Bang Up To The Elephant is adding Caribbean flavor to Capitol Hill

It’s more Caribbean-adjacent. They’re calling it “calypso.”

Bang Up To The Elephant beverage director Dylan Holcomb at work before the restaurant's press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

restaurants; nightlife; food; denver; colorado; capitol hill; bars; kevinjbeaty;
Bartender Hall Larkin at work. Bang Up The Elephant's press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) restaurants; nightlife; food; denver; colorado; capitol hill; bars; kevinjbeaty;
Bartender Hall Larkin at work. Bang Up To The Elephant’s press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Kevin Delk doesn’t want you to get the wrong idea about his new restaurant.

Bang Up To The Elephant, opening this Saturday, is not meant to be an authentic Caribbean joint. It’s more Caribbean-adjacent. Or maybe deconstructed Caribbean. They’re calling it “calypso.”

The latest project from the team behind Beatrice & Woodsley is pretty dazzling. They took a space that had been abandoned for 28 years and turned it into something that, depending on where you train your gaze, looks like a retro nightclub, an open-air café, the “Legends of the Hidden Temple” set and a construction site (you’ll see).

“When we found the space it was basically a home for pigeons and squatters,” Delk said of the large room at 1310 Pearl St.

Bang Up The Elephant founder Kevin Delk at the restaurant's press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) restaurants; nightlife; food; denver; colorado; capitol hill; bars; kevinjbeaty;
Bang Up The Elephant founder Kevin Delk at the restaurant’s press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

There, they’ll serve what he described as “kind of a hodgepodge” of dishes and styles from the Caribbean as well as the cultures that influence Caribbean cooking. Among the menu items are a kale and plantain salad, chow mein, pimento wood-smoked jerk chicken, a spicy macaroni pie, curry with cornbread and dogfish. You can also get a drink served in a coconut — and it’s not rum-based.

“What we’re trying to do in our kitchen is celebrate all of these different cultures,” Delk said.

There’s a lot going on inside, visually, but probably its best features are the enormous French doors out front, which Delk says they’ll be able to keep open almost year-round thanks to huge coil heaters on the ceilings. There are also some skylights up there to let in extra sunshine.

Bang Up To The Elephant (which by the way is slang for perfect) will be open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour and late-night hours. A front café area and walk-up window will open for breakfast for the first time at 7 a.m. Monday.

Also: the bathrooms are designed to look like porta-potties.

I hate to say that and then show you some pictures of the food, so we’ll start with a look around the space, then the food.

Port-a-potty bathrooms. Bang Up The Elephant's press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) restaurants; nightlife; food; denver; colorado; capitol hill; bars; kevinjbeaty;
Port-a-potty bathrooms. Bang Up To The Elephant’s press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Bang Up The Elephant beverage director Dylan Holcomb at work before the restaurant's press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) restaurants; nightlife; food; denver; colorado; capitol hill; bars; kevinjbeaty;
Bang Up To The Elephant beverage director Dylan Holcomb at work before the restaurant’s press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Bang Up The Elephant before its press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) restaurants; nightlife; food; denver; colorado; capitol hill; bars; kevinjbeaty;
Bang Up To The Elephant before its press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
A Nose ender, tequila, cream of coconut, lime and serrano pepper. Bang Up The Elephant's press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) restaurants; nightlife; food; denver; colorado; capitol hill; bars; kevinjbeaty;
A Nose Ender, tequila, cream of coconut, lime and serrano pepper. Bang Up To The Elephant’s press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
A Devil's Claw, mekong, cream of coconut, Chinese five spice curry syrup, lemon and Thai basil. Bang Up The Elephant's press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) restaurants; nightlife; food; denver; colorado; capitol hill; bars; kevinjbeaty;
A Devil’s Claw, mekong, cream of coconut, Chinese five spice curry syrup, lemon and Thai basil. Bang Up To The Elephant’s press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
An Over and Under, rum, cider, ginger liqueur, passionfruit, serrano syrup, lemon and grapefruit bitters. Bang Up The Elephant's press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) restaurants; nightlife; food; denver; colorado; capitol hill; bars; kevinjbeaty;
An Under & Over, rum, cider, ginger liqueur, passionfruit, serrano syrup, lemon and grapefruit bitters. Bang Up To The Elephant’s press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Mack the Knife curry. Bang Up The Elephant's press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) restaurants; nightlife; food; denver; colorado; capitol hill; bars; kevinjbeaty;
Mack the Knife curry. Bang Up To The Elephant’s press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Pimento wood smoked jerk chicken. Bang Up The Elephant's press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) restaurants; nightlife; food; denver; colorado; capitol hill; bars; kevinjbeaty;
Pimento wood smoked jerk chicken. Bang Up To The Elephant’s press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Kale and plantains. Bang Up The Elephant's press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) restaurants; nightlife; food; denver; colorado; capitol hill; bars; kevinjbeaty;
Kale and plantains. Bang Up To The Elephant’s press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Kale and plantains. Bang Up The Elephant's press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) restaurants; nightlife; food; denver; colorado; capitol hill; bars; kevinjbeaty;
Kale and plantains. Bang Up To The Elephant’s press opening, Jan. 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Ashley Dean

Author: Ashley Dean

Ashley Dean is the assistant editor and culture reporter for Denverite. She previously covered music and did some copy editing for the Denver Post, the Colorado Daily and the Daily Camera. She's from New York, likes bourbon straight and is happy that Kanye seems happy. She dreams of someday holding the title of Nightlife Mayor. Find her at adean@denverite.com, 303-502-2804 or @AshleyDean.