Dark brown and full of zing, the Bloody Mary at the Lancer Lounge is a patriotic salute to drinking. Bartender Josh Gibson calls his concoction "the National Anthem" and explains that it earned the name "because when I'm sitting on the couch and I drink one, I'm immediately at attention." The Bloody, $3.50, starts with ice and vodka -- a lot of vodka -- and moves on to Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, celery salt, black pepper, a teaspoon of horseradish, capers, olives, a squeeze of lime and, finally, a dash of tomato juice. One of these babies, accessorized with a spicy bean, will leave more than your lips tingling.
Known for its strong well drinks and hearty meatloaf (compliments of Sully, who handles the kitchen), this dimly lit dive just might be Denver's version of Cheers: If the regulars don't know your name when you walk in, they surely will by the time you walk out. If you can walk out. "It's a good drinking bar," says Gibson.
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To try one of Gibson's specialties, you'll have to get here early: He's only behind the old pine bar from noon to 6 p.m. But the Lancer offers three two-for-one happy-hour sessions each day, so chances are good you'll find something worth drinking.