August 03, 2018

PHOTOS: Brighton's Arts' on the Ave Brings Craft Cocktails and Local Artwork to the former Rake's End

Located in the space that formerly held Rake's End, a DIY dive bar for the local independent arts and music scene, Arts’ on the Ave opened in May in the West End's Brighton-Mohawk District. After some renovations, Arts’ is hoping to take up a similar mission as Rake's by showcasing and engaging the local arts scene.

The name Arts’ on the Ave, or Arts’ OTA for short, was inspired by the venue’s geographical location — off Central Avenue — and, as its website says, the fact that “there are some 200 artists living in and around the Brighton and Mohawk areas.”

This inspiration is reflected inside the bar, where one can view lithographs by Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso and work by Charley Harper, among other less-famous creations. The bartop itself is a collage of paintings, drawings and various pieces from local artists. And an "Artist of the Month" wall exhibits the work of a new local artist each month. Arts' OTA will frequently dedicate a cocktail to the exhibiting artist and donate revenue from its sales to them as a way to say thanks for the contribution. 

The short cocktail list includes options like an Old Fashioned Arts ($9), with Bulleit rye, bitters, a sugar cube and flaming orange zest, and The Florist ($8), with vodka, rose, agave nectar, rhubarb bitters and lemon juice. There's also craft draft beer, $3 Miller High Life and a small selection of wine.

In addition to imbibing, Arts' OTA also urges guests to create something to add to the bar or keep for themselves. The bar provides paper, pens, paint and paintbrushes so artistic patrons can get creative, and recurring events like Drafts and Crafts nights on Tuesdays let you create while drinking discounted beverages. 

Along with art, Arts' OTA prizes music and other forms of expression. Check out "Vinyl Night" on Wednesday and bring your favorite record to play; on Thursday, it's open mic night; and during the weekends, different DJs help kick off late-night dance parties.

Arts' on the Ave is located at 2141 Central Ave., Brighton. More info: artsota.com.


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The menu offers six cocktails along with craft draft beer, $3 Miller High Life and a small selection of wine.
Photo: Kellie Coleman
The menu offers six cocktails along with craft draft beer, $3 Miller High Life and a small selection of wine.
Interior of the bar
Photo: Kellie Coleman
Interior of the bar
Bring your favorite record on Wednesdays for "Vinyl Night"
Photo: Kellie Coleman
Bring your favorite record on Wednesdays for "Vinyl Night"
Bitters, garnishes and bar tools used for cocktail creation
Photo: Kellie Coleman
Bitters, garnishes and bar tools used for cocktail creation
The bar provides paper, pens, paint and paintbrushes so artistic patrons can get creative.
Photo: Kellie Coleman
The bar provides paper, pens, paint and paintbrushes so artistic patrons can get creative.
Thomas lighting a orange zest for a cocktail
Photo: Kellie Coleman
Thomas lighting a orange zest for a cocktail
Byron Thomas Jr., operations manager
Photo: Kellie Coleman
Byron Thomas Jr., operations manager
Art on display behind the bar
Photo: Kellie Coleman
Art on display behind the bar
Bartender preparing garnishes
Photo: Kellie Coleman
Bartender preparing garnishes
Northside Distilling's American Agave is offered at the bar
Photo: Kellie Coleman
Northside Distilling's American Agave is offered at the bar