Conveniently located on Broadway, just outside of downtown is Bardo Coffeehouse. Never heard of it? Yeah, me neither. It is easy to miss but chances are it will be on your way getting on the highway for your commute or just on your way out of downtown. Plenty of street parking is available.
Local. Local. Local. This place wants to be as local as possible. Everything they can get within their means is local. The furniture (which I at first thought came from a bunch of different locations and garage sales) is actually from a local designer down the street. Their milk comes from a local dairy farmer, local coffee beans (duh) from Kaladi Bros company, pastries (don’t worry i’ll get to that later) from Outrageous Bakery in Boulder and City Bakery from Denver and Buffalo Doughboy. **Ps. their website ahem, Facebook page, only has City bakery and Buff Doughboy listed**, Sandwiches from Wildthyme and lastly, Ice Cream from Sweet Action. Having so many local products alone makes their coffee shop comfortable and obviously local, which I love.
The owner is actually a denver local filmmaker who has his movies filmed in colorado, staring colorado stars, and probably not about colorado things unfortunately. Pretty cool though that this guy is just going out doing things we likes doing. I’m sure he is a coffee fanatic and film fanatic. Which explains the off beat touch of art to the cafe. Plenty of drawings behind the counter, local artwork posted all over and flyers all over the front door and windows of different shows and film releases in the area. There is definitely a lot of passion and hard work put into Bardo, there is no doubt.
The first time I went in I ordered my usual, Almond Milk Vanilla latte. The friendly tatted up barista explained to me that their dairy contact hasn’t done the delivery yet this morning. Does this mean they get their almond milk from a local farmer? What? I don’t understand but anyway, she was quick to respond with their alternatives, Soy (what is this starbucks? …People still carry soy?) and Rice milk. I naturally went with the Rice milk. Which reminds me, what is rice milk even? I’ll google it later. Moving on…
After I ordered my Rice Milk Vanilla Latte I realized I did not have my wallet on me. I was so embarrassed since she was already making it so I was about to head out to my car to see what money would magically appear or if I still have my emergency 20 bill tucked away. A woman two people behind me (yeah there was a line) stepped up and told me she would pay for it for me. SAY WHATTT. Best morning ever! Such a nice random act of kindness. After a not-so-casual freak out of thankfulness moment, I snooped around a bit.
The cafe isn’t too large but goes pretty far back to a comfortable seating area with couches. The front has the four-top tables and the middle section has it’s booths. It’s an organized design and well laid out. However, just opening in 2010, it looks like it needs a face lift already. There was a christmas decoration in the back, for being there that early in the morning, I don’t know when the last time it was vacuumed but I’m just being picky. The food and counter area was definitely well-kept and that is what really matters. I would certainly be comfortable ordering one of their noms. Lighting was not impressive. In fact, the back light had this weird aluminum foil attached to where the light bulbs were? It was weird.
Speaking of noms, they had a really good choice of food. Their sandwiches looked homemade and not greasy or unhealthy by any means, Gluten free options, vegan ice cream options, and fresh cinnamon rolls, and croissants. I was into it! There were plenty of options of different breads like pumpkin bread, walnut something and… ok just take my word for it, there were a ton of options but nothing crazy mind blowing.
The next morning, I went back and got an almond milk vanilla latte to go and it was AMAZINGGG!!! The first one tasted weird because hello, rice milk. STILL not sure what that is exactly… but it was still good but not at good as the AMVL. (New acronym.. effective immediately) Coffee art was better the second time around too. Definitely make a good cup of coffee but not THE best. I would suggest start to carry other local coffee’s like Huckleberry would do well there for sure. Also, they have THE biggest cup I have seen in any other coffee shop. If you are looking for a massive cup of coffee, THIS is the place!
1. Their very vocal about how local they are
2. There is a sign at the front by the register that explains if your coffee or whatever else you ordered is not up to YOUR standards, they will make it again.
3. They are open early and stay up late
4. On the negative side, their website is STILL not up and running with a link to their Facebook page. Odd. Find a local to do it for you! Being open since 2010 and 4 years later still not having a proper website is a rookie move.
5. Their owner is a local filmmaker
6. Has a basket of 1/2 off noms (into it)
Verdict: If you’re on broadway, check it out. There are other coffee shops I would recommend besides this one however, I would say it is worth checking out. Oh and it is open late so it is perfect if you need a legit latte at midnight.