Add another to the list of Denver restaurants and music venues re-emerging post-pandemic: Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox near Union Station is replugging the amps and turning the kitchen back on this month after two years of closure.
The restaurant, a popular pre-COVID brunch destination, is set to reopen April 13; however, the concert hall hosts several concerts leading up to a full reopening. On April 7, Disco Biscuits’ Aron Magner is scheduled to perform under his solo moniker MGNR, followed by Magic Giant on April 8 and Good Morning on April 9.
Mndsgn will bring jazzy, chillwave and R&B vibes to the grand reopening show on April 13 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $19-$32 through Ticketmaster.
Owner and chef Justin Cucci has spent the past nine months renovating the 7,500 square foot venue to make the ground floor bigger and more welcoming for concerts. This included moving the bar and adding extra space on the dance floor, as well as upgrading the sound and lighting equipment to national touring standards, he said.
Upstairs, Cucci and his team changed the orientation of the cabins to have better visibility of the stage. They are also finishing construction on a patio, which Cucci says will be finished in May.
“We had identified that we wanted to move the bar and create a bigger pre-COVID downstairs,” Cucci said, adding that the renovations would have started sooner if there hadn’t been so much uncertainty about when. – or if – live music would return. In 2020, “we just put down our pencils and tried to weather the storm. When we saw that live music didn’t feel like it was coming back in 2021, we said let’s go.
Visitors can also expect substantial menu updates. Cucci kept some favorites, such as the chicken sandwich and sourdough flatbreads, but revamped the majority of offerings to focus on handhelds and dancefloor-friendly items. Indeed, when you attend a show at Ophelia this year, you can scan a wristband code and order food which you can pick up from a window and take back to the dance floor.
New menu items include fried pickles with cheese curds and fried pastrami wings that “won’t give you wings,” Cucci said.
Ophelia’s will serve brunch starting April 13, although that menu has also been updated. A trending item is a blintz, or cheese-stuffed pancake, infused with CBD.
The venue returns with a full schedule that includes bands like Mile High Soul Club (April 14), Andy Thorn & Burning Grass (April 20), Wet (May 3), JoJo Hermann of Widespread Panic (June 4), Shinyribs (10 June) and We Banjo 3 (July 30). See the full program here.
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