Beatrice was a winemaker’s daughter in California. Woodsley came from a family of lumberjacks turned coopers, looking to support the growing wine industry. Love at first sight…blah, blah, blah. And then Woodsley built his true love a cabin in the heart of the Colorado mountains and they lived happily ever after. The end. (story adapted from beatriceandwoodsley.com)
Whether you’re into the back story or not, Beatrice and Woodsley, in Denver’s quirky Baker neighborhood, is a fairytale in the flesh. Inviting booths are flanked by aspen trees and draped with fresh white linens. The tinted windows give the room a golden glow, as if you were sitting beneath a forest’s canopy. Behind the bar, liquor bottles rest on tree trunk shelves supported by chainsaws (leftover from Woodsley’s construction, I suppose). Camping lanterns hang from the ceiling to light the restaurant at night, and the bathrooms — although a bit confusing — fit the theme magnificently. I mean, who would expect normal hot and cold taps and a plain old faucet in the middle of the woods? It makes perfect sense to pull a chain and have water descend from above.
The menu sings in harmony with the theme: braised oxtail and curried rabbit for dinner, kippers on buttered bread at afternoon tea, pigs in a blanket and fried green tomatoes at brunch. It’s rustic, but refined. The menu takes risks with pimento cheese sandwiches on the tea platter and crawfish beignets as an appetizer, but the marriage of class and earthiness falls into place beautifully. I can just imagine Beatrice slaving over the cabin’s wood-burning oven, roasting Woodsley’s recently hunted pheasant and waiting for her strapping young lover to come home from a hard day’s work.
On first glance the whole love story can seem corny and incredibly far-fetched, but the restaurant is simply enchanting. With large portions and small plates to share, Beatrice and Woodsley is a fantastic choice for a romantic evening. The afternoon tea service of scones, cookies and cucumber sandwiches made for a lovely twenty-fifth birthday party for me this year, and with Easter just around the corner you can bet B&W has a brunch menu up their sleeve.
Check out our April Design Issue’s Quick Picks for more on this spot’s uniquely designed restrooms.