What: Brass Tacks
Where: 1526 Blake Street
When: Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.
The deal: $3 off draft cocktails, $1 off draft beer and house wine, plus food specials
For more info: Visit brasstacksdinebar.com
Of course the same goodies can be had at one of the stand-alone tables on the other side. Or at the bar, where you have the advantage of watching the bartenders work to create intricate cocktails (starting at $14) such as the Turtles All the Way Down, with Macallan 12 Year whiskey, Brugal 1888 rum, pineapple, lemon, espresso and banana liqueurs and Pedro Ximénez sherry; or the Rock Salt Nails, a concoction of Botanist gin, celery root, Absentroux, manzanilla sherry and chamomile.
Though vertically Brass Tacks appears large, it's rather narrow, which helps the space feel intimate and open at the same time. Even without a ton of real estate, there's enough going on with the floor-to-ceiling shelves of booze, pressed-tin ceiling and mirror and art-strewn walls that the bar remains interesting. Make sure to look toward the back by the kitchen, where a large bingo board fills the wall. This item used to be a tool to call people up for their food orders, but now it's a glittering instillation unlike anything else around town.
It's not the first time this space has housed something unique to Denver. It also hosted the oldest and most well-hidden vault in the city, which was put in around 1880. The building itself was originally erected in 1863 as a saloon and boardinghouse. Eventually, 1526 Blake Street became a bar called the Blake Street Vault, until 2017. Brass Tacks debuted in the space at the beginning of 2019. The ghost of a "lady in red" allegedly haunts the basement. Between the setting and the history, this venue is just fun to be in, and the food and drink solidify the overall experience.
There's a lot going on with the food menu, too. While it's all worth a go (hello, pastrami pork ribs), during happy hour you should take advantage of the specials, which knock $2 to $4 off regular menu prices for some of the most snackable items. This includes salt and vinegar fries with paprika ketchup for $3; a market board with meat and cheese, house pickles and grilled bread for $12; sweet corn beignets for $6; and the Little Gem salad with cured egg and Parmesan for $8.
One item you won't want to share, though: the burger. The happy hour version ($8) is made with a single patty instead of the double that's on the regular menu, but the perfectly grilled beef patty topped with American cheese, lettuce and "fancy sauce" on a soft sesame bun is just the right amount of messy and the ideal indulgence for a mid-week break from cooking.