Kendra Anderson, also known as “Swirl Girl“, is the epitome of class and hospitality. As our paths have crossed in the Denver food scene for years, I’ve always respected her sommelier chops, advocacy for drinking pink (rose!) and love her elaborate stories of the dinner parties she hosts. Although it’s her first time as restauranteur, she’s no novice. Kendra has gone to culinary school and subsequently worked in catering, events, and wine for more than a decade.
Photo Credit: BarHelix
I was delighted to learn of her five years in the making dream, with opening BarHelix, a swanky, evocative, yet classy bar in RiNo. Described as part bar, part lounge, and part restaurant they opened at 3440 Larimer Street on October 3rd. The namesake is after the shape of a corkscrew.
The space and design elements are influenced by 70s glamour. Each detail Kendra has personally touched and designed.
The backsplash behind the bar showcases ebony, grey, and silver tiles that glisten in the light. Kendra said she wanted that piece to be reminiscent of a disco ball. The bar top is white quartz and the bottom part of the bar is flanked by glowing bubbles (hello, champagne). This front bar area has unfinished cement floors, with red walls, and hanging circular chandeliers orbs.
In the front room there’s bar seating, a long community table, and a few low tables for small groups. For warmer summer months, there’s also an outside patio with accordion glass doors separating the indoor/outdoor space.
The back space, brings you past a small bar with a few stools that peer into the open kitchen to watch the chefs at work. In back you’ll find yourself in a more intimate lounge that has lower lighting (and subsequently no windows).
You’ll find the ‘negroni wall’, an homage to Kendra’s favorite drink. The drink photos are all taken by Kendra over the years, showcasing her favorite negronis from around the country.
There’s a private booth with plush gold and black pillows that can host groups, high-top tables, and lower coffee table seating with hues of pink, black, and gold to complete the intimate spacing in the back room.
The bar is focused on cocktails that are seasonally inspired, made with wine-based spirits, beer, cider, and sake, and of course, approachable by-the-glass wines.
Speaking of negronis, there are four negroni cocktails such as the Exotic which is espolon blanco tequila, campari, and doulin rouge or the A Pain in the Ass which is CVC vodka, sake, and ginger-lime simple syrup. My personal favorite was A Bad Bitch of rittenhouse rye, aperol, and blackbery simple syrup. I can’t help but love that despite the swank, the first beer listed is Miller High Life, yes, the champagne of beers and in quotes on the menu it says: ’nuff said.
The food surprised me the most (in the best possible way). I knew the drinks and space would be nailed, but the food takes it to another level. The kitchen is helmed by Chef John Hadala, most recently of Il Posto. And just like the creative, often edgy drink names, the food goes there, as well.
Kendra holding their Fancy Crudité Tray
First, I love when the menu items are things I can’t get at many other places, if at all. To give you an idea: Crispy Creamy Balls which are porcini mushrooms arancini, Dirty Popcorn for snacking on made with huitlacoche-jalapeño butter, the Naughty Waffles made with splendid tater tots with pickle-brined buttermilk fried chicken and sriracha-wildflower honey aioli, and the Hot Sex on a Platter which is a house-made blueberry pop-tart topped with foi gras are just some of the small plates to grace their menu.
Rangoons – jumbo lump crab, savory cream cheese, charred scallion, sriracha sweet + sour
Finally, the Bump + Bubbles is probably what you need to try if you’re a first timer to really commemorate the occasion. Instead of going with the Ballerific Caviar Service for $80 (which you can and should because they also come with Pringles) you can ease into your evening with the Siberian reserve caviar ‘bump’ on your hand, alongside champagne.
Photo Credit: BarHelix
They aren’t messing around.
I love how BarHelix is edgy, classy, and sultry all at the same time. The drinks are well thought out, the food is experimental and creative, and the space is warm enough to cozy up with your girlfriends, but just perfect enough for a sexy date night.
The space seats 75 guests. They’re open 4 p.m. to midnight, Tuesday through Saturday.
3440 Larimer Street Denver, CO | insidethehelix.com