Happy Place: Tamayo, 1400 Larimer Street, 720-946-1433.
The Hours: Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.
The Deals: $3.50 beer specials; $5 specialty cocktails; $3 small plates.
Were we happy? Flip the page to find out.
The Digs: Tamayo, a member of chef and proprietor Richard Sandoval's growing fleet of modern Latin, Asian and Mexican restaurants, holds court on the southeast corner of Larimer, where it's wowed crowds for years with its fetching rooftop patio and spectacular mountain views. The main bar, a narrow room flanked in light wood accents and festive décor, resides on the street level, where it's separated from the dining area with a partial wall. All in all, the vibe on the drinking side is relaxed and inviting.
The Verdict: We've frequented Tamayo's Asian-fusion sibling, Zengo, numerous times, and we'd hoped that the cocktails at Tamayo would be equally as innovative and stiff. But our first round of margaritas were a disappointing reminder of why assumptions can lead to disappointment. Lacking flavor -- and more important, tequila -- they tasted watered down and were neither sweet nor tart. They were...flat.
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The happy-hour menu at Tamayo pimps numerous tapas, and we appreciate the variety. On this particular visit, we first sampled the ceviche and the vegetarian sopes. The ceviche, a small dish of seafood swimming in tomato stock, was underseasoned and served in very small portion (although for three bucks, one could easily combine a few orders). Sopes, delightful little discs of fresh vegetables on top of fried cornmeal, would have been a slam dunk were it not for the charred bottoms. But the chicken torta, a sandwich dripping with savory braised chicken, hit all the high notes, both because of its complex flavor and its ability to soak up all of the cocktails you'll turn to once you realize the margs aren't worth it. Speaking of which, our next round of drinks -- mojitos and red sangria -- were markedly better than their predecessors. But the service, like the margs, was barely adequate.