Anyone who has experienced the Boulder bar scene over the past decade has witnessed a similar trend — out with the old and in with the new, mixology-forward, far-too-formal situation. Keep in mind, Boulder is an ambitiously mountain-casual college town.
Therefore, it is about time to welcome a concept that truly breaks this bougie mold. After all — plenty of Pearl Street patrons just want to order a drink without feeling as if it was necessary to have ironed a shirt beforehand — right?
“We just want to have fun,” said general manager, Jake Novotny. In a sense, Jungle embraces a wonderful balance of Novotny’s background from west coast dive bars to Boulder’s fine dining facade. No mini vests and no excessive mood lighting. Instead tasty tiki cocktails, late-night small bites and a staff with the same charisma, care and daring attention to detail as any high-end Boulder rule this new spot. Welcome to the Jungle.
The space — which formerly housed PMG on 2018 10th Street — has undergone a subtle, yet explosive makeover. You won’t find water features, mermaids, or open flames. However — you will discover an airy, tropically-ambient space with an expertly designed menu by some of Boulder’s prominent service industry veterans. You may also enjoy island-inspired fare available until last call.
When Novotny began working behind the bar at Boulder’s Arcana three years ago — his desire to create a unique project of his own was already set in place. Now, with the right location and a little help from the Arcana team, Novotny’s vision has come to fruition. Jungle is small, special and surprisingly sophisticated. However, the inherently relaxing atmosphere is what sets this new destination apart from the rest of Boulder’s craft cocktail bars. Vinyl records spin reggae and Caribbean jazz — while tasteful, aesthetically pleasing details and fresh garnishes ignite the senses.
Throw on a Hawaiian shirt and request a Rock Out With Your Conch Out ($12) — an original cocktail with Cachaca, Bolivian brandy, pineapple, cashew and lime — served in a clever conch shell mug. Or, perhaps you are more inclined to taste a Blue Hawaii ($10) with vodka, pineapple, lemon, coconut and blue Curaçao. Drinking with a posse? Large format versions of classic cocktails are also available. Grab a straw and choose your own adventure.
Even if tiki drinks aren’t your thing — a selection of beer and “Island Wine” is available. The experienced team is willing to work with particularly picky imbibers to meet specific cocktail needs as well. In addition — it isn’t a small-town secret that Boulder has been overdue for a quality after-hours food option. While Jungle currently has a fairly strict final call for food and cocktails around midnight — Novotny and the team are working toward catering to the tireless late-night crowd.
The Luau Pork Sandwich ($12) is a unique escape from your typical late-night cheeseburger. Fried plantains ($8) make for a sweet snack with its especially spicy dipping sauce and the confit chicken wings ($15) are everything you want in a wing and more — try them with jerk or habanero sauce then dip them in cilantro ranch. These next-level bar bites were created from the same team helming the kitchen at Boulder’s celebrated restaurant, Arcana — in case you weren’t already sold on the fun new concept.
Jungle is located at 2018 10th St., Boulder. It is open Tuesday – Sunday 3 p.m. – 11 p.m.
All photography by Lukas Crosby