The Place: Vita, 1575 Boulder Street, 303-477-4600
The Hours: Daily from 3 to 6:30 p.m.
The Deals: 2 for 1 wines by the glass; $3 Mirror Pond Pale Ale drafts; $4 well drinks; small plates range from $3-$5.
The Digs:It's no easy feat being the neighbor to the famed tequila-swilling patio at Lola. Unless, of course, you have a rooftop patio with spectacular views of downtown and a dark, modern dining room that provides a swanky solace from the ruckus next door -- thank you, Vita. It's summertime in Colorado, and Vita has come alive: The downstairs patio opens out of the restaurant bar and provides ample seating for folks wishing to partake in ground-level libations. But Vita's gem is the patio upstairs, a spacious deck that boasts cocktail tables and 4-top sit downs, as well as a full bar. It fills up fast, so get there early: You can't reserve seats on one of the best patios in town.
The Verdict: Three cheers for Vita -- make that four if you plan on staying for dinner. The wine list is impressive and half-price glasses sucked us into staying immediately. The $3 slider menu doesn't disappoint, and the $5 small plates are extraordinary. Try the seven-hour pork -- juicy, cherry pepper-braised pork generously stacked over fried tortilla chips and topped with pickled onions. It's delicious and big enough to share. The tasso flatbread with barbecue sauce and ricotta salata left our mouths watering, too. The service is incredible, and let's face it: An extra dose of Vitamin D during happy hour never hurt anyone.
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Overall Grade: A