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Many consider Boulder the biggest little food town in the West and when Oak at Fourteenth opened in fall of 2010, Boulder was buzzing about their newest restaurant darling.  Oak promised to bring more recognition to Boulder with a dynamic cocktail program designed by the famed beverage director/owner Bryan Dayton, a rustic, but elegant wood-fired oven-inspired menu perfected by Jean Georges-trained chef/owner, Steven Redzikowski, and a well-rounded, attentive staff.   Oak quickly gained momentum in its first six months, including a Food & Wine mention and GQ’s naming of Bryan as the most inspired bartender in the country.  Last March Oak at Fourteenth suffered a tragic fire causing severe damage to the whole building; the doors were closed for nine months to re-build.   Although the interior has changed and the menus have been tweaked, Oak at Fourteenth still has the same familiar vibe, elemental yet modern menu, surprising takes on classic cocktails, old world wines, and an admirable resilience.

Beverage director/owner Bryan hooks us up with a few pointers.

What is your favorite cocktail and food pairing on the current menu at Oak?

Our WC and Soda Cocktail, which is part of our new house made soda program, it has kumquat, tarragon and Campari in it.  It is amazing with the fried pickles!

What do you look for in a cocktail menu when you go out?  Anything you gravitate towards or stay away from?

I look at the theme of the place and see if the cocktail menu stays true to the identity of the establishment. I generally stay away from “Martini” and “shot” sections.

What do you recommend people have at home to make a killer cocktail?

A must have at home is Gin, Campari and Sweet vermouth- Can you say Negroni! Benedictine is a staple also.

What do you drink when you are at home?

I generally drink wine with dinner, a hoppy IPA after work and a little Amari when need be. Margaritas are a must in the summer or, year round!