The Gist: When Gabor’s, a long-standing watering hole in Capitol Hill, closed four years ago, owner Sam Roots (Providence Tavern) announced it would become Marion Street Tavern. It was a long time coming, but well worth the wait. The new tavern — a warm, cozy and beautifully designed space that’s a collection of old and new — is the kind of welcoming joint that embodies everything you could want from a neighborhood gathering place. Here’s what to know before you go.
The Food: The excellent burgers at Providence Tavern have always been its calling card, and you’ll find many of the same options here. The menu also boasts an eclectic lineup of appetizers (everything from potstickers to jalapeño snake bites wrapped in bacon), salads, a handful of Mexican dishes and several notable sandwiches (including a textbook Reuben topped with roasted corned beef, sauerkraut, melted Swiss and Thousand Island dressing, pictured above). Don’t miss the housemade potato chips dusted in spices.
The Drinks: Forget over-the-top cocktails with superfluous flourishes. At this point, Marion Street doesn’t even have a cocktail scroll. It’s in the works, says Roots, who emphasizes that its beauty will reside in its simplicity. The real draw here is the 16 beer taps that parade craft varietals, as well as a prominent whiskey selection extolling both familiar labels and small-batch distilleries.
The Space: While this is not a speakeasy, the 70-seat space is divided into two dim-lit, saloonlike rooms that boast a Prohibition vibe (minus, thankfully, the fedoras). The decor struts weathered brick walls, a pressed-tin ceiling that dates back to 1905 and window panes procured from a nearby home built in 1919. Tables, some surfaced with wood from a tobacco barn, while others are from now-closed bars and restaurants, are flanked by an old, fireproof metal door from a Denver bank, 500-year-old stone columns procured from the Swat District in Pakistan and historic photos of Denver’s fabled past. It was designed, says Roots, to feel lived in — despite the fact that he completely gutted the place and essentially built it from bones. “The point is to take you out of your reality and transport you somewhere else,” explains Roots.
The Specials: Happy hour, which runs daily from 3–7 PM, includes select draft beers, well drinks and by-the-glass wines for $4; food specials range from $3 crab cakes to pulled-pork sliders priced at $2.
The Details: The tavern is open from noon–10 PM Monday through Saturday until midnight on Sunday. Weekend brunch is slated to launch by the end of the month, and a late-night happy hour is also forthcoming.