Happy Place: Lime XS, 730 East Sixth Avenue, 303-722-5463.
The Hours: Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.
The Deals: $3 house wines, well drinks, margaritas, and draft beer; $3 appetizers.
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The Digs: This modern cantina sits on a four-block stretch of Sixth Avenue that's home to several restaurants, coffee shops and Don's Mixed Drinks, one of the best dive bars around. The best time of year to enjoy Lime is when the weather is warm and the huge patio morphs into quite the party. Lime's bar shares the walkway from the front entrance into the dining room, and on busy nights, you never really escape the feeling that you're sitting right next to the front door. Luckily, the double doors keep the cold out when the temperatures drop. The space boasts large panels of chartreuse, which complement the otherwise black and white fixtures, and the dining room buzzes with chatty locals inhaling tacos.
The Verdict: We showed up during happy hour on a Tuesday -- a double whammy at Lime, because in addition to happy hour, the joint offers $1 tacos all night long. We were fortunate enough to snag a couple of bar stools, and within an hour the entire restaurant was packed to the rafters, which isn't surprising, considering that the margaritas at Lime are outstanding: five-count pours of tequila are mixed with a lemon-lime concoction that isn't too sweet or too sour. For three bucks, it's the best-tasting buzz in the neighborhood.
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That said, the happy-hour eats at Lime are hit-or-miss. We're huge fans of the thick, deep-fried tortilla chips tinged gold, which taste even better with a big bowl of guacamole. The nachos, however, are mediocre, but they do the job when you're looking for something to soak up all that tequila. On this particular visit, we also sampled the flautas (essentially taquitos) and were left unimpressed, mainly because they tasted like they'd been thrown in the fryer straight off the Sysco truck, and the chicken inside had turned into a pasty mush. No bueno. And while we appreciate that the bartenders at Lime have a heavy hand when it comes to pouring liquor, we could do without watching the servers snack at the bar.
Overall Grade: B-