Mike Huggins and Lenka Juchelkova have established somewhat of an empire in metro Denver. From the beloved Arvada Tavern with its classic American charm to the pre-prohibition Union Lodge No. 1, Kline’s Beer Hall and now, Tatarian — the couple has peppered Denver with dynamite drinking destinations.
“Tatarian Maple’s are one of the easiest, and heartiest trees to grow in the metro. Especially here in Berkeley,” said owner Mike Huggins. “So when we were coming up with a name for the new spot, honoring this neighborhood made sense.”
And the tree theme extends to their cocktail menu. Tatarian is taking tips from trees across the globe. The Amate $12, a cocktail influenced by the Amate tree native to Mexico blends tequila, ancho reyes, angostura amaro, hellfire shrub, grapefruit vanilla shrub, lime juice and grapefruit bitters. The Methuselah ($14), a cocktail influenced by the Colorado native bristlecone pines blends Absolut Elyx, Contratto apertivo, Pamplemousse liqueur, bitter truth elderflower liqueur and house orange bitters — just to name a few.
But don’t be fooled, despite their use of international influences and rare elixirs, Tatarian is a neighborhood bar first and foremost.
“Yeah we are using some obscure ingredients, but I wouldn’t say we’re doing anything better than any other bar in Denver, We’re just doing what a bar should do,” said bartender and general manager Josh Sevy. “You don’t see very many neighborhood cocktail bars with open arms, where people can come in and get the drink that they want. Often times, cocktail bars have a set cocktail program and expect the neighborhood to grow into that. We’re here to grow into the neighborhood, not the other way around.”
The eclectic cocktail lounge on 4024 Tennyson Street has been a dream of the team’s for more than two years, since the opening of Union Lodge No. 1. And though they didn’t originally have their sights set on Berkeley, the small space has proven perfect for their newest concept.
“We’re always looking to expand,” said co-owner and better half of the Tatarian duo, Lanka Juchelkova. “So when we were having lunch on Tennyson and stumbled upon this space for rent, that vision of further expansion became a reality.”
The space is small. From the light wooden bar top to clean modern lighting, contemporary-patterned wallpaper and cool color focus, Tatarian’s 900-square-foot space boasts a contemporary design that matches their contemporary cocktails. And once occupied by a hair and nail salon, the narrow space offers just enough room for guests to comfortably enjoy their drinks in a cozy, intimate environment.
“New residents are moving into Berkeley and the neighborhood is progressing,” said Juchelkova. “So that’s why we went with a contemporary theme. The neighborhood is becoming more forward thinking when it comes to dining and drinking and we want to be apart of that growth.”
Tatarian does not take reservations. Their hours are 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily — check their Facebook page for updates and details.