If you’ve heard whispers of a speakeasy behind an ice cream shop but weren’t sure if it was just rumors, we’re here to tell you that it’s real, and we’ve got the full scoop, no pun intended. Welcome to Sweet Action…no, wait, welcome to Retrograde, that’s hidden behind an unassuming ice cream shop.
First, in introduction to the front of house. Sweet Action, previously Frozen Matter, is a sleek ice cream parlor selling artisanal ice cream made completely at their micro-dairy plant, and some of their ingredients come from community favorites like Huckleberry Roasters or Rising Sun Distillery, who supplies coffee liqueur for Sweet Action’s Colorado White Russian. They’ve even got their own boozy shakes as well as vegan options.
After you’ve got your fill of ice cream, head to the walk-in freezer that’s actually not a freezer at all. It’s a door that’ll lead you to the super sneaky cocktail bar hidden behind–Retrograde. Step back into the 1920s at Retrograde, a swanky cocktail bar decked out with a glowing bar reminiscent of mid-century modern meets the future.
To enter Retrograde, simply bypass the ice cream counter and walk towards the freezer door, where you’ll turn on the light switch and wait for a member of the staff you let you in.
Their current menu is entirely space-aged, but don’t let their wacky names fool you. Each cocktail is handcrafted and laid out beautifully. ‘My Alien Girlfriend’ is made with Maestro Dobel Silver Tequila, watermelon, lime, grapefruit, and saline while their totally out there ‘Galaxy Lords’ is bold, made with Milk Clarified Fernet Branca, Cauliflower Sotol, Korean Pepper, and Black Walnut. Every cocktail is made with fine and daring ingredients, but if you’re more into classic cocktails, they’ve got those too. Retrograde is first come, first serve, and are quite a small space, so keep that in mind before organizing a party larger than 5 people.
Where: 52 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203