Phoenix Bean: Elegantly Funky Coffee Shop Serves Up Lively Entertainment

If the walls of  The Phoenix Bean could talk, you’d need more than one cup of coffee to hear the tale from the beginning. Suffice it to say, the building housing this elegantly funky coffee shop goes back to Telluride’s earliest days.

Built in 1892 by L.L. Nunn, 221 West Colorado Avenue was a grocery store called the Phoenix Market. After more than a century, the ravages of time caught up with the old gal and though imminently charming, she was no longer safe. In stepped the owners of the New Sheridan Hotel in 2015, who performed an extensive remodel, and reopened as The Phoenix Bean. The name is homage to both the Phoenix Market and the Steaming Bean, a local coffee roasting business that ran the space as a coffee shop.

As with anything that changes, locals wrung their hands in despair that the beloved Bean was no more. According to New Sheridan general manager, Ray Farnsworth, The Phoenix Bean has picked up where the old Bean left off. The place is hopping.

“It’s a community and entertainment hub,” Farnsworth said. “That’s the right legacy for this place.”

Ray Farnsworth, the host with the most at the Chop House and the revitalized Phoenix Bean.

The roof is no longer sway-backed, there’s an open air grotto-like patio out back, a full bar and kitchen and a stellar menu, including a number of grab-and-go items perfect for festival season. The patio, in particular, is a gem and a chill respite from the hurly-burly of Telluride’s bustling main street.

As Ray says, “It’s a cool setting for music.”

 

Patio at the Bean.

In addition to playing the time-honored role of a coffee shop where people come to meet, gaze at laptops, read the paper, and guzzle lattes, the Phoenix Bean’s evenings are booked through the summer and well into September.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, local band the Telluride Gold Kings — Steve Green, Ashley Boling, Neal Marlens and Brian Wolahan — play a mix of originals and covers starting starting at 6:30 p.m. The band is as fun and relaxed as the scene on the patio. And who knows? Maybe your bartender will perform guest vocals in between shaking martinis. Order a light supper and an adult beverage for a casual night out.

Every other Thursday (soon to be every Thursday) Telluride Theatre hosts Bingo Night. It’s silly fun and prizes include Phoenix Bean gift certificates, T-shirts and hats, among other cutely random offerings. Along with a dedicated local contingent daubing Bingo cards with focused intensity, the games bring the Bingo diehard out of everyone. Cards are sold at 6:30 p.m.; the games begin at 7 p.m.

Friday is jazz night on the patio with the Speakeasy Jazz Band. These immensely gifted musicians lay down smooth jazz standards that call for a pretty seasonal frock, a cool glass of rosé, and salmon right off the grill. Make it a date! The music starts at 6:30 p.m.

On Saturdays, jazz pianist, Kenny Goldman tickles the ivories, covering jazz and standards with aplomb.

“Music at the Bean has been well received,” said Farnsworth. “We’re finding the groove. I like what it’s becoming.”

So do we.

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