Earlier this week, on my way to Denver, I put out a call for suggestions for good places to have cocktails in Denver. One of my friends suggested Corridor 44, a champagne and cocktail bar. I took a look at the website, saw only champagne listed in the drink section, and decided that it wasn’t likely going to be worth a stop for me.
On Wednesday night I was out and about with some coworkers, looking for a watering hole for the evening, when we passed Corridor 44. It looked good from the outside, so we made our way in from the Colorado cold in search of a drink.
The first thing that struck me about Corridor 44 was how opulent it was. There were bright patterned wallpapers, large booths, sultry lighting, and comfortable couches throughout. A good mix of contemporary Indie music, classic rock, and tasteful dance tracks played on the stereo. The bar was stocked with a limited, yet comprehensive, array of decent spirits and liqueurs, and like most Denver bars, had a great selection of local microbrews and imports.
While the menu included quite a large selection of champagnes and wines, I obviously was there for the cocktails. Unlike the Cruise Room, Corridor 44 has a very classic cocktail menu and eschews contemporary flavored vodka marketing cocktails. Pretty much all the classics were printed on the menu — Manhattan, Martini, Old Fashioned, Daquiri, Sidecar, and so on. It was pretty much a list of 15 of the most classic cocktails.
While I enjoyed what I had — a Sidecar, a Napoleon, and a rendition of my own Yellow Ribbon — I more enjoyed the fact that it was a bar that wanted to do the classics right. Our bartender Courtney did a good job with what was on the menu and knew other classics (one friend ordered a French 75 and she didn’t even blink). Corridor 44 was a reminder that a bar doesn’t have to be a high end joint with a celebrity bartender or a modern speakeasy to make great classic cocktails. Moreover, I think the menu selection shows that bars don’t have to take the latest recipes from the marketing departments of Skyy, Stoli, Bacardi, and Jose Cuervo to present their customers with interesting drinks. There are plenty out there that have done the job for decades and we don’t have to rush to replace them. All in all, I’d definitely return to Corridor 44 the next time I’m in Denver and I’m happy to recommend it to my readers.