Last week I did a little bit of cheating. You see, Noble Riot does not currently have a happy hour, per se, so technically it’s not in my wheelhouse. But it did have a screaming deal on Cinco de Mayo, which essentially allowed me to check out whether these winos sling a decent cocktail, in a happy-hour-ish sorta way. In particular, it allowed me to get an entire 750ml bottle of fresh-made margaritas and a couple of fried chicken tacos for under forty bucks. So who was I to label this unhappy?
In your average times, Nobel Riot is a self-proclaimed place to find “Honest wines, good food, genuine hospitality and a bit of mayhem.” But in such times of pervasive mayhem, the wine bar — the younger sibling of Nocturne next door — has taken advantage of our global craving for comfort foods by getting into the fried chicken business. A smart choice if you ask me, but I’d probably give a kidney for Noble Riot's charcuterie platter, too (though the $19 menu price means I don't have to). In fact, the menu is rife with possibilities, ranging from fried chicken buckets (four pieces for $19 or eight for $36, plus bonus wings), salmon rillettes ($8), tuna sesame noodle salad ($11), a pricey double burger ($19), and the ever-popular cauliflower snack (this version is curried, for $5).
While I wanted to dive into all of it, I decided to be reasonable and stick to a few of the special-for-the-day fried chicken tacos so I could focus on that bottle o' margarita. Noble Riot uses the Tock app for pick-up orders, which, if you haven’t used it before, can be a little befuddling. However, as long as you can locate the not-very-button-looking chicken-bucket button on the wine bar's web page, you’ll be on your way. From there you can select your order date (Tuesday through Friday) and pick-up time (between 3 and 8 p.m.), after which you have ten minutes to make up your mind (I made it with two seconds to spare).
Arriving in Noble Riot’s graffitied back alley for my 6 p.m. pick-up, I found the place pretty cleared out, leaving plenty of standing room for folks to keep their distance. However, seeing as I was one of only two people there, I got to linger over the wine list I had passed up in my desire for tequila. Noble Riot always has interesting stuff on rotation, especially “pét nats” — sommelier-speak for pétillant naturel (natural sparkling), or wines that are light and a bit fizzy from finishing their fermentation in the bottle. You can also just let the sommeliers do what they do best and pick you out any variety of white, red, bubbly or other grape-based selection.
With my trusty 750ml bottle and a few tacos to go, I headed home to await my fried chicken-loving roommate. Admittedly, I helped myself to the margs prior to her arrival. Despite preferring margaritas on the puckery end of sour, this well-balanced concoction was exquisitely refreshing over ice. I took the time for a fancy salt rim, which was necessary to slow me down from finishing my half. Be warned: Drinkable as they are, these things will sneak up on you.
Because I was late for my pick-up, by the time we got to our fried chicken tacos, the tortillas and chicken were a tad weathered. This is not to say we didn’t polish them off, simply that I can highly recommend ditching the taco, sticking with the bucket of chicken, and making sure you are curbside at the appointed time. Follow these simple guidelines, and you’ve got yourself a noble riot in the safety of your own home.
Noble Riot is located at 1336 27th Street (look for the alley between Walnut and Larimer streets). In addition to takeout chicken, wine and cocktails, the wine bar also offers a selection of online wine classes.