What: Session Kitchen
Where: 1518 S. Pearl St. Wash Park, Denver
When: “Shift Change Menu”: Happy Hour Monday to Thursday from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm Friday – Sunday 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Pros: A location designed for experience, with beautiful cocktail bars that engulf you.
Con: Higher priced than some happy hours.
Walking into Session Kitchen, you feel a change in the atmosphere. Just steps off South Pearl Street, you feel as though you have entered an experience. From the hostesses to the decor, the presentation is upfront. Where many happy hours resort to paper napkins and self-service mode, Session Kitchen exudes civility and decorum. Seating varies from outdoor seating to the very visually open bar. Each environ is designed for a special experience from open to intimate. The most intimate setting is the upstairs bar (open late night) that accommodates small groups, allowing them to interact with their bartender as cocktails are created and served. Here, the experience is elevated once again.
Starting with the food menu, each selection demonstrates that time, care, and thought have been used in ample measure. For example, each of the house smoked meats found on the Charcuterie Platter are designed to placate a wide range of tastes without overwhelming. Where these offerings could be heavy and salty, they are not. Often the meats are prepared weeks to months ahead in order to create delicate, well-seasoned morsels. The Summer Sausage was a great example of delicate balance in action. By keeping the items coordinated, the platter stays interesting to the end. Additionally, sauces include potentially overwhelming ingredients like horseradish or creme fresh in discreet amounts that excite, but don’t overwhelm the taste buds. The offerings on the Charcuterie Platter change depending on availability and season to “keep things fresh and fun” as Max Seid, Assistant Manager described. Warning: The full board is enough to share with a full table. Keep this in mind when ordering. Lighter fare is served, too. The Grilled Green Beans show some of the influences from the “Culture” section on Session’s website (it’s sort of a mission statement that’s true).
The Upper Bar
The Upper Bar is a showpiece bar by providing a discreet overview of the main floor where a small group can imbibe with intimacy. Here, the creation process of craft cocktails is important at Session Kitchen. This fact is demonstrated by how much collaboration goes into the recipes. Master bartender, Les Baker, worked on included sugar snap peas to twist expectations in the delicious Targaryen. The concoction gives a nod to the popular series “Games of Thrones, ” by using tarragon in honor of the House Targaryen’s spicy methods of dealing with problems. Other creative names like “Ancho Average Pimms” and “Tear Garden” so aptly describe the drinks that they act as samples that can be read. Tear Garden really plays with your emotions as it blends Montelobos Mezcal, Golden Moon gin, Hum liqueur, honey, and thyme with saline to invoke the thoughtful name. Creative process and presentation are true core values.
The Main Bar
While enjoying the food and drinks table side is wonderful enough, there is more waiting. Sliding over to the main bar is different treat. The bar seems designed specifically to encourage interaction between patrons and staff in all directions. It gracefully serpentines the main floor with a gleaming presence. Bartenders like Haylee Ortiz are highlighted by fantastic lighting, while they maintain focus on the presentation to increase the greater happiness. Cocktails get prepared with all the appropriate vigor and flair they deserve. The bartenders will also help you pinpoint your particular tastes in the wide spectrum of cocktails available. You’ll appreciate that when faced with the menu. The experience of presentation at Session Kitchen includes flambeau for some drinks, customized dishes for food, and even Erlenmeyer flasks for your water. The price point may be more than the average happy hour, but this is not the average happy hour. For the thought and effort put into the food and cocktails, it is correct. Go to Session Kitchen for the experience, and you won’t be disappointed.
All Photos by Danny Odum