The “trolley building,” located in the 500 block of South Tejon, was home to Downtown’s trolley cars in the early 1900s. While taking great care to preserve the character of the old building, over the last year it’s begun to take on a new identity with an additional 5,000 square feet, a new rooftop patio, and Denver-based restaurants under construction.
As all eyes were on the southern end of the building (future home to Denver Biscuit Company), a huge transformation was quietly taking place right next door. Ari Howard had undertaken a complete renovation and brand repositioning of the former McCabe’s Tavern. The result: Streetcar520, with a sleek and sexy vibe, internationally-inspired menu and craft cocktails that impress.
Streetcar 520 reveals a dramatic renovation at 520 S. Tejon. “The previous space was very masculine, which worked well for the pub feel however, I wanted to open it up, make it brighter and more inviting,” said Ari. Now, street art- inspired whimsical goddesses glide across the walls, the ceiling is raised, and a brilliant 24 foot LED light feature illuminates the marble bar; the space perfectly expresses urban industrial elegance.
“Having spent over a decade in this space, I was excited and equally terrified to implement an entirely new concept,” Ari continued. Long nights, heavy lifting, hard decisions, and saying goodbye to a beloved establishment are not for the weak of heart. “We worked tirelessly, day and night for four months to bring my vision to fruition. Because we did much of the work ourselves, we had an incredible opportunity to bond as a team and create an environment where we all work very well together. Every team member contributed their hard work, blood, sweat and tears to this project which cultivated a sense of pride and ownership for everyone involved.”
As passionate woman with a dream, Howard is a force to be reckoned with. She cultivated a strong team including Electra Johnson (SALT Workshop) and Lauren McKenzie (REN Creativ), to assist with décor, design, media relations and branding. In the house, she is joined by managing partner Travis Blaney, bar manager Dak Keeling, and chef Ketil Larsen. Collaboratively, the dream was brought to life.
Pictured: Lauren McKenzie, REN Creativ and owner, Ari Howard.
What to Order:
Cocktail: Bon-journ-o: High West bourbon, Fernet branca, Peychaud’s, Punt e mes, iced
Appetizer: Shrimp and crab avocado tempura with spicy aioli, ginger soy, toasted sesame seeds
Entrée: So hard to pick! When a dish makes you want to “slap your mama,” as my North Carolina friend who ordered it expressed, it kind of HAS to be the winner. Therefore, the Southern Fried Chicken with buttermilk creamy grits, sautéed spinach and spicy creole sauce is our pick. (Aforementioned friend actually wanted to bathe in the grits.)
Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Happy Hour Monday- Friday 3 p.m – 6 p.m. (check out our Instagram @Downtown_CS) for details!