Water has always been a precious commodity in the high-desert city of Denver, and what with the many nautically named bars and restaurants, it seems like an obsession: Oceanaire, Ocean Prime, The Ship Tavern, Adrift, Aqua Lounge.
The Cruise Room bar at the Oxford Hotel probably has the most authentic watery derivation – it opened in 1933 (the day after Prohibition was repealed) to resemble a lounge on the ocean liner RMS Queen Mary that was being built at the same time. The Cruise Room replaced a speakeasy at the same location. The recently restored Art Deco room glows with neon red lighting, orange walls and chrome accents. Jazz and laughter fill the air like champagne bubbles every night.
Classic cocktails reign supreme here. Order a perfectly mixed and chilled martini delivered to your booth in its silver shaker by flapper-style waitresses and imagine you’ve just embarked on a long, lovely voyage. No matter that the nearest ocean is 1,200 miles away.
Drinking toasts in many languages hover around the room on beautifully carved wall panels. During WWII, the German panel was removed and replaced with an Irish toast.
Renowned developer and owner Dana Crawford talks about the history of her Oxford hotel and its beautiful Cruise Room bar in this video interview:
1600 17th St., Denver 80202