The renovated interior of the new Broadway Roxy, formerly Syntax Physic Opera, at 554 S. Broadway. (Provided by B Public Relations)
The Broadway Roxy, formerly known as Syntax Physic Opera, hasn’t had the easiest time with public perception since we first learned of it on June 5.
Beloved by the artistic community, Syntax was operated by longtime scenester, arts booster and booker Jonathan Bitz, who helped give exposure to many of the city’s biggest musicians on their way up (think Nathaniel Rateliff, The Lumineers, etc.) On top of that, out-of-towner and gentrification complaints have been amplified in recent months by rising rents, fleeing artists and the loss of local character along many formerly safe stretches of urban Denver road.
RELATED: South Broadway’s Syntax will become The Roxy next month
Westword helped fan the flames with a June 7 article asking “How Many Roxys Can Denver Have?” — a reference to the fact that there was already a bar and venue with the same name, the Five Points neighborhood’s Roxy Theatre, which has operated in Denver on and off since 1913 as a movie theater, club and (currently) a music venue, Kyle Harris wrote.
But the Broadway Roxy’s management is looking to put all that behind them with this week’s opening of the club, which will feature nightly live music, a full dinner menu with “New American shared plates” and a full bar, according to a press release.
The Broadway Roxy officially opened at 554 S. Broadway on Aug. 14 with the promise that “several former guest favorites will continue to be part of the lineup, including folk singer Anthony Ruptak, Weird Touch and Mile High Soul Club.”
However, the new additions may be the real reason to check out the new Roxy.
Chef Christopher Rasmussen, formerly of Highland Tap & Burger, has created a small-plates menu with upscale comforts such as Pastrami Sliders (think caramelized onions, melted cold-smoked gouda and garlic horseradish aioli on house-made pretzel buns), Grandma’s Meatballs — adapted from his grandmother’s 100-old recipe, with a mix of beef, pork and veal — plus burgers and sandwiches (beef, falafel and lamb), along with salads and veggie options.
True to its namesake in Encinitas, Calif., the cocktail menu is bringing a 1920s vibe with classics such as the Bees Knees, Boston Sour, Gin Rickey, the old-fashioned and the Aviation. The inside doesn’t look drastically different, although there are plans to reinforce the art deco aesthetic with more historic photos and fixtures. Syntax’s cozy red walls have also been replaced with a fresher, white-and-blue color scheme.
The California-based Roxy, which first opened in 1978, is known for booking more than 650 live shows per year and serving a popular falafel recipe.
“A year and a half ago, I asked some friends to find a place for dinner that reminded them of The Roxy, and they found this,” owner Paula Vrakas told The Know in June, noting remarkable similarities between the existing menus, programming and logo of Syntax and The Roxy. “This was the only serious place I looked at. And I mean, The Lumineers used to practice in the basement. How can you beat that?”
There are also plans to introduce a dog-friendly front patio and weekend brunch service in Denver starting in the fall, Vrakas said.
Broadway Roxy, 554 S. Broadway, (720) 456-7041, broadwayroxy.com. 5 p.m.-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday.