What do a fashion boutique, a whiskey bar, a cafe, and a design consultancy all have in common? Well if you're Bellwether in Denver, Colorado, that means all these businesses are sharing the same address. This is exactly the kind of space you'd expect to see popping up in hip, trendsetting new digital Denver, currently home to one of America's most interesting coffee scenes, and perhaps its most openly interdisciplinary. It seems like coffee in Denver is rightly seen as collaboration fuel. You can't be mad at that.
As told to Sprudge by Rustin Coburn.
For those who aren't familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Bellwether is a social club established in 2015, to bring talented creatives together to cultivate and grow real community and culture in Denver. The primary focus of Bellwether is a curated whiskey and coffee bar, with a working-class fashion boutique, and an entrepreneurial launch pad.
The idea was created by Josh Schmitz and Rustin Coburn. They wanted to have office space for their branding and marketing agency, UNFILTERED, as well as a flagship location for their clothing company, RUCKUS. The rest of the concept organically grew after they found the perfect location, and signed a three-year lease back in November 2014. Schmitz and Coburn wanted to create a modern-day social club that was innovative and creative, but a place where everyone could still feel welcome and comfortable. And they wanted a place that they could call home.
Business partners Athena Brownson and Adam McCarty were brought onto the team to help round out the skill sets and financial contributions. Brownson specializes in real estate, interior design, and legal communications. McCarty brings a wealth of experience in design and motorcycle fabrication (which will be another special feature of what Bellwether is offering).
In the front of the space, Bellwether is now offering a whiskey and coffee bar in the same area as a clothing boutique, including 11 different fashion-forward and working-class brands. The second layer of the space is a members-only barbershop (ask for more details), and behind that there is office space for their agency, UNFILTERED, and their clothing brand, RUCKUS. Bellwether is on East Colfax Ave (part of the enterprise zone) on the cross sections of the Park Hill and Mayfair neighborhoods.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Located on East Colfax in the heart of Denver. 1,900 sq ft on the main floor. 1,000 sq ft is dedicated to the coffee bar, customer seating, and the retail area. The remaining 900 sq ft is for office space and barbershop.
We did all the build-out and interior design ourselves.
What's your approach to coffee?
We take a well-curated, high-quality, and simple approach to coffee. We carefully select the best local products and showcase them in an accessible way to excite both the coffee connoisseur and the everyday consumer. Currently, we feature Boxcar Coffee Roasters and Method Coffee Roasters for our cold brew, which are both Denver-based.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
Rancillio Classe 6
EK 43 (coming soon)
Nitro Cold Brew
We desired the mechanical pressure profiling from a lever machine for the style of coffees we serve and our interpretation of espresso. We wanted a smooth ramp and decompression of pressure rather than a stepped system. The sweetest coffees we can find….thus choosing Boxcar Coffee Roasters.
What's your hopeful target opening date/month?
Our grand opening was Friday, August 14th.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you'd like to mention?
All photos taken by Rebecca Slaughter.