The Place: Lola, 1575 Boulder Street, 720-570-8686.
The Hours: Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m.
The Deals: Specialty cocktails and select red and white wines by the glass are $5; Tecate cans are $2; sangria is $4; and generously portioned tapas are priced between $2 and $7.
The Digs: When Lola relocated from Platt Park to Lower Highland in 2006, just as the neighborhood was starting to explode, part of its allure was a patio that has since become legendary (and you know how much we love fresh air and booze). Being stuck inside isn't much worse: Brightly colored paintings decorate high walls and the long, inviting bar area leads the way to the dining room. There's always a good crowd, fantastic people watching and great music, which only bolsters the happy hour experience.
The Verdict: The happy hour at Lola is nothing short of stellar. But even if it wasn't -- even if the entire two hours sucked more than paying your taxes and doing dishes -- there is one cocktail at Lola that would entirely redeem the experience no matter how bad: the cucumber lemonade. It's simple, made only with vodka, freshly muddled cucumber and lemonade, but it'll blow your mind. The shrimp ceviche, tossed with grape tomato pico, melon salsa, and a hint of jalapeno aoili, is divine ($6), too. But while the fried chicken posole ($6/8) was pleasing to the eye, it led to some some awkward eating (the chicken needs to be sliced and the bowl is too small). Still, the drinks are awesome, the views of the city from the patio are killer, and the staff is outgoing and efficient, not to mention a huge asset if you need to know anything about tequila.
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Overall Grade: A-