By { Christine Carpio

Photography by { John Russo 

In downtown Denver’s bustling LoDo neighborhood, Shawn and Alexandra Ellis are the masterminds behind a new upstairs/downstairs restaurant and bar concept. At street level, Rose & Thorn is a stylish outpost for upscale Latin street food, such as duck taquitos, coconut ginger ceviche, mofongo, pork belly carne frita, a selection of arepas, and a whole 30-pound suckling pig (available on Fridays and with 48 hours notice; serves 6). In the bar area, tequila-forward craft cocktails are chilled by artisanal ice that has been infused with sweet, aromatic and refreshing ingredients at the in-house ice laboratory. Available a la carte, flavored cubes include rose petal, blueberry sage, prickly pear, smoked paprika poblano, black garlic maple, celery coriander or chai tea. Guests who venture down to the basement level enter Double Barrel Club, an underground Cuban-style rum speakeasy where exposed brick walls, vintage black-and-white photographs and subtle lighting capture the sultriness of 1959 Havana. Rum flights provide the opportunity to sample more than 70 aged spirits, and rum-soaked cocktails benefit from the on-site ice laboratory’s frozen creations. To complement the premium libations, authentic Cuban family-style dishes include ropa vieja (stewed beef), lechon asado (roast pork, black beans and rice) and bacalao (salted cod). Habitues may want to purchase a rum locker, which also provides access to an elegant private lounge with dedicated waitstaff and bartenders. Salud! 1433 17th St., Denver, CO, 303.367.3533,