What: DADA Art Bar
Where: 2470 Broadway St., Denver
Pro: The kitchen is open late most nights, upwards of 11 p.m.
Con: Though DADA succeeds at supporting the underdog, the bar never seems to display anything too edgy or of contemporary quality, cultivating more of an ‘art coffee house’ ambiance, leaving the gallery portion of the concept lacking.
DADA Art Bar is the second concept opened by Iain Chisholm, chef and owner of Italian eatery, Amerigo Delicatus, off of Larimer and Broadway. This garage turned bar and art gallery is nestled directly behind Amerigo in central Five Points, acting as portal to RiNo District’s flourishing arts scene. The gallery exhibits new art every month, and offers a large variety of delicious cocktails and small plates created by Chef Chisholm himself. With everything from open mic night to performance art, DADA is a proud supporter of the dark horse, exclusively showcasing small-name artists and local musicians while providing an approachable, art club-like atmosphere.
The theme and vibe of the bar is based off of Dada, a world wide art movement of the early 20th century, originating in Eastern Europe. A direct rejection of World War I and rationalism, this anti-bourgeois art was inspired by a literary and artistic movement, though quickly morphed into an entire way of thinking. Dada was coined by Modernist painter Hans Richter as “anti-art”, reflecting its absurd, nonsensical, and often silly nature.
Chisholm’s goal with DADA Art Bar was to create a creative, collaborative hangout spot for anyone looking to soak up Denver’s brilliant arts culture. Exposing small-name local and nonlocal artists is his game. Chisholm graciously collects only 10 percent of art sales, and caps off all pieces for sale at an affordable price, as to make art more accessible to the common public. The month of March brings Pure Psychic Automatism, a show created by the Heads of Hydra Photography Collective, celebrating Month of Photography Denver. This exhibit showcases dozens of talented local photographers, along with four free, underground art-film nights held throughout the month.
DADA rotates its art on the first Friday of every month, acting as a proud supporter with doors wide open during RiNo’s First Friday Art Walk. And the art does not stop at 2D, a variety of performances such as live music, poetry slams, stand up comedy, and even burlesque dancing take place on the weekly. Every Wednesday, open mic night starts at 7 p.m. where you can pop in and enjoy local music.
The spirit menu at DADA is Colorado themed, offering all local drafts and a cocktail list with names only a Coloradan will catch. Kick back on the patio with a Fifty 2 Eighty, a cocktail made up of Mell vodka, St. Germain, grapefruit, blackberry-mint syrup, and Rhubarb bitters, a thirst quenching drink perfect for Spring. Or if whiskey is more your calling, try the RyeNo, with Bulleit Rye, Domain de Canton, lemon, sage, and honey-lemon juice. Happy hour is from 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and all day Sunday, where you can snag $4 wells, pilsner, house wine, or Red Banshee Ale. DADA is equipped with a simple, pantry style kitchen, offering small bites like the Espanola Panini, with lomo, manchego, tomato, and aoili. Recently voted one of Denver’s top date bars in Denver’s Best Bars of 2015 by 5280 Magazine, this artsy establishment is the perfect place to bring your honey for an after dinner drink, dessert, and some live jams.
All photography by Romeo Fernandez