When we think of great craft cocktails and modern speakeasies, honestly Boulder Colorado isn’t really something that really pops into mind. But Mark Stoddard, Bar Manager and “Liquid Savant” from The Bitter Bar is working to change that.
The Bitter Bar is a modern speakeasy. During the day it’s home to a noodle restaurant called Happy Noodle House, then at night all the front doors are bolted and the curtain’s drawn and it’s transformed into The Bitter Bar. To get into The Bitter Bar you need to find the back entrance. Lit by a single glowing blue light this unique entrance has a retractable door knob and complex entry system that stops just short of a secret knock. Were it not for the light “bb” smiley face logo lightly stenciled in the wall next to the door, you might never know where this door lead.
Once inside the Bitter Bar you’re met with one of the best back bars we’ve seen in a bar. While we’ve seen a lot more bottles on a back bar, each bottle here seems incredibly well selected including a number of very hard to find spirits. “We use everything on the back bar,” comments Mark Stoddard who sits us down and begins an impromptu gin tasting that lasts almost half an hour. A great bar is the union of a great place and a great staff and The Bitter Bar brings those two together in spades.
Mark Stoddard’s passion for spirits is contagious. As he walked us through the wide variety of cold draft, hand cut and specialty ice he uses in each cocktail we got a clear sense that no detail when it comes to cocktails is too small for him not to obsess over. Stoddard strives for excellence in everything he does, and that’s lead him to some amazing wins on the national level including being a member of the winning team for last years 42 Below Cocktail World Cup competition.
As we stat at the bar, Mark Stoddard made many of the cocktails on his menu. From the simple and easy The Brothers Bond (a union of spirits from Leopold Bros. and a classic James Bond Drink) [2oz of Leopolds Gin, 1oz Leopold’s Bros. Silver Tree Vodka and 1/2oz of Cocchi Americano] to the more complex and Savory Rock n’ Tyme (a mix of Caprock Gin, Cynar, hose made Thyme Syrup and Apple Bitters). Many of the mixing ingredients outside of spirits which go into cocktails at The Bitter Bar are house made including one of the more flavorful pomegranate grenadine we’ve had.
The Bitter Bar is a great example of the spread of the classic cocktail movement, that even in a place like Boulder Colorado a speakeasy can thrive and be a shining example of a world class cocktail bar.
The Bitter Bar is located at 835 Walnut Street, Boulder CO – 303.442.3050