Cocktail Hour on Little Raven

The bar at Zengo

The bar at Zengo – Photo: Mitch Dinkins

Tequila is an odd drink. Often the source of hazy college flashbacks, late night runs for food you’ll regret in the morning, and the only drink served regularly from belly buttons. It is not a surprise then that many swear off it completely as they grow past their partying days. This unfortunate reputation is in need of a change. Two restaurants, one a neighborhood staple and its new sister concept are bringing the southern spirit the praise it deserves in Denver.

Zengo has been dishing out modern, Asian-Latin fusion in Riverfront Park since 2004. A Richard Sandoval venture, Zengo features a regularly changing menu designed to pair perfectly with the cocktail menu, one not short on spirits from Jalisco. Over 100 varieties of tequila await for you at Zengo, each available neat or as one of the bar’s signature cocktails. The servers are well educated on the selection and can confidently provide you with recommendations to fit your cocktail style, your meal, or the occasion. As for occasions, Zengo is fit for any type. A healthy bar, a great casual lounge, and an upscale dining room make the restaurant a contender for any event.

Eight months ago Zengo’s sister restaurant, La Biblioteca de Tequila, opened next door and now houses Denver’s most impressive selection of tequila. Actually, 375 distinct tequilas is impressive for any city. Sorted in a large leather-bound book, a choice of more Blancos, Reposados, Añejos, and Super Añejos than you could possibly taste in a year await you. They truly take fine tequila to a new level and will abolish any suspicion you may have remaining for the multi-colored spirit. The easiest way to navigate your choices is with the help of their staff, Riley and Jason are particularly helpful and can both provide extensive guided tours through their menu as well as extensive histories on the traditions of tequila. At the top of their suggestions, are the Cucumber Pepino and Sweet Heat, both of which showcase the house tequila infusions and satisfy any cocktail cravings you may have. They pair excellently with their Biblio Burger or Mahi Mahi tacos.

(Photo: Mitch Dinkins)

(Photo: Mitch Dinkins)

The end of the work-week also offers the ability to check out La Biblioteca’s late night style. From 10:00 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, the focus is the lounge. A Friday ladies night and Saturday top 40s DJ highlight a great room for a weekend retreat from your regular stresses. Late night even features a small bites menu to help in case you indulge as heavily in the tequila menu as you’ll want to.

La Biblioteca also offers two experiences for those (read: most of us) who’d like to become regulars (there are already several due to the staff). The first is a group of lockers available to anyone who would like to purchase a bottle. The lockers, clad in black and covered with medieval style locks offer an experience reminiscent of whiskey houses and are screaming for new lessors. Select your favorite bottle, have it stored in a locker and it can be served any time you like. You could also earn a locker and a house favorite bottle. A library card in which you catalog your tequila adventures allows you to earn free tastings, signature cocktails and even, if you do enough “reading,” a bottle and locker of your own. In the eight months since opening they already have several earned lockers filled on their walls, which is a testament to the experience you’ll have when you walk through their doors.

Tequila Lockers

Photo: Mitch Dinkins


1610 Little Raven Street

(720) 904-0965

La Biblioteca de Tequila

1610 Little Raven Street, Suite #200

(720) 905-0965


About Mitch Dinkins

Mitch prefers life at 10,000' but can often be found around Denver or Boulder enjoying the finer things his home state has to offer.