20 minutes early to my reservation, Andrea party of one. I decide to take a walk around the block, Larimer Square, which was still decked out in holiday lights. Or maybe this is what it looks like all year? Either way, it’s beautiful.
Once I finally head in, the vibe smacks me in the face as I make my way up the stairs. This is certainly not like any place I’m used to back home. Somewhere between a sports bar and fine dining, it’s fancy but unpretentious, and very inviting. Like that rich friend who invites you over for dinner and isn’t afraid to bring a bottle of wine (or two) onto her Serena & Lily sofa.
The hostess is very kind, and we make small talk while she shows me to my seat, which is a corner booth by the window with a great view down onto the street.
It’s only when I become aware of the 80’s music blasting in the background that I notice the stark contrast between what I hear and what I see. Bartenders blond and man-bunned, walls of exposed brick, Edison lightbulbs. By all definitions hipster. But is something still hipster once it has become the norm?
A particularly tall specimen hands me the menu, and the sheer size of the beer selection overwhelms me so, and I instead mull over the cocktails. Everything Hurts and I’m Dying. Eye of Satan’s Butthole. Whaaaat…? Duke Silver. I keep reading to make sure my eyes aren’t deceiving me. Red Carpet Insole. These are all Parks and Rec references! My favorite place in Denver already. There’s also a Burt Macklin, Fart Attack, Friends, Waffles and Work, Janet Snakehole, Lil’ Sebastian and Mouse Rat. There’s so many to choose from, but the first to catch my eye was Duke Silver, so that’s what I go with.
And just like Duke, this drink is smooth. It’s also quite smoky, and woodsy, with occasional hints of apple. It’s sour. And sweet. And fizzy. There are so many things happening altogether; it tastes as if an apple orchard has been set on fire and distilled. Ron Swanson would approve.
As for food, I chose what I wanted before I even left. The Chips and Dip consists of lemon goat cheese, oolong smoked rare duck breast, duck confit and fresh cut potato chips. The duck breast is quite cold, like ham pulled from the freezer a couple of hours before needed and hasn’t completely defrosted. A quick glance at the menu confirms it hasn’t been smoked with wood, instead opting for tea which lends its subtlety. The confit has managed to stay warm, a thin layer of fat surrounding each piece, just enough to be juicy but not so much that it feels greasy. It’s rich, but light. Lemon sweetens and complements already tangy goat cheese. The potato chips are thick, crunchy and hold up well. Fresh dill wraps it all up in a nice bow. So many textures and flavors, all equally delicious.
The smell of toasted vanilla finds me before I even see it come out. It’s much larger than I expected, and I’m starting to wonder if I can actually finish it. The S’Mores Pot de Crème. I cautiously poke it with my spoon, trying to gauge how much house-made marshmallow there is. It is very sweet and almost has the consistency of buttercream or marshmallow creme. Not as sticky as your usual bruléed marshmallow but sticky nonetheless. If you don’t have a serious sweet tooth, maybe share it with someone. Tall specimen checks up on me every 5 minutes and manages to always catch me mid-bite, but I appreciate the attentiveness. Once I (finally) get to the chocolate pot de creme, I wish there was less marshmallow and more chocolate crème. The chocolate is dark semi-sweet, and balances out the richness of the marshmallow well. There is a layer of house-made crushed graham cracker between them, providing a nice textural change. It’s thick, spicy, and delicious. Screw Honey Maid cinnamon. (JK I love Honey Maid and constantly miss it when I’m traveling.)
As I sit here finishing my drink, I’m quite happy I decided to go out. The drinks are a little on the pricier side, but everything is so good it is worth it. Euclid Hall makes ~fancier~ eats more approachable, more… bar-friendly. You’re still snacking on bar fare, but this is high-end bar fare.
The food has successfully mitigated the buzz building in my brain. I walk outside, pausing while I choose my direction, having decided to walk the 45 minutes to my Airbnb. Larimer Square’s lights call out, and I wander towards them, while Orphans fills the air.
Euclid Hall is located on 1317 14th Street, Denver, CO., and is open every day from 11:30 am to 2 am.