitchen remains the meat. Specifically, the beef cheek burger possesses a careful balance of umami flavors with the “intensely rich, tender, red wine–braised chunks of beef cheek” and mushroom aioli; seed-flecked whole wheat toast slices and potato chips flank these flavors and “somehow supports it all.” [Zagat]

An Enticing Find for Your Taste Buds… And Your Feet?: In addition to the traits of a sports bar and farm-to-table restaurant, Element Kitchen & Cocktail will also have a “sneakeasy.” Element will host a “designer shoe boutique and watering hole” upstairs, set to open in the next few months. While information about the upcoming store is brief, the anticipation is high for the critics at 303 Magazine. Customers can gauge what the store will look like based off the “quaint, clean and authentic” aesthetic that the large restaurant manages to cultivate. Element’s attention to detail extends to its food program, and 303 Magazine describes the food as “finessed-casual Baja bar bites.” Highlights include the hamachi crudo, pimento burger, and fish and chips dishes. The cocktail program further embodies Element’s adventurous culinary attitude. The Pineapple Sidecar incorporates local spirits, such as Breckenridge Bourbon, while the Paloma — finished with grapefruit soda and cucumber — is a solid “patio pounder.” [303 Magazine]

(Mostly) Five-Star Service: Nearly 50 customers left five-star reviews for Element Kitchen & Cocktail — and only one customer granted a mere two stars — on the restaurant’s Facebook page. Numerous diners applauded the “super friendly” service and an extensive selection of local beer. Though the prices are a bit higher than the local neighborhood dive, one reviewer conceded that “the quality and amazingness of the food were almost a steal!” Gluten-free dieters appreciated the substitute options for both food and alcohol, as well. One former diner boldly pronounced that “Denver's best sports bar has arrived.” [Facebook]

John Tesar’s Denver Project Element Kitchen & Cocktail Opened on Broadway [EDEN]

What to Eat and Drink at Element Kitchen & Cocktail [EDEN]

Element Kitchen & Cocktail

1134 N. Broadway, Denver, CO 80203 303-353-1172 Visit Website