Sage Restaurant Group—the Denver-based independent restaurant group dedicated to providing innovative, playful, and locally-driven food and beverage experiences—introduces Poka Lola Social Club, a lively cocktail bar inspired by the turn-of-the-century American soda fountain culture, now open and located adjacent to Kachina Southwestern Grill at Dairy Block in Downtown Denver.
With its unique cocktails and eye-catching playful design, Poka Lola reinvents the “everyman’s bar” for the modern set, and aims to be an inviting gathering place for all guests and occasions, whether it’s a meeting destination before a night out on the town or an after-shift drink for members of the city’s hospitality community.
“We created Poka Lola Social Club to simply be a fun place, from the 1950’s-inspired design and its inviting, open layout, right down to the fountain-style cocktails and cheeky phrases on the coasters,” says Peter Karpinski, co-founder of SRG. “With a prime location at the new Dairy Block, this bar will be in the core of Downtown Denver’s most exciting development. We’re eager to meet, and have a drink with, all of our guests, with the hope that everyone feels at home.”
Poka Lola’s menu, created by SRG’s Director of Beverage Operations Brandon Wise, offers a nod to nostalgia with a selection of signature cocktails and classically inspired drinks. “Fancy Drinks” section features unique concoctions which include an Aperol Cocktail with aperol, grapefruit-lime cordial, and prosecco; Improved Jungle Bird with Overproof rum, pineapple phosphate, Campari, and lime; and Crate & Barrel with bourbon, sweet vermouth, barrel-aged Benedictine, absinthe, and bitters. The “Fountain Drinks” section features cocktails served from a tap, with options like the Negroni Soda with Campari, sweet vermouth, orange cream citrate, and juniper soda; Windsor Egg Cream with fernet, chocolate, cream, egg white, seltzer, and mint; and the Woodward Avenue Cooler, made with rye whiskey, Vernors ginger ale, angostura bitters, and vanilla ice cream.
Unique to Poka Lola are specialty sodas made with locally sourced seasonal ingredients, which are bottled onsite for use in cocktails, to be enjoyed on their own, or be taken home by guests. Flavors include Lime Rickey made with lime cordial, angostura bitters, and seltzer, as well as a Pineapple Lactart made with coconut milk and ginger beer. The bar will also serve local beers by the bottle or can, as well as a variety of wines.
Executive Chef Jeff Bolton, of the neighboring Kachina Southwestern Grill, presents a limited food menu, including a Timpano, a baked bowl of pasta inspired by the movie ‘Big Night,’ made with Italian sausage, bell peppers, onion, tomato sauce, and white cheddar cheese, all served in a garlic bread crust, and Smoked Colorado Lamb Ribs, topped with chipotle barbecue sauce and served with house-cut fries.
Designed by New York City-based Crème Design in collaboration with SRG the Poka Lola space features an open layout with plush chairs and small tables; bold black and white-patterned floors, an elevated take on classic checkered board floors; and a stunning bar adorned by glowing stained glass panels. Along the back wall, a luminous display of antique bottles and mirrors create an inviting backdrop for a night out. In addition to playing in the bar’s small arcade game area, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy cocktails in the alley come early summer.