Happy Place: Phat Thai, 2900 East Second Avenue, 303-388-7428.
The Hours: Monday through Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m.
The Deals: $3 draft beers; $5 specialty cocktails and wines by the glass; $1-$5 small plates.
Were we happy? Flip the page to find out.
The Digs: Despite the bureaucracies that seem to haunt young eateries, Phat Thai has joined the crop of restaurants attempting to find a permanent home in the Cherry Creek neighborhood. An airy and welcoming space on the corner of Second and Fillmore, Phat Thai boasts bright hues, modern accents and floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the tony sidewalk scene. The bar area sits on the opposite side of the grandiose dining area, both of which are backed by the industrial open kitchen.
The Verdict: We strolled into Phat Thai to shield ourselves from the bone chilling wind that was blowing outside. As we hoisted ourselves into an over-sized booth, our server approached us with an enormous grin. He graciously explained the happy hour menu, a presentation filled with humorous anecdotes, and then left us to make a decision.
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The happy hour cocktails -- chilled concoctions that pack a serious punch without being contrived or overly sweet, which is just the way we like it -- are marvelous. We recommend the margarita, a traditional preparation with fresh lime juice and a hint of ginger, served up. The food menu offers an array of unique options, all catering to Phat Thai's mission of providing cuisine based (although sometimes loosely) on southeast Asian culture. The spicy duck tacos are seasoned perfectly and dripping in sweet, fatty juices, and the black pepper lobster claws are an equally robust treat, although we lost the lobster in the pungent spices. Our server, witty and as efficient as they come, rounded out what quickly became an outstanding happy hour experience. We can't wait to go back.