The Place: TAG, 1441 Larimer Street, 303-996-9985
The Hours: Monday through Friday, from 2 to 6 p.m
The Deals: $5 specialty cocktails and select wines by the glass; $5 small plates
The Digs: TAG's "social hour" is available at the bar, as well as on the patio fronting Larimer Square. The bar resides in the center of a long, narrow dining area with high ceilings, dimly lit black walls, and large red booths reminiscent of both a Dr. Seuss story and a Tilt-A-Whirl cart. The patio outside is much more organic: Minimalist tables sit snugly beneath a wall of field grasses separating TAG's patrons from Larimer Square's street scene.
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The Verdict: The first thing we noticed after plopping down at the bar was the impressive array of fruits, herbs and vegetables, all perfectly sliced and sorted into pint glasses, awaiting their fate as ingredients in TAG's scrumptious roster of cocktails. It made the thought of having wine seem boring and unadventurous. And we were right: The Axl Rose, a lovely mix of vodka, pink champagne, bitters and lemon, hooked us immediately.
Another cocktail, irreverently named An Honest Mistake, served chilled and neat with gin, absinthe, orange bitters and a twist, offered a great excuse to drink one more after eating the citrus and mint garnishes. But while the "social hour" food at TAG is good, it didn't blow us away nearly as much as the cocktails. Still, the chipotle tacos satiated the rumble in our bellies, and the sliders -- we chose Kobe beef and grilled portobello mushrooms -- are, if nothing else, adorable.
Overall Grade: B+