Note: a portion of my tab was covered by Number Thirty Eight, but all words and photos are mine.
“Did you change things for COVID, or was all this [waves hands] serendipitous?” That was my first question to Number Thirty Eight CEO Spencer Fronk as he gave me a tour of the gigantic new space at 36th and Chestnut Place in RiNo. He laughed, but no – Number 38’s mostly outside areas and contactless ordering system was in the works well before the world fell apart. Named such because Colorado is the 38th state (and not the proximity to 38th Street, which yes, confused me at first), they are a twist on the food halls exploding all over Denver.
New Venue Concept
Part bar, part restaurant, part music venue, Number Thirty Eight aims to capture the feeling of après skiing with outdoor spaces – and lots of heaters. Repurposed from a former neon-sign factory in RiNo, there are 12,00 square feet of open space indoors where guests can choose small tables, bar spots, or lounge areas while enjoying drinks from some of the very best of Colorado’s breweries, distilleries, and cideries. One side of the bar area remains closed until social distance limits increase but will eventually feature rotating taps from all over the state. (However, this light beer drinker was pretty thrilled to see Coors Light flowing freely already!)
There are four food stations – all run by Chef Merlin Verrier, who was in charge of Lollapalooza’s food for a decade after making his start here in Denver at Rioja. It’s a selection of international street food, including tacos and bao buns. We loved everything we tried – although we actually ordered too much!
Spencer pointed out how much care was placed into Number Thirty Eight’s furnishings – and how their branding wasn’t as much about splashing the logo everything, but by bringing blues, golds, and Colorado textures into every nook and cranny. For such a large space, they did a great job of carving out little corners where friends can gather.
Be sure to check out the peak-through mirror outside the bathrooms!
This is the part I am most excited about (of course)! A wall of garage doors open onto an 18,000 square foot outdoor “lawn” that provides multi-level spaces for people to spread out and take in live entertainment year-round – perhaps with a big puffy coat in winter. “Come on! We’re from Colorado, right?” Spencer reminded me. While reservations are required at Number Thirty Eight right now (and they are limited) during COVID times, eventually, the venue will hold 1,000 people – and they will focus on local bands and comedians. YES!
The night we were there, Do 303 was sponsoring 90s Night – something that will occur monthly, and a group of Denver faves banded together to deliver standards from the decade of grunge. Check out Number Thirty Eight’s events page – the calendar is already stacked with local heavy hitters (and I have started adding their events to my concert calendar too). Each night has two sets so the staff can wipe down for safety in between. The sound was great and I hope we can hang out under their heaters all winter long. P.S. These events are FREE, you guys!
When you enter Number 38, a host will take your temperature, ID, and attach a credit card upfront to an RFID wristband. “We definitely like to think of ourselves as a mini music festival,” Spencer told me. You’ll use your wristband to swipe for drink and food orders through the night – and it worked perfectly! Made those (distanced) lines go very fast too.
Number Thirty Eight automatically adds 17.5% gratuity to all wristbands at the end of the night – so when you are done, you can just … leave! If a customer would like to adjust the tip either way, they can always stop by the host stand and work out a different amount. It was fun to watch folks try and close out and then be waved along! I love this system – so quick and efficient.
That’s right! Pooches are welcome to come hang out on the patio. As someone who is dog-less now, it was fun to stop and get some love on my way for beers.
Thumbs Up From Us
We kept our group small for the first time to Number Thirty Eight, but I look forward to adding this venue/bar/restaurant to our regular haunts and meeting many pals there as soon as possible. Welcome to Denver, new friends!
Number Thirty Eight Social Hall
3560 Chestnut Place, Denver, CO 80216
Thursday & Friday: 3pm-12am, Saturday: 11am – 12am, Sunday: 11am – 10pm