The bar at Ghost Donkey, which specializes in mezcal and tequila cocktails. Ghost Donkey started in New York and is coming to Denver this spring. (Provided by AvroKO Hospitality Group)
More out-of-town concepts are surely coming to Denver in 2020, but here’s one to watch out for if you’re a fan of agave spirits. It’s a bar called Ghost Donkey, and it was just named 2020 cocktail bar of the year by Imbibe magazine.
When this mezcal- and tequila-slinging spot opens behind Union Station in the spring, it will mark the brand’s third location in the U.S. Service and design pros AvroKO Hospitality Group started Ghost Donkey in New York in 2016 and opened an outpost at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas in 2018.
This newest location is at The Coloradan, a downtown Denver condo building that sits just across the train platform at Union Station. Shortly after opening this year, the building’s ground-floor retail spaces were already filling with a blow-dry bar, barre fitness studio, women’s clothing boutique and coffee shop.
But the onsite restaurant and bar businesses were yet to be named; now we know one of them.
The face of Ghost Donkey is barman Ignacio “Nacho” Jimenez. According to Imbibe, he stocks 98% of his bar with mezcal and tequila producers he knows directly. Drinks are inspired by Mexico, Jimenez’ home country. A best-seller, the stone wall, is made with Espolon reposado, Montelobos mezcal, pomegranate and habanero cider.
The small food menu features plays on Mexican snacks, like elote salad, artichoke tacos, churros and four types of nachos — wild mushroom, truffle, mole chicken and chorizo.
While craft mezcals and tequilas have stepped into the spotlight in recent years, Ghost Donkey’s national acclaim seems to stem also from its original style and service. Imbibe calls the mood of the place “perpetually upbeat,” with Jimenez behind the bar, enjoying the (usually Mexican) music or swinging the bar’s hanging lights to rev up the crowd’s energy …”
“Twenty years ago, when I first came to America, being Mexican was something you hid behind,” he told the magazine. “Now, it’s something you cherish. I’ve always wanted to provide a space where everyone is safe, and here it doesn’t matter if you’re Mexican or not — if you have good vibes, come on in, let’s have fun!”
Watch for Ghost Donkey Denver this spring at 1750 Wewatta St.
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