Most have experienced the trial and tribulation that appeasing everyone’s drink preferences can bring on a night out. And while you may want to hit a brewery, your friends may want margaritas or wine instead. Walnut’s newest collective, BOOZ hall, is here to solve both of these problems.
The goal was to create an organic space for the community to come and experience an array of locally made alcoholic options. With five tasting rooms all under one roof, BOOZ hall is a collective of pop-up bars and bottle shops all by Colorado distillers and vintners. Unlike the array of food halls and market halls that have opened in Denver in recent years, owner and operator Josh Sampson believes that his newest concept is “the first of its kind.”
“I don’t like to do anything that’s already been done. And this has never been done,” explained Sampson. “And this is all about keeping it local: local ingredients and local makers. Everyone can win. That’s a big thing that I’m all about is keeping the money local rather than if you’re going to Shake Shack or if you’re going to a bar and ordering Jagermeister, those profits leave town. So I’m trying to really focus on keeping the profits in town.”
Sampson is the founder of TheBigWonderful and Denver Bazaar — two long-time beloved organizations in the Denver area. And when he partnered with Brad Lewis to create BOOZ hall, they did their best to create something that the city hadn’t seen.
“If you go to The Thirsty Lion, for example, you’re going to support Svedka and Budweiser and they don’t need any more money,” said Sampson. “We’ve already seen all that. And it’s like these chain burger places that keep opening. When do people stop getting excited about another burger place? I don’t know how that can keep up.”
Upon entering the bright magenta building on Walnut Street, guests will find four Colorado distilleries and one winemaker all under the same roof. All five have signed a seven-month lease with the space and either stay at the end of their lease or be replaced by a new vendor. The opening team includes Jackrabbit Hill, a winery on the Western Slope; Woods High Mountain Distillery from Salida; Rising Sun Distillery from Denver, State 38 Distilling from Golden and 3 Hundred Days of Shine from Monument. Each maker not only makes and bottles their own booze, but has crafted their individual booths in BOOZ hall to make them uniquely theirs.
“Everyone built their own bar out of their hands,” said Sampson. “It’s organic, which is so exciting. The spirits are made by hand and that’s why I’m like…this is such an art gallery. Every one of these spirits is an art. I get a lot of people in here who work on computers all day long. And when you’re done with your computer, you want to go do something that’s human, you know, embrace the humanness and the handmade. That’s what we’re doing here, celebrating the handmade.”
One visit to BOOZ hall and you will be able to feel the authentically handmade nature of this entire venue. From the featured artwork to the small-batch handmade liquors and cocktails, bars, bar stools, murals and boutique vendors — the entire place screams homegrown, much like, in Sampson’s opinion, the neighborhood that it calls home.
“RiNo’s funky. I want to keep it wild. Because it could become all these new condos in two seconds with all the glass door fronts and we’ve already seen all that,” expressed Sampson. “So I think it’s really important to bring more and more artists to RiNo and [to] embrace them. RiNo is driving Denver’s coolness…I don’t think any other neighborhood can claim that. It is a destination and we want to continue that growth.”
In addition to the bars, BOOZ hall will feature rotating food trucks, art exhibits and boutiques. It is open from 4 p.m. to close (exact hours have yet to be finalized) Tuesday through Sunday. The team plans to continue bringing in new food trucks throughout the summer. For further details check it out here.
All photos by Danielle Webster.