Escape the heat and put on the ritz at Elway's Downtown

The Place: Elway's Downtown, 1881 Curtis Street, 303-312-3107

The Hours: Daily from 2 to 7 p.m.

The Deals: $3 draft beers; $5 select wines by the glass; $7 select martinis; select appetizers are half price.

The Digs: The Ritz-Carlton is gorgeous -- and so is Elway's, the ritzy hotel's in-house restaurant, located on the first level, just south of the main hotel entrance. But even with all the pomp and circumstance, the bar welcomes patrons of all walks of life, and we never felt underdressed or out of place on a recent sweltering day, when we were sweating out of body areas that we didn't know existed. The bar itself winds its way through the lounge area, where hotel guests mingle with business-types and sporting events play out silently on flat-screen televisions.

The Verdict: On this particular afternoon, we found ourselves belly up at the bar sipping Italian bubbly ($5) and noshing on Asian tuna tataki ($5), while listening to Elton John and watching the Yankees kick some serious ass -- call it a cross-cultural experience. The one remarkable thing about the happy hour at Elway's is the service: The bartenders are witty, patient and charming as hell. Alas, the food is underwhelming, as are the drink specials ($7 martini specials just aren't that exciting). Still: We'd return, if only because the hospitality is incredible, and the anonymity provided by drinking in a hotel bar is a nice escape from the watering holes that have a sea of familiar faces.

Overall grade: B-

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