The Denver International Airport at 8500 Peña Blvd. will be one of the only airport in the United States with a speakeasy after Williams & Graham sets up shop in the West Marketplace in Concourse A. For owner and W&G founder Sean Kenyon, who is on the road “70% of the time,” the new bar is a personal mission.
“The vision is for this to be an airport lounge without being exclusive like an airport lounge,” Kenyon told What Now Denver. “I want to have a three-hour layover without feeling like I’m stuck in the airport for three hours.”
Since 2011, Kenyon and his crew have been serving up award-winning, high-end, sophisticated cocktails in his 1920s-style speakeasy in downtown Denver. Accessed through a book-lined false wall, the vintage space has been written up in Conde Nast, Food & Wine Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Esquire, and more, Williams & Graham is a nationally-recognized brand for its craft cocktails. Per Kenyon’s LinkedIn bio, the bar was nominated for a James Beard award in both 2013 and 2014 for the nation’s outstanding beverage program. While the craft cocktail artist is a lifetime aficionado of craft service (having grown up a “third generation barman”), he’s found that airport terminals can be limited in terms of their high-end cocktails.
“There’s a lack of a proper spirits selection,” Kenyon said. “Airport bars are very limited all over the world, not just in Denver, so the motivation is personal.”
In response, Kenyon is bringing the W&G brand to the airport. Despite the lack of airport bar selection, the well-traveled Kenyon still has a model from which to build from and aspire to.
“I’m a great admirer of what Terry Harps has done at One Flew South in Atlanta,” Kenyon said. “I just want to sit on an airplane next to her and give her accolades.”
While the cocktail menu will only rotate twice a year as opposed to the six shifts at its downtown Denver locale, cocktails will represent a “greatest hits record of the last 11 years.” Kenyon aims to seat just over 80 people when the Denver Airport W&G opens sometime in fall 2023.