Rayback at 3 years

Boulder’s backyard celebrated its third birthday in July

By Paul Hagey Aug 1 2019

The Rayback Collective, the chill indoor-outdoor event space that hosts a haven of food trucks, craft beer and kombucha in central Boulder — aka “Boulder’s Backyard,” turned three this past July.

Mural by Max Coleman. Photo: Eric Forbes.

In its three years at 2275 Valmont Road, Rayback has held over 1,000 events and hosted over a half million people, says co-founder Hank Grant. He estimates that on Friday and Saturday nights alone, Rayback packs out at least 500. It’s no coincidence; the space was built to connect.

The multidimensional venue even has backdoor access to the Two Mile Creek Greenway, giving bicyclists a great roll-up.

In a marriage that made so much sense for those who know the brand, Boulder’s gourmet kombucha, Rowdy Mermaid, opened its taproom in the space in spring 2017. And after hosting Caribiner Coffee for a few months, Rayback took over coffee service at the beginning of this year.

courtesy of Rayback

To celebrate its third anniversary, Rayback commissioned murals from four artists: Casey Kawaguchi, Lindee Zimmer, John Hastings and Max Coleman.

The paintings splash high-level color palettes, design and illustration upon the walls, building up a mass installation that is as dependent on its patrons to activate the space as they are on it.

Expansive sky, twinkling lights, fire-charred wood, really good beer. Maybe confetti? All of these you can most likely expect of the Rayback. And definitely live music.


Inside Rayback. Photo: Eric Forbes.

Denver expansion

The Rayback’s multidimensional food truck concept has proved so successful that Rayback co-founders Hank Grant and Justin Riley opened a similar concept in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood, Improper City, which launched July 2018 in conjunction with Movement Climbing + Fitness‘ new 40,000-square-foot space.

Compared to Rayback’s 10,000 square feet, Improper City’s 8,000 square feet of indoor space and 14,000 square feet of outdoor space provides the founders a different scale to work at. One of Rayback’s many rotating food truck menus. Photo: Eric Forbes 


Improper City. Photo: Improper City.

Hank says Improper City is thriving, and the duo are considering adding other locations.

Hank Grant + designing a vibrant ‘Boulder’s Backyard’ at the Rayback Collective

Feature Image: Rayback’s new mural by John Hastings aka RUMTUM. Photo: Eric Forbes

Paul Hagey

Paul Hagey is BLDRfly’s founder and editor. When not wrangling video, audio and words in the name of story, he’s riding his mountain bike, trail running and hanging with his awesome wife Jen and their young daughter. paul@bldrfly.com