It isn’t often you get to sit in a restaurant and wonder whether the odor in the air is drying glue from a brand new bar or remnants of 40-year-old embalming fluid from the previous funeral parlor tenants.
Recently opened in the historic Olinger Mortuary, and boasting Denver’s chef-of-the-moment, Justin Cucci (also of Root Down), Linger is guaranteed to be the next hot happy hour spot and eatery. Since it is located in the trendy LoHi district and just a 10-minute walk from Downtown Denver, accessibility and gourmet (but reasonably priced) food become a winning combination adding to the neighborhood’s allure.
What we love most is that the theme of a funeral parlor is apparent everywhere you look. Grim, and charming, all at the same time. The upstairs is backed with wallpaper straight from the 60s, drink menus are held inside metal autopsy chart binders, and water (sparkling or still) is served out of bottles that look like they once held formaldehyde.
The bar, which boasts one of the best views of downtown Denver from the Lower Highlands, is composed of Lite-Brite decor (awesome) and lined with various herbaceous treats intended for your glass. Perhaps the most memorable cocktail was Linger’s take on the Corpse Reviver (#2.5), a local Cap Rock gin-based libation fused with Lillet Blanc, plum bitters, and other “spirits.” This cocktail concept, complete with infusions and high quality base spirits, is not new to us, as the bar program was developed by Anika Zappe (startender and bar manager of Root Down). Lots of great Colorado beer is available as well as an atypical Redstone Meadery tap handle (some interesting cocktails await with this one). Punch service is on the menu for groups of five or more, served in colorful, vintage glassware that may have been used at someone’s wake and guaranteed to be good and stiff! It would be icing on the cake (or final nail on the coffin?) if they had Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale, Victory’s Old Horizontal, Orkney Brewery’s SkullSplitter, or even Left Hand’s Wake Up Dead on their menu.
Happy hour noms consist of a small-plates menu with items such as Mongolian BBQ Duck Sliders (whoa), Saag Paneer Fries, and Strongbow Cider mussels. Drinks are reasonably priced at $5 for mojitos, Green Tea Ginger Cooler, Caipirinha, and house red or white wine. Selected drafts are $3 and Sauza Silver Margaritas are only $4. Not bad, and you can find these treats served between 4-6:30pm.
We definitely recommend paying this new gem a visit, but before you go, a little history: It’s estimated that 45,000 bodies were prepared for burial at this mortuary, enough to fill the Colosseum in Rome. Keep in mind that is a LOT of ghosts.