There was a time not so long ago in American culinary history when wine was ordered simply by asking for the house red or white. Bastien's is a product of that period. And while settling down for a night in this time-warped Colfax fixture may not inspire your thirst for a delicate Ctes du Rhne or hundred-dollar bottle of bubbly, that's all for the best: Bastien's wouldn't have it, anyway. What it does have are house reds and whites going by the glass in the single-digit range and the occasional, surprising Aussie shiraz or South American cabernet that'll still only run you somewhere in the neighborhood of a five-spot. Though Bastien's throwback atmosphere may move you to want the sort of cocktails Truman Capote would've sucked down when he used to visit the place, just remember that man does not live on martinis and sidecars alone. Cheap wine has its place -- and Bastien's is it.
Like its agave-derivative namesake, Mezcal -- the upscale Mexican cantina that opened on a gentrifying-by-the-second block of East Colfax last December -- is getting slammed on a nightly basis. And rightly so. From its glowing Moroccan lamps and sunny walls painted with Sol Cerveza advertisements to such kitschy decorations as a chrome low-rider bike suspended from the ceiling and a plastic baby Jesus affixed to an exposed-brick column, Mezcal looks like the real thing. And Mezcal tastes like it, too, with its stash of over a hundred premium tequilas, served straight up or mixed into fabulous fruity concoctions. But the only true measure of a tequila bar is the house margarita, where the mix is key. Too much sweet in the sweet-and-sour, and your marg tastes like soap. Too little, and your cheeks get glued together in a permanent pucker. Mezcal makes its mix daily from freshly squeezed Key and Persian limes; add in the Triple Sec and Silver Herradura -- the very generous house tequila -- and you've got one great marg. It's even better at happy hour, when a tall, tall glass runs only $3. Since the kitchen stays open until 1 a.m. every day of the week, there's plenty of time to order a burrito to soak up all that excess alcohol. And before you head for home, remember to check out the baño de caballeros, which is full of busty Mexican pinups.


Best Wine List -- Inexpensive but Never Cheap

Brix

It's no surprise that Charlie Master, son of Mel and Jane, would come up with a good wine list at his first restaurant, whose very name is a word used for measuring the sugar content in wine. At Brix, Charlie set out to create a list of appealing, very drinkable bottles, none of which would come in above thirty dollars. And with the kind of experience he has from growing up in a wine-and-restaurant family, he was up to the task. If you're not a grape-juice fan, Brix still has you covered with its nightly "white trash beer specials," with Schlitz and PBR in the can to go along with the kitchen's simple menu of hot dogs, burgers, tarragon chicken, mussel stew and other high-class, low-price comfort foods.
Good margaritas are a dime a dozen in this town. But Cielo raises the tequila bar with its Hot & Cold margarita, a hot twist on the cool classic. Made with triple citrus and chile-infused Chinaco Silver, a splash of dry vermouth and olive and serrano-chile juices, this marg bursts with exotic flavors and leaves a warm, spicy afterglow on your tongue. Douse the fire with complimentary nibbles in the candlelit Hacienda Bar, which spills out onto Cielo's stucco patio -- an ideal spot for springtime sipping.
Bastien's Restaurant
Mark Antonation
There was a time not so long ago in American culinary history when wine was ordered simply by asking for the house red or white. Bastien's is a product of that period. And while settling down for a night in this time-warped Colfax fixture may not inspire your thirst for a delicate Ctes du Rhne or hundred-dollar bottle of bubbly, that's all for the best: Bastien's wouldn't have it, anyway. What it does have are house reds and whites going by the glass in the single-digit range and the occasional, surprising Aussie shiraz or South American cabernet that'll still only run you somewhere in the neighborhood of a five-spot. Though Bastien's throwback atmosphere may move you to want the sort of cocktails Truman Capote would've sucked down when he used to visit the place, just remember that man does not live on martinis and sidecars alone. Cheap wine has its place -- and Bastien's is it.
Mezcal
Danielle Lirette
Like its agave-derivative namesake, Mezcal -- the upscale Mexican cantina that opened on a gentrifying-by-the-second block of East Colfax last December -- is getting slammed on a nightly basis. And rightly so. From its glowing Moroccan lamps and sunny walls painted with Sol Cerveza advertisements to such kitschy decorations as a chrome low-rider bike suspended from the ceiling and a plastic baby Jesus affixed to an exposed-brick column, Mezcal looks like the real thing. And Mezcal tastes like it, too, with its stash of over a hundred premium tequilas, served straight up or mixed into fabulous fruity concoctions. But the only true measure of a tequila bar is the house margarita, where the mix is key. Too much sweet in the sweet-and-sour, and your marg tastes like soap. Too little, and your cheeks get glued together in a permanent pucker. Mezcal makes its mix daily from freshly squeezed Key and Persian limes; add in the Triple Sec and Silver Herradura -- the very generous house tequila -- and you've got one great marg. It's even better at happy hour, when a tall, tall glass runs only $3. Since the kitchen stays open until 1 a.m. every day of the week, there's plenty of time to order a burrito to soak up all that excess alcohol. And before you head for home, remember to check out the bao de caballeros, which is full of busty Mexican pinups.
What do you get when you combine seventeen liquors with a smidgen of water? At Mario's Double Daughters, it's called Succo Vaffanculodi Mario, which translates roughly into English as "Mario's go-fuck-yourself juice." While the super-strong recipe is a well-guarded secret, the bright-red concoction is on display front and center in this whimsical LoDo bar, mocking weak stomachs as it gurgles in a glowing brass-and-steel tank riveted behind the long bar. If you're smart enough to pair the potent cocktail with a slice of greasy pizza from next-door sibling Two-Fisted Mario's, you might not black out after two glasses. But don't count on it.
Falling Rock's long list of "best taphouse in the nation" honors includes a fresh nod from Celebrator Beer News, and the house lives up to the acclaim. Over seventy taps of the world's best beers -- as well as a hefty collection of classic and obscure bottled beers and knowledgeable staffers serving them in a great relaxed atmosphere -- make Falling Rock a mecca for local and visiting brew fiends alike.
Good margaritas are a dime a dozen in this town. But Cielo raises the tequila bar with its Hot & Cold margarita, a hot twist on the cool classic. Made with triple citrus and chile-infused Chinaco Silver, a splash of dry vermouth and olive and serrano-chile juices, this marg bursts with exotic flavors and leaves a warm, spicy afterglow on your tongue. Douse the fire with complimentary nibbles in the candlelit Hacienda Bar, which spills out onto Cielo's stucco patio -- an ideal spot for springtime sipping.
The Bull & Bush's award-winning India Pale Ale gets even better when it's served off the beer engine at the B&B. The cask-style Man is a hazy, golden nectar for hop-heads, loaded with verdant, thrilling hops flavors and a complement of pale malt tastes and alcohol. Yeah, Man.


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