The Cruise Room Martini Bar: A Step into the Past

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On 17th and Wazee in the Lower Downtown District of Denver, you can literally get a drink of history. The Cruise Room Martini Bar at the renowned Oxford Hotel, boasts a modern intimate feel with an old-world style and grace that cannot be matched.

When you step into the Cruise Room, you have truly stepped into a historical landmark of the West. Established right after Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the Cruise Room was the first bar to open in downtown Denver. Because of this historical significance, it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Much of the venue’s décor was maintained since its opening, which could be described as elegant yet modern with its distinct, vibrant, and bold colors. Self-described as Art Deco, the interior of the Cruise Room certainly displays its flare for the 1920s and 30s with its clean yet refreshing cushioned furniture and wall artwork. Since the establishment was designed after one of the lounges on the Queen Mary, the ambience lends a regal, yet relaxed quality that no other bar in the city can offer.

Following suit with the ambience, the red lighting gives its visitors a surreal experience, as if you have been taken back in time. Since every part of the martini bar has been preserved since its original construction, patrons can experience the Cruise Room as it was almost a century ago. No wonder the Cruise Room won the Miami Art Deco Society’s Annual Award, the most influential and prestigious organization for Art Deco works in the United States.

Atmosphere aside, the Cruise Room offers a vast array of drink selections. Living up to its name as a martini bar, the Room offers patrons a cocktail menu that contains all its signature drinks. Of course, customers can always ask for a classic martini made by one of the cheerful and experienced bartenders behind the bar.

Outfitted in black and white tuxedo attire, the bartenders are not only well-trained but give the bar an old-world feeling, while maintaining fast and efficient service. Patrons can enjoy a martini of their choice right at the bar, or pick a number of nooks in the bar that consist of circular cushioned benches and tables built into the wall.

Wherever you decide to sit, you will certainly admire the chrome and mirrors behind the counter that reflect the luminescent red lighting and the wall art, which consists of black and white paintings of people toasting, hopefully, to good health and great fortune. Should your good health become jeopardized by hunger, the adjoining restaurant of McCormick’s Fish House is the perfect place to go, no matter what your palate. The Fish House serves constantly fresh food and features more than thirty varieties of fresh seafood from around the globe, including their eight varieties of oysters. If seafood is not to your liking, there is a large selection of poultry, beef, and pasta dishes.

Whether stopping for a quick drink or making a night of it, The Cruise Room will amaze with its elegance and modern convenience. Because of its impressive preservation, visitors are truly able to see and experience a night during the post-Prohibition era, and get in a once in a lifetime chance to eat, drink, and celebrate a truly historic moment in United States history.

Young-eun Park is Tickle City Award's Denver Columnist, dedicated to uncovering ticklishness in the Mile High City. She writes about restaurants, shops, historic sites, nightlife spots and even local hiking trails and other outdoor attractions.
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