Blind Tiger hard kombucha bar in Denver is back open

Denver’s only dedicated hard kombucha bar is back in business.

For the first time since January, the Blind Tiger, at 3040 Blake St., began serving cocktails —  all concocted with Hooch Booch hard kombucha — on Saturday. The bar also has beer, wine, tea, coffee and small bites, said Anna Zesbaugh, who owns both Hooch Booch and Blind Tiger.

Zesbaugh originally opened the bar last December on a special event liquor license. She planned to close after the holiday season to redecorate the space and add equipment, but she didn’t anticipate waiting seven months for her business license to be approved by the city of Denver.

Zesbaugh said she thought she’d leased a turnkey space at the Backyard on Blake building in RiNo, which is also home to Stem Ciders and Blue Sparrow Coffee. But in February she learned the spot would have to undergo a “change of use” to be able to sell food and beverages, as well as a change of occupancy.

That required Zesbaugh to basically start from scratch with city planners – a process that proved untimely and costly since she had to pay rent while the doors were closed.

“Had I known it would have been six months later or maybe longer, I don’t know if I would have gone down the same path or just tried to go find a space that was already suitable for the use,” Zesbaugh said.

But with the red tape in the rearview mirror, Zesbaugh is now focusing on the future of Blind Tiger, which she bills as a “day-to-evening lounge.” The spot is open Tuesdays through Sundays.

Thirsty locals looking for a place to sit and stay a while can take advantage of Blind Tiger’s “drip all day” deal, which includes bottomless servings of tea, coffee and Hooch Booch for $22. Hooch Booch, Zesbaugh’s pandemic-born venture, includes a line of canned kombucha cocktails with recipes like The Bee’s Knees and Old Fashioned, each clocking in at 8.5% ABV.

Patrons can purchase food from a Choice Mini Mart vending machine onsite, which sells sandwiches, salads and snacks, or order hot food from Stem Ciders. Zesbaugh plans to host yoga classes every Thursday at 6 p.m. and to integrate live music throughout the week.

“I feel really excited for what’s to come,” she said.

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