Juan Padro opening second Cherry Creek cocktail bar after Forget Me Not success

The team behind Forget Me Not are planning to open a second cocktail bar in Cherry Creek.

Juan Padro, founder of local restaurant group Culinary Creative, and Nicole Lebedevitch, a managing partner who runs the company’s cocktail division, expect to open the new concept at 248 Detroit St. this fall.

“For Cherry Creek to continue to grow, it needs more options,” Padro said. “We’re filling a niche in Cherry Creek because it’s packed with big hotel restaurants and bars, plus national names. There’s a need for more local operators.”

Matt Joblon of BMC Investments is also a partner in the cocktail lounge. He and Padro co-own Aviano Coffee, whose first location is right next door at 244 Detroit St.

Forget Me Not — which Padro, Lebedevitch and Joblon also partnered on — opened in March 2021 at 227 Clayton St., just a block away.

Weekends can see two-hour wait times, and reservations are booked months in advance.

“Right now, we’re fortunate that this place has been so popular,” Padro said. “People come and hang out for four or five hours. That’s pretty unusual, so we want to have another place people can bounce back and forth to, so if they can’t get a patio seat at Forget Me Not, they can get one at our new spot and have a true night out.”

Padro and co. don’t yet have a name for the new bar, but Lebedevitch said the cocktail list will have an “easy, breezy afternoon feel” and focus on light spirits, like gin, tequila and vodka. The venue will have a Mediterranean theme, which will expand to the snack list.

The partners plan to invest around $1.7 million into the renovation of the space and have hired 4240 Architecture and Torres Construction and Remodeling. The 244 Detroit St. building was formerly home to Coda Studio. That business was owned by owned by Angela Feddersen, the wife of attorney Steve Bachar, who is facing felony theft and securities fraud charges.

Culinary Creative is going to gut the space and add some skylights, banquette seating, hanging plants and lights throughout, plus a trellis on the patio which can seat up to 40 people.

“You could parachute this into New York City, and it would be extremely successful,” Padro said. “The talent Nicole attracts is the best talent in the city.”

Lebedevitch built her reputation in the hospitality industry in Boston, running beverage programs for bars like Eastern Standard and The Hawthorne. Padro, who is also from Boston, met her there and spent eight years trying to convince her to work for him. She moved to Denver in 2019 to work with Culinary Creative and began building plans for Forget Me Not.

“There’s not a bar in this city that I go to that has as diverse of a crowd as Forget Me Not,” Padro said. “We’re drawing as much from Aurora as we are from RiNo.”

“There’s no one person this attracts, and that’s what we’ll continue to do as we build more spaces,” Lebedevitch added. “We had a woman come in and drink a Manhattan by the fire while knitting a baby sweater, and we also have a hall of fame hockey player, who’s come in almost every night this week.”

Culinary Creative also owns the local Tap and Burger chain, Italian restaurant Bar Dough, Israeli restaurant Ash’Kara, Mexican restaurant Senor Bear, Latin restaurant Mister Oso and A5 Steakhouse.

And Padro is getting ready to open Fox and the Hen, a brunch spot at 2257 W. 32nd Ave. in the Highlands, this summer with “Top Chef” alumna Carrie Baird and friend Michael Fox.

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