FNG — the latest restaurant from chef and restaurateur Troy Guard — opens today, as the newest addition to the strip of restaurants on West 32nd Avenue in the Highlands. This concept aims to merge polished, casual bar fare with an inventive cocktail list inspired by the ’70s and ’80s.  We got a peek at the space just before the doors open to the public — here’s what we found. 

The Space

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From the front door, you can immediately see an open kitchen and clean bar front. The space is well-lit and includes several garage door-style windows for open-air dining on warmer days. The building houses about 125 seats including the patio and enough standing bar space to suggest a future neighborhood watering hole. The decor resembles a nuanced modern 1980s lounge, complete with a framed wall of rock albums that ignite a nostalgic classic rock feel. The space is complete with board games from the era, including Simon and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots to add in a few fun and entertaining commodities.

The Food & Drinks

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The menu is designed to be approachable while satisfying an all too familiar craving for comfort food. FNG — standing for “F’ing Good” — takes stabs at classic family favorites like the grilled meatloaf with cipollini gravy ($14.75) and an array of meat pies ranging from the classic humble rotisserie chicken pie ($13.50) to a hare pie ($15.50) — made with local Colorado rabbit. The TAG group has brandished the kitchen as serving “elevated comfort food,” taking a spin on old-time favorites you probably grew up eating at some point. In addition to nightly features, the menu also offers a set of house-ground sausages, a gnocchi clam chowder ($9.50) and Colorado bison enchiladas ($14.75) to tie a few additional locally sourced ingredients into the mix. The restaurant is also dry-aging bresaola, pancetta and all of the accoutrements for a charcuterie board. Pickles, marmalades, mustards and house-baked bread are all made from scratch.

In collaboration with Mike Henderson — former beverage director of Edible Beats — Nikki Guard has curated yet another playful list of elevated cocktails for FNG, inspired by the same era of mixology. The list of 10 specialty cocktails ($8-$10) includes spins on a tequila sunrise, a Harvey Wallbanger and even an espresso martini — all resurrected and reinvented for the modern consumer.

Troy’s favorite cocktail — Give My love to Rose ($9) — is inspired by a traditional gin gimlet. The drink fuses Bluecoat barrel-finished gin with a house-made lime cordial to form a creamy lime-orange citrus sipper. The cocktail is served up in a martini glass and garnished with a spear of dried rose leaves for an added floral finish.

Highlights from the list also include Back in the USSR ($8) — a revived espresso martini topped with unsweetened whipped cream and finished with a custom blend of FNG bitters for a big floral nose and a nice bitter finish. Bang Your Head ($10) is a spin on a traditional Harvey Wallbanger — combining vodka, Galliano, lemon, orange juice and passion fruit. This sipper is finished with a nitrous egg-white charge which adds a creamy, rounded-out depth that begs to be appreciated. And finally, Debora Gibson ($1o) — Nikki Guard’s personal favorite — takes a savory approach to a traditional gin martini. This gin drink is served up with dill and cocktail onions for a drink fit for any appetizer. The dill and onion are not only gorgeous to see — they also add a heavy nose to the drink that really appeals to the salty-savory type.

FNG is located at 3136 Perry Street, Denver. After the grand opening at 4 p.m. on Friday, 12/1, regular business hours will be Sunday through Thursday 4 to 9:15 p.m., Friday through Saturday 4 to 10:15 p.m. with plans to open for brunch Saturdays and Sundays by the end of December.

All photography by Samantha Bliss.

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