Black Eye/ White Lies

The true embodiment of all day cafe and creative hospitality space came to life with Black Eye/White Lies opening in late 2015 in Denver. Cafe by day, barbershop, bakery, tasting menu and cocktail bar by night. This Capitol Hill space provided house made bread, pastries and coffee alongside it's full cafe menu from 6:00am- 3:00 pm each day. The transition into evening revealed an entirely new concept, going all the way until closing at 2:00am. The back bar itself rotated to access it's over 700 spirits and the concept fully transformed into a high end restaurant and cocktail bar. 30 seasonal cocktail switched in their entirety every few months to match the food. Located on the ground floor of a brand new apartment building, just steps from the Historic Poet's Row Apartments, gave the concept it's voice and design vision. Nods to working class and hedonist lifestyles pair with simple functionality and community needs. A meeting space, a workplace, an affordable coffee stop, a barbershop, a high end restaurant experience, a neighborhood cocktail bar, Black Eye/White Lies was an ambitious concept not yet seen within Denver. Housed in just 3,000 sq ft the space had a barbershop, bakery, coffee shop, full kitchen, storage and 75 seat restaurant. It's first year opened with $1.25M in revenue and a 12.5% net profit under Waters as it's operating partner. After selling his ownership to one of the other business partners, the space closed within 10 months after numerous attempts to re-concept.

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Black Eye/ White Lies was celebrated for it’s unique approach and design aesthetic upon launch. It received features in local and national publications, such as Bon Appetit and was selected for numerous awards including Colorado’s Best Restaurant Design from Colorado Homes and Lifestyles Magazine. The award was selected based on how the restaurant design spatially and aesthetically suits service and function, as well as customer comfort and enjoyment.

“Everything down to smallest detail is inspired by the Poets Row apartments that are right up the street: photos of authors line the walls, and all of the cocktails on the menu are named after pieces of literary works of those artists,” says Waters. “We also expanded upon the style of Poets Row—art deco lines, colors and textures—without doing a full-on art deco theme.”

“You can come in during the day and continue to notice new things. But then you visit at night and get a completely new feel, from the bar shelves that rotate to expose the liquor (which are turned the other direction during the day), to the lighting and music changes. The whole vibe develops—we like to call it our alter-ego of the coffee shop. It plays into that hedonistic lifestyle of poets and writers, and their notoriously dark personalities that come along with that creativity.”