Caroline Glover’s New Cocktail Bar Offers an Escape From the Everyday at Traveling Mercies

In December 2023, James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Caroline Glover and her husband – Nelson Harvey – introduced a new concept restaurant just a few flights up from their first restaurant, Annette, in Stanley Marketplace. Traveling Mercies is a coastal-themed oyster and cocktail bar inspired by her and her husband’s culinary adventures abroad and marks their first journey into the cocktail bar realm. 

Although this is a new restaurant concept for Glover, she is not new to the challenges that come with developing a restaurant. While developing Traveling Mercies, Glover was able to “have a bit more fun with it just because [she] was able to anticipate some of the roadblocks to happen, but ultimately, it was an external challenge this time” between raising her now 11-month-old baby and dealing with a limited amount of time.

However, that didn’t stop her from establishing an elevated yet familiar menu for Traveling Mercies, which includes a full raw bar equipped with oysters and shrimp cocktails –sourced from Hama Hama (WA), Island Creek Oysters (MA) and E-Fish from multiple harvesters – meant for drinks and snacks, to full meal range dining experience. 

Photo Courtesy of Traveling Mercies

Colorado may not be the first place that people think of for fresh seafood. However, Glover explains, “Sometimes we can get fresher seafood than people on the coast just because it’s overnighted and there’s so many incredible vendors and fisherman that it isn’t as problematic to get seafood to Colorado anymore. Not the way that it used to be.”

Not only is raw seafood a large portion of the menu at Traveling Mercies, but Glover goes further to re-imagine classics such as the wedge salad and Old Bay sourdough crackers and offers small plates like a soft egg with tonnato, layered rice pudding (which rotates seasonally) and mussel escabeche toast – one of Glover’s recommended dishes that features Bakery Four sourdough, in-house pickled mussels, aioli and pickled mustard seeds. Harvey describes it as “if you had the best fridge at home and made a snack late at night, this is what you would want,” and the sentiment is reflected in Glover as well.

Photo Courtesy of Traveling Mercies

Annette is echoed through the physical space of Stanley Marketplace and becomes apparent in the drink menu at Traveling Mercies with the help of their long-acquainted wine director, Daniel Seibel, and bar manager, Matt Baczor.

Seibel’s wine menu highlights sparkling and white wines and features boutique producers focused on regenerative farming, while Baczor’s classic cocktails are inspired by rum expressions from Martinique, Jamaica and St. Lucia. The Traveling Mercies martini is a highlight inspired by Glover’s stepfather and includes Kyro Finnish gin, Manzanilla Sherry, tarragon, and preserved lemon olive oil. The beverage menu is expansive and offers non-alcoholic options as well as alternatives that are all based around the coastal atmosphere of the bar. 

Photo Courtesy of Traveling Mercies

The inspiration for Traveling Mercies came not only from Glover and Harvey’s travels abroad but also from Glover’s family and their personal experiences as travelers and artists. “Traveling Mercies” is a salutation from Glover’s mom that she uses instead of ‘safe travels,’ which Glover finds to be very admirable because of the “sentiment and the hopefulness that the journey ahead is safe and is such a different way to think about and say safe travels.”

This sentiment can be reflected in the actual design of the bar, from the vintage European chore coat uniforms to the artwork and the textural hues of terracotta and deep blue. One piece in particular that Glover is particularly fond of is the collage of artists with their hands photographed by Glover’s grandfather in the waiting area. The piece speaks to Traveling Mercies for Glover not only because it features Annette but also is reflective of “everybody that had a hand in the space, who is an artist in their own right – whether it’s a farmer or a vendor or the hands shucking the oysters or shaking a cocktail – it spoke to all of us when thinking about all of the hands that came together to create the space and is one of my favorite pieces.”

Although the space is only 400 square feet, it offers an oasis for “people to duck into and forget about everything for a minute” in an intimate and authentic way that Glover hopes will continue in the years to come. 

Traveling Mercies is located on the west side of Stanley Marketplace on the third floor. It is open Tuesday to Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is closed on Mondays. They accept walk-ins only, and the last table is seated at 10 p.m.

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