Some days just beg to end in the back of a bar, hunched over a beer or two. There are plenty of Denver spots that will serve this purpose, but when your stomach also happens to be begging to be fed, a good bet is Zio Romolo's Alley Bar, where you can get a Pasquini's pizza, salad or calzone while also getting your fix of bad '80s rock, country music and hippie jams.
Zio Romolo's is situated right beside the Pasquini's Pizzeria at 2400 West 32nd Avenue, and the dark back booths are the perfect spot to nurse a drink or two while you wait for the complimentary, freshly made breadsticks to arrive. Those rich, ultra-buttery breadsticks are also ideal for soaking up all the alcohol put in your system by a pitcher of sangria -- Pasquini's $5 Thursday-night special.
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Zio Romolo's is an adults-only lounge, and while its art-deco decor is somewhat upscale, the music, flat-screen TVs and laid-back vibe make for a nice change from the faster-paced, brighter Pasquini's.
Pasquini's and Zio Romolo's share the same menu. The pizzas don't come cheap, but a small, 12" pie is usually more than enough for two people, because the kitchen is extremely generous with toppings The Due pizza ($16.50 for a 12") is a great veg-friendly combination, mixing spinach, artichoke hearts, ricotta, mozzarella cheese and red sauce (we like it with the optional whole-wheat crust that's moist,chewy and very filling).
We often order a vegetarian salad to go with the pizza. The Pomodoro -- field greens, fresh tomatoes, red onions, kalamata olives, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil -- is one of the best. A small salad ($6.25) makes a good side salad for two, and the kitchen will even split it onto two plates.
Another tip: Before you go to Pasquini's or Zio Romolo's, be sure to check out the daily happy-hour specials and the coupons available on their website. There are usually some worthwhile bargains.