The Belfry sets its grand opening for January 9

A Boulevard Pale Ale was the first beer poured at The Belfry.

A Boulevard Pale Ale was the first beer poured at The Belfry.

Beer, bourbon and coffee — all of life’s essentials are now available in one convenient location. The Belfry (1532 Grand Boulevard, 16th Street entrance), chef Celina Tio’s new lounge concept, will have its grand opening on Thursday, January 9, at 7 a.m. [Prior to that, it will be open daily at 4 p.m.]

“One of my regulars at Julian told me with my food and Wi-Fi, he has found his new office,” Tio joked.

collection.122713The Belfry is a separate, but complimentary space to Collection (1532 Grand Avenue) — the restaurant Tio opened in the former Kansas City Cafe site this May. It will feature coffee in a French Press from four local roasters — The Roasterie, Oddly Correct, Benetti’s and Broadway — as well as a signature drip offering.

Food can be ordered off the Collection menu, either for dining in or to go, until 2 p.m. At that point, The Belfry’s own menu with items like citra hoppy pickles and Cape Cod chips with a carmelized onion creme fraiche (think French Onion Dip) will be available. Tio is hoping to create a Crossroads hub, much the same way she did with Julian in Brookside.

“I asked people in the Crossroads if they had a neighborhood spot and nobody had a set answer,” Tio said.

The former executive chef at The American and James Beard Award winner opened Julian (6227 Brookside Plaza) four years ago. She purchased the building at 1532 Grand Avenue earlier this year and began holding preview events in the Belfry space this week.

The bar has 20 taps, including one nitro tap, in a system designed by Boulevard’s Neil Witte. The cooler will eventually be stocked with another 70 to 100 bottles. Boulevard’s Pale Ale and Tank 7, Julian’s NBB Love 2 and Shift from New Belgium Brewery, Firestone Walker’s Double Jack and Prairie Standard from Prairie Artisan Ales are all on the initial tap list. Tio wants to highlight different styles with varying degrees of strength, only keeping about 40 percent of the beer list as a core offering.

“Only having American craft beer is like me ignoring Escoffier in the kitchen,” Tio said.

The Belfry will have a club membership option where an annual fee ($30 before the grand opening, $40 after) comes with discounts, early access to beer events, a pint glass, etched snifter, key chain bottle opener and 33 Beers tasting journal. Tio also has plans for a brown bag special — a set price, luck-of-the-draw mystery beer.

belfry.122713“This is going to be a casual place,” Tio said. “There’s a natural style to a restaurant and I think we can do things here that would feel forced at Julian.”

She intends to use The Collection space for interactive beer events — similar to the blending event she held to celebrate the launch of her own brew, Julian NBB Love, from New Belgium Brewery last year. In January, The Belfry will be holding a beer tasting featuring Perennial Artisan Ales and in February, Witte, a master cicerone, and master sommelier Doug Frost will go head-to-head in a ‘Master vs. Master’ event.

“Doug will pick a beer to pair with the food and Neil will pick a wine. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Tio said.

The Belfry has seating for 36 people and it will be open daily from 7 a.m. to midnight. It has the same phone number as Collection: 816-471-7111.

Jonathan Bender

Jonathan Bender is the founder of The Recommended Daily.

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