Sotto Voce is the new speakeasy on the block, and, as its Prohibition-era genre suggests, it has several features under wraps.
In a flurry of Italian restaurant openings in LoDo last fall, Jovanina’s Broken Italian has set itself apart with this basement wine cellar, which warrants a closer look:
1. Carted Craft Cocktails & Absinthe Program
Imbibers at Sotto Voce can expect not just a good libation but a quality service experience. The cocktails in the dimly lit cellar are served tableside from a roving cart bar.
“It’s very much the show,” explained “Director of Vibe” Howard Doskey. “They don’t call me champagne Howie for nothing!”
Offerings include a signature Aperol Spritz along with a classic Corpse Reviver #2 or Barred-Aged Sazerac fixed with an absinthe wash — part of the elaborate absinthe program found here.
Wines on tap and beer on draft, canned or bottled are also available in addition to an extensive wine list. It is a wine cellar after all.
2. Hushed Atmosphere
“It just screams the most romantic restaurant in Denver,” Doskey said of Jovanina’s.
The romance he’s referring to might be found in the space’s many found objects. Guests descend into the cellar by a stairway dripped with candle wax. Corners and walls of mirrors and absinthe fountains are illuminated by candelabras.
Once downstairs, the name makes sense— “sotto voce” is Italian for “in a quiet voice,” and the space inspires intimate, hushed conversations.
3. Historical Touches
The basement, built in 1880 and originally used for tobacco storage, once connected to downtown Denver’s subterranean tunnel network. The tunnels were used during Prohibition and, though they are now bricked up, husband and wife co-owners Jake and Jennifer Linzinmeir managed to restore a portion of the tunnel to create semi-private dining nook for two in Sotto Voce.
4. Full Dinner Service
The full dinner menu is available at Sotto Voce. Menus change with the seasons, but diners can count on offerings from the wood oven, mainstays like pasta and pizza, colorful entrees served in beautiful ceramics, and something with bone marrow.
5. A Power Tower at Happy Hour
Yes, guests can receive Happy Hour offerings downstairs until 6 p.m. Guests can enjoy a selection of oysters, chilled or roasted, a selection of $5 snack plates, or — the pièce de résistance — the Tower of Power. Served on a tiered tray, the tower consists of pizza on the base level, a $5 snack plate at the mid level, and a carafe of wine on top, capping out at $35.
Sotto Voce at Jovanina’s Broken Italian is open Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to close.