TELLURIDE – Tucked into a Pacific Street alcove, There…, Telluride’s newest evening hot spot, is quietly abuzz on a Tuesday evening. A group of locals are settled into the window-framed niche up front, lounging on cow-patterned benches and sipping glasses of wine. Smaller clusters of friends mingle at nearby bar tables over steamed buns, one of There’s specialty edibles, while in the far corner a couple stand nestled between the trunks of two aspen trees that appear to be sprouting up through the table.
And at the bar, a diverse collection of cocktails faces an equally diverse group of patrons sunk onto bar stools crafted of old-fashioned metal trailer seats, feet resting atop a vintage mining train track footrest.
Above it all, a back-lit metallic cut-out sign reflects writer Kurt Vonnegut’s infamous phrase, “So it goes…” – a nod, perhaps, to the buoyantly free-form vibe of Telluride’s newest bar/restaurant.
“The concept with this design was to create as many different moods as possible,” explains There… proprietor Andrew Tyler of the intimate yet unexpectedly varied setting he’s created in the small nook that had previously been home to, among other things, a pizza take-out spot and a Nepalese restaurant.
The There… milieu represents a fusion of the new with the old, the trendy with the traditional – much like Telluride itself, both funky and refined. Metal cage-encased lights hanging above the bar emanate an industrial feel, while the ceiling is covered in the tin ceiling panels reminiscent of mining era drinking establishments of the West. The bar itself, meanwhile, is an 80s era bedroom set given a second life as the beating heart of the small space; Tyler found the deep cherry-colored dressers and armoire at a thrift store.
Tyler (who goes by his last name) is young and fresh-faced, exuding the air of a person who’s passionate about what he does. At just shy of 31 years old, Tyler has already started his own non-profit organization (Planting Technology, whose mission is to bring computers and other technology to farming villages in Ghana), and has spent the last eight years in Miami and Manhattan, building a name for himself within the Nobu restaurant/bar dynasty.
“You are your work. You are what you do. So you better love it,” he says, referring to his newest endeavor in Telluride, which opened in mid-December. Working at Nobu in Manhattan, Tyler met and became friends with Jeff Badger, proprietor of Telluride’s Siam restaurant. After the two got to talking about restaurants in Telluride, Tyler came for a visit in July. He had moved here by September, with the intention of opening an intimate bar and restaurant.
There… is a compilation of the best elements of the trendiest bars and restaurants Tyler has frequented throughout his last eight years in the restaurant industry. As such, There’s food and drink menu is as eclectic as its setting. Decadent Japanese steamed buns and meals like the Snow Crab Ramen bowl (chunks of creamy crab and paper-thin sheets of dried seaweed nestled atop noodles served alongside a carafe of steaming broth) join Mexican-influenced tacos (served There-style, individually on long wooden planks) and even decadent treats like cereal milk soft-serve ice cream.
While There’s food has garnered accolades among Telluride’s bar-going crowd, Tyler is quick to divulge that There is a bar, first and foremost. Tyler’s commitment to a superlative bar experience is evidenced first in There’s cocktail menu, which provides a smattering of atypical indulgences: Drinks like the Bitter Mango and Whisky Pickleback are a far cry from standard offerings, as are There’s you-call-it Jam drinks, flavored with different fruit jams and preserves.
There’s roots as an upscale bar transcend even to the bar’s well, where you’ll find bottles like New Zealand-made 42 Below vodka, Montecriso rum (made of fresh-pressed sugar cane), Centenario Plata tequila, and even a high-quality cousin of Triple Sec called Grand Torres Orange.
Wine hasn’t been left out of There’s range of expertise, either. Connoisseurs looking for the familiar extravagances will feel as at home as budget wine lovers, with spendy bottles found alongside economical wines by the glass.
Tyler’s zeal for all-things-beverage goes beyond the bar’s alcoholic offerings, as well. You can order up a “Smoked Coke,” a Coca-Cola infused with hickory, or a tea from local tea company the Steaming Leaf.
“I’m trying to put together an ensemble of ‘locals’ drinks,” Tyler says, pointing to specialties like the Library Card (a $7 martini for holders of a Telluride Library card,) $3 beers, and $5 Whisky Picklebacks. “I want locals to find their niche here.”
There… is open daily from 3 p.m., and is located caddy-corner to Siam on W. Pacific Street. Look this summer for There… to ramp up its take-out service, from its front-of-building take-out window.