With only a “BUDWEISER ON TAP sign out front, it’s hard to know what to expect when you see the boxy Globeville building located a block south of I-70 and a few blocks east of I-25. You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking it’s a nondescript dive bar only to be taken aback by what you see once you step inside. For one thing, it’s dimensionally transcendental like a TARDIS, not only bigger on the inside but also grander. For another, it’s eclectic through and through–the patrons, décor, furniture, and artwork, along with the cocktail and beer selection.
The 1880s building was originally a Slovenian/Polish dance hall. Today it’s home to Fort Greene, a lovely bar with a vintage vibe, contemporary art and decorative touches, multiple rooms, and an outdoor patio. It’s a warm, inviting place. And it’s unpretentious–first come, first served, and no reservations. Stop by just once, and chances are it’ll become your favorite local hideaway.
Fort Greene is run by Eleanor Cheetham. Originally from Austin, Texas, Eleanor lived in Fort Greene, a popular Brooklyn neighborhood, before moving to the Globeville neighborhood of Denver about 10 years ago. One day, she visited Crash 45, a Globeville dive bar, and ended up working there as a bartender. Eventually, the owner of Crash 45 sold the bar to a friend of Eleanor’s who also has ties to Brooklyn. Together, they opened Fort Greene. About three months in, her friend wanted out, and she decided to buy the business.
Eleanor has made Fort Greene distinctively her own. Drawing upon her background in fashion and design and her interest in thrifting, recycling, and sustainability, Eleanor altered the aesthetics of the interior dramatically. The look and feel have continued to evolve organically over time. Today, it feels like your best friend’s cozy, comfortable living room somewhere you can be yourself, as well as draw inspiration, connect, and unwind.
The cocktail list includes 10 signature drinks. One of Eleanor’s favorites is Lovers in the Parking Lot (like the Solange song), a cocktail made with Madre Mezcal, Amaro Montenegro, Espolon Tequila Reposado, Leopold Bros Fernet, and orange bitters. Ode de Guthrie, another signature cocktail, is named after Guthrie, her dog.
Fort Greene also offers natural red, white, and rose wine, along with sake, canned beers, and a few canned cocktails. They also have an impressive number of non-alcoholic offerings, including Casamara Amaro sodas, kombucha, herbal tea, Droplet adaptogen tonics, and DRAM CBD soda. Denver-based SUPERGOOD CBD can be added to any drink for $2.
One thing many patrons are surprised to learn: Fort Greene is a Globeville bar that puts community before cocktails–and that’s saying something, because the cocktails are pretty amazing.
“We make wonderful cocktails,” Eleanor says. “And while that excites us, we really thrive on creating a safe, all-inclusive space. A strong community has been built around the bar. My close-knit staff is my family, and many of the regulars live in the neighborhood and have become dear friends.”
At Fort Greene, everyone is welcome. It’s a great meetup spot for people who like to share ideas, collaborate on projects, listen to music, dance, or simply sip a fantastic cocktail with friends.
To that end, the woman-owned business supports other women and minority-owned businesses. It also hosts an extensive series of events, including dance nights, stretch and CBD sessions, pop-up markets, art shows, floral arrangement workshops, medicinal herb workshops, drag shows, intuitive clarity readings, experimental film screenings, and community fundraisers.
For example, Warrior Womxn of Denver use the space to teach self-defense and yoga, and the Denver Community Fridge out front offers free food for the community, from the community. Musical, artistic, educational, and community activities are hosted at Fort Greene at no charge.
Looking ahead, Fort Greene will continue to host a diverse lineup of interactive events and remain a place where members of the community can support each other and grow as artists and creatives. And it will continue to honor the energy of the community that gathers there, as well as foster a spirit of curiosity, openness, acceptance, and adventure for all who enter.
Fort Greene is located at 321 E. 45th Ave. and is open Tuesday-Saturday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. For more information about Fort Greene and the events hosted there, visit fortgreenedenver.com or @FortGreeneBar on Facebook, or @ftgreenebar on Instagram.
Swansea resident Carolyn Daughters runs CarolynDaughters.com, a woman-owned business that offers online marketing and writing courses and corporate brand strategy workshops. She also teaches persuasive writing for corporations, the Pentagon, and Air Force bases nationwide. She has a M.A. in Literature from the University of Virginia. You can contact her at email@example.com or check out her website.