The staff at there.
If you live in Telluride and haven’t yet heard of ‘there,’ then you’ve either been out of town all winter or else you’re hard of hearing. “The best cocktails I’ve ever had, hands down” said one happy patron… “ and I don’t mean in Telluride; I mean anywhere.” What’s all the buzz about? Well, you really should stop on by to see for yourself.
there: You may just find yourself surrounded by a lot of new friends.
The hip and eclectic there, located on the West Side of town at 627 W. Pacific Ave, is one part upscale cocktail bar, one part uncommonly good restaurant, and two parts easygoing and interactive social experience. “Walking into there just feels so comfortable,” said local Jessica Kerr. “I feel completely at home, and yet at the same time I feel like I’m not even in Telluride.” Ms. Kerr is certainly not the only person to express this sentiment.
You may feel like you're somewhere else...
According to Kerr, there and its appeal are no accident. “Tyler [there owner, Andrew Tyler- who goes by his last name] mixes his experience and know-how with his own creativity and originality to come up with something unique and completely unlike anything else in Telluride,” Kerr said. The entirely custom design of the place may be the first thing to set one’s senses adrift. A reclaimed bedroom dresser makes up the centerpiece of the bar, while former tractor seats adorn artfully welded steal bases and serve as comfortable bar stools.
The tractor seats come from Akron, Ohio.
Two aspen trees rise up from the floor and through one of the tables to the pressed tin ceiling where lightbulbs hang from their twisted cords in light wire cages. An old-fashioned popcorn machine is always in operation, churning out a proprietary spiced blend of popcorn day and night.
A mask that looks like it must have come from Carnival in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil sits amidst bottles of hand-picked liquor on the bar next to a silver tea kettle and a child’s toy version of a silver six-shooter from the Old West.
The bar at there.
Somehow each one of these seemingly small details goes a long way towards achieving an overall effect and feel that is truly original, artful- and hip- without being the least bit pretentious. Something really is going on at ‘there,’ and you can feel it the moment you walk in the door.
there doesn’t stop at intelligent and artful props and interior design, however. These may draw one in at first, but it’s the food and drink- and the welcoming feel- that keep the cozy space filled with a steady flow of customers from 3pm to close daily. Owner Andrew Tyler brought with him to there eight years of experience in the high end restaurant industry, serving most recently as beverage director for the Nobu Restaurants program in New York for the past several years. “I’m seeking to create an ever-changing, constantly updating experience of different flavors and textures for the palate… through the cocktails and food offerings that we serve,” Tyler said.
there offers several varieties of specialty jelly drinks on the menu, among many other specialties.
Quite a few customers profess Tyler to be a mind reader, quite literally capable of mixing up a drink from scratch in one of his shiny steel mixing containers that matches their mood and taste precisely. Okay, maybe they gave him a couple of hints to go on, but apparently Tyler excels at the fine art form of ‘the cocktail’ and especially at concocting them on-the-fly to match a person’s fancy.
Tyler pours one of there's specialty martinis.
To see the staff at there in action is to witness professionals working hard- and lovingly- at their craft. Drinks are not just made at there, they are crafted. The movie ‘Cocktail’ may have passed for cool some twenty-odd years ago, but the showmanship at there is the real deal. Tyler and fellow bartender Oshane are seasoned pros and it shows. They love what they do, and the fun they have while working behind the bar is contagious.
Bartender Oshane mixes it up on a Saturday night.
These guys move quickly and with grace. They’re smooth, mixing concoctions like medicine men in a traveling road show, shaking their mixes with fervor, raising their pours high, always smiling, always the showmen, always in tune.
Have a shot of 'good times' right in your drink.
Part two of there is of course, as mentioned, the food; and as owner Tyler says, “It’s all about the variety of flavors and textures.” The textures being served up at there were heavily influenced by Tyler’s experiences- and friends- in the restaurant industry. Tyler wound up in Telluride because of a friendship with Siam restaurant owner Jeff Badger, and the idea to create somewhat of a symbiosis with Siam was laid from the beginning. Offering Asian ‘bites’ on the menu with a Siam flair was one way to ensure that customers would feel comfortable at both (neighboring) places. From the Siam influenced lettuce and soy paper wraps to the restaurant tostados, a specialty sushi roll or shiitake sticky buns to the extremely satisfying ramen soups or dessert offerings, the food at there has received nothing but rave reviews.
The bench tables at there can be reserved for parties of five or more.
Other influences on there’s cuisine and atmosphere came from friends of Tyler’s who run the top Manhattan restaurant Momofuku (sticky buns) as well as friends at La Esquina (tostados), a neighborhood bar in the area where Tyler used to live in New York. “I wanted to create a place where people could come for a bite and something to drink and feel at home with whomever came in… The space works very well for that kind of interacting.”
Patrons at there, where apparently, "Everyone knows your name."
If the scene at there on any given afternoon or evening is any indication, I think that Tyler got it right. “It feels like Cheers to me,” said Sean Farshchi, a part-time Telluride resident. “As silly as that may sound, it really feels like when I go in there, that everybody does know my name; or if they walk in and they don’t know it, then they do after just five minutes.”
there also comes equipped with a great soundtrack. Boasting a wireless integrated online Sonos Music System with touchscreen Ipad controls, you’ll often find an exuberant (and confident) table of customers doing the DJ’ing- with quite literally any music that’s out there on tap and ready to play. But don’t worry, Tyler and the staff at there reserve the right to pull the plug on DJ’s who miss the mark, and will cheerfully if not so subtlely have no hesitation in dropping hints to let you know that you should switch up the [awful] tune that you just selected. Dance parties have been known to take place spontaneously when the right crowd of revelers pops in.
Oshane gets down with one of the Ailey II dancers after their performance at the Palm Theater.
I must admit that my visits to there have proved Mr. Farshchi’s comments correct each time. If I didn’t know everyone in the bar when I walked in, then I certainly knew at least the people sitting in my general vicinity after only a short amount of time. It really is that kind of place, if you want it to be. You can also feel every bit as comfortable keeping to yourself and the party you came with at any one of there’s tables.
The food and drinks are every bit as good as everyone has been talking about, and that’s what I meant when I said ‘you’d need to be deaf to have not heard about there.’ Everyone is raving about it. If you haven’t been yet, then I suggest you go- today. I also recommend having Tyler make up a drink for you from thin air based on your mood. Just give him a couple of things to steer by. Aside from being genuinely friendly, accomodating, well-traveled, and intelligent (he’s considering going back to school for a law degree one day), he can make one helluva drink- try him. And boy does he run a great establishment.
The staff of there ham it up because they can.
The team at there is a big part of what makes the place work from what I can tell; the people out front as well as in back, and the staff never miss an opportunity to delight a customer. Look out for the other front-of-house staff members, the lovely ladies Pia and Nicole, who will serve you with a smile and equal parts enthusiasm, beauty, and kindness.
Are we there yet? "Life is good," as owner Tyler says. "Life is good."
there is open from 3pm daily, until they close. You can reach them at (970) 728-1213 or Click Here to visit their website. Please feel free to click on any of the images above to view them larger as there is a great place to see as well as be…