What: Rewind Lounge, 1515’s downstairs space, that combines a modern, relaxed atmosphere with traditional cuisine and non-traditional cocktails.
Where: 1515 Market St., Denver
When: Monday – Saturday 4 p.m. – 2 a.m.; Sunday 6 p.m. – 2 a.m.
1515 is known for its extensive wine list, fine dining atmosphere, and upscale New American cuisine, but chef-owner Gene Tang and co-owner Paula Tang are doing something a little different with Rewind Lounge. The lounge that leads up to 1515 has gone through a revamp over the last year. Though it has remained open throughout the transition, Rewind is ready for its big reveal.
The subterranean spot is geared toward downtown’s after-work crowd. The modern design of the bar and comfortable booth seating give Rewind a more approachable and contemporary feel, compared to the white-table clothed ambiance of 1515. And with a happy hour Monday through Friday (4-6:30 p.m.), the less-than-traditional drinks have inadvertently become the stars of the show.
Rewind thrives on the collaboration between executive chef Gene Tang and bar manager Rena Day. “Everywhere I go, I try and learn something new,” said Day, explaining how she learned from Tang’s methods of molecular gastronomy in the kitchen at 1515. The drink menu—which features variations on classic cocktails—includes a mojito topped with liquid nitrogen-shattered raspberries, and a strawberry “caviar” champagne cocktail with boba-like bubbles that float to the top of the glass when the carbonation from the champagne clings to them.
Gene explained that this type of creative work, combined with scientific methods, is what sets them apart in Denver. “People don’t like to use the word ‘molecular gastronomy’ because it sounds like you’re cooking with science,” he said. “Downtown, there isn’t a lot of molecular gastronomy, and that’s what we’re here to do.” The combination of traditional culinary skills and chemistry seem to be working well together, in the same way that Day and Tang compliment each other in the front and back of the house.
The small bites on the menu are a riff on 1515’s classics. While the full menu from 1515 is available in the lounge, the smaller plates are a more appropriate fit for the casual atmosphere. Small bites such as vegetarian spring rolls can be paired with small plates of wagyu beef, the Rewind burger, or Atlantic salmon, just to name a few.
Rewind is a nice break from the formal dining experience offered at 1515. With conversation-starting drinks and whimsical menu items, the lounge is a place to unwind and explore. As Rewind moves forward, count on seeing a creative collaboration between Day and chef Tang with inventive food, wine, and cocktail pairings.
All photography by Noah Berg.