The Iconic Spirits Blog

Classic American Bars: The Bitter Bar, Boulder

November 14, 2012

Tags: the bitter bar

The Bitter Bar opened in 2009 under the improbable name of The Happy Noodle. At the time, it was an Asian noodle joint that also served craft cocktails; the assumption was that both trends were hot, so why not? The two motifs didn’t blend together as seamlessly as originally thought, and the cocktails eventually pushed the soba and somen out the back door.

The bar is housed in one of Boulder’s oldest buildings, a former general store over 100 years old. The space is relaxed and comfortable, cooled by ceiling fans, with a combination of tables, booths, and casual spaces containing sofas and easy chairs. The soul of the room is a long bar accommodating 13 seats, with a black surface made from pressed recycled paper---“very Boulder,” in the words of bar manager Burton Daniel. The place is operated by James Lee, a former finalist on Iron Chef Bartenders and one of Playboy’s Top Ten bartenders in the country, with Daniel as his right-hand man. (more…)