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The Preservery's braised-pork nachos are weird but tasty.
The Preservery's braised-pork nachos are weird but tasty.
Leigh Bush

Happy Hour at the Preservery Preserves Summer for a Little Longer

I don’t know about you all, but when the dog days of summer have passed me by, I’m on a mission to find patios forgotten and left behind. And I’m especially fond of those with fine landscaping, a tranquil ambience and doggo-friendly seating. The Preservery, with its lush courtyard and outdoor bar seating, has two out of the three. The happy hour on this relatively quiet stretch of Blake between 30th and 31st lasts four hours (from 2 to 6 p.m.), so it’s worth scheduling.

Take a seat along the outside portion of the concrete bar, where you can get a vista of all that's grand about the Preservery’s exposed brick, enormous windows, vibrant New Orleans-inspired walls and friendly bartenders, while enjoying access to that out-of-doors experience we will soon be forced to abandon. And though our four-legged friends are not permitted on the patio, the kindly bartenders may allow your well-behaved (or, in my case, medium-mannered) pooch to be tethered outside the patio boundaries in the Preservery’s shared courtyard, known as the Backyard on Blake.

Now settle in with a refreshing HH cocktail. The four options (all 8$) are approachable yet unique to the restaurant, including a not-too-sweet take on an Aperol spritz and a mezcal-based Old Fashioned that could mellow out any LoDo tech bro. Follow that with the Beermint Julep (like a julep with a pale ale float) and you might just be convinced that summer is here to stay. While the wine (all $7) and beer deals are a bit less impressive price-wise ($6 drafts, $5 beer of the day and $4 cans), they do offer an array of options for all types of imbibers.

Have some cocktails on the patio while you can.EXPAND
Have some cocktails on the patio while you can.
Leigh Bush

But where the Preservery’s happy hour really shines is in the food. The list of offerings — all under $12 (but for the charcuterie at $18) — includes several robust snacks and a few dinner-sized plates. First, despite being a Buffalo sauce detractor myself, Coop’s World Famous Buffalo Cauliflower boasts an ideal coating of tangy rosemary-garlic Buffalo sauce giving way to a crunchy-then-soft tempura-like batter which clings tenaciously to its interior al dente cauliflower (the buffalo-sauce-and-batter vehicle). You can probably skip the dip, a perplexingly thin and flavorless liquid that we ultimately deemed "accessorary" (yeah, I said it).

Next, the braised-pork nachos, with smoky, porky goodness creatively piled atop bubbly fried wonton chips and coated with “Welsh cheddar bechamel,” are a little weird, but also delicious. Eat fast, however; the fact that they’re served in a bowl rather than on a plate (as, one might argue, nachos should be) means the bottom wonton chips soggify if they bathe in the liquid cheese sauce for too long. Had we not gotten that, I would have sprung for the indulgent-looking Cheee-zey Fries, which swap out one pork product for another (bacon).

The pulled-pork sandwich comes with Irv's BBQ sauce.
The pulled-pork sandwich comes with Irv's BBQ sauce.
Leigh Bush

Finally, though tempted by the wagyu burger, which I intend to go back for, we ended up doubling down on pork with a pulled-pork sandwich. All the bread products appear to be made in-house, their intoxicating aroma wafting by each time we passed the counter. Though a bit dense, the bun is perfectly toasted and buttered (perhaps aiolied), making for a solid pork vessel. Whoever Irv is, his BBQ sauce is not as prominent as one might hope, though the tender pork really didn’t need it. Finally, housemade chips alternated between crunchy and stale, making it into a sort of chip roulette. But at that point, we were so well fed, the mercurial potatoes were hardly appealing.

Instead, my dog-loving friend and I digested while discussing the bizarre music-video projections and the seemingly syncopated funkadelic music coming out of the speakers. All in all, the space vibrates with the love of two people, owners Whitney and Obe Ariss, and their respective appreciation of music, food and community — a sentiment the servers and bartenders bestow upon their customers. When it comes to the overlooked — and as long as you don’t have a high-needs patio pup — this place has something to offer, especially before ski season hits.

The Preservery is located at 3040 Blake Street and serves happy hour from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with all-day happy hour (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.) on Wednesdays. Call 303-298-6821 or visit the restaurant's website for more details.

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