Kitchen Confidential: Williams & Graham faces licensing issues

And the kitchen renovation drama continues…

The Squeaky Bean

Earlier this month, Johnny Ballen and Josh Olsen of Squeaky Bean closed at their 33rd and Tejon location to make way for Occidental, a new bar, to open at the same location.  The Bean had hopes to expand their kitchen from the tiny galley in which the chefs, under the direction of Max MacKissock, were making their magic.  But according to Westword’s Lori Midson’s article on The Bean’s lease negotiations, the owners of the building would not acquiesce:

‘These negotiations have come to an unfortunate close, as our landlords have declined our lease extension, ultimately forcing us to abandon our current culinary program within the Rosa Linda’s building,’ says general manager Stephen Gallic.

So The Bean closed on June 12th, The Occidental will reopen in the same location on July 8th, and The Bean is currently looking for a new location.

And now, Williams & Graham, a new speakeasy to open under the direction of Todd Colehour (Kona Grill) and Sean Kenyon (The Occidental and formerly The Squeaky Bean) in the Highlands at 31st and Tejon, seems to be facing issues with their kitchen, too.  A Denver off the Wagon reader submitted a tip that W&G was having issues getting their liquor license approved.  Rumor has it W&G has not been able to get its restaurant bar license approved because it has struggled to get its kitchen license approved.  After the kitchen fires at Oak at Fourteenth and Salt the Bistro, the powers that be are especially concerned to grant licensing to kitchens/restaurants in historic buildings that have an elevated risk of fire.  Combine that with a bar to soon open and we’d imagine many are wary to have a repeat of the Great White incident.

So, it seems they’re holding off on the licensing and pushing back W&G’s opening until the end of August.

Repeal of Prohibition

After sweeping the big cocktail cities like New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco, Denver’s speakeasy scene went public after Frank Bonanno’s Green Russell opened up on Larimer Square.  And then it hit big with Travel + Leisure, hitting larger publications, including BBC.  And now Kenyon hopes to put Williams & Graham on the map.  But speakeasies are not entirely new to Denver.  Some local favorites have been Gin and Sin (now High Street Bar & Grill) and the Cruise Room (well, it used to be a speakeasy), and, uh, other blind pigs.  Speakeasies date back to Prohibition (1920-1933 in some states) when it was illegal to sell, transport, and manufacture alcoholic beverages.





The Occidental seems they won’t be opening their doors.  Rumor has it they won’t at all due to property management issues and those involved walked away from the project.  So, we await the opening of Williams & Graham while mourning the closed doors (for now) of The Squeaky Bean. (More Wagon articles on The Occidental)

The Squeaky Bean is very, very closely eyeing a location at 20th and Larimer in the “NoDo” district.  They’ll share the same neighborhood as Star Bar and Twelve.  (More Wagon articles on The Squeaky Bean – The Squeaky Bean website)

Euclid Hall welcomes Sean Kenyon to their bartender staff.  Sean starts slinging drinks behind the stick on July 13th.  Stop by to see the cocktail prowess of Denver’s star tender.  (More Wagon articles on Euclid Hall – More Wagon articles on Sean Kenyon – Euclid Hall website)


About Jess Hunter

Jess is a lady and a scholar. If she's not mulling over the various names of famous mustaches and their respective bitter cocktails, she's nibbling on American Craft Singles and Cantillon. Connect with her by email at