Happy Hour

Nine Commuter Happy Hours for Downtown Mass-Transit Warriors

An Old Fashioned at Hearth & Dram.
An Old Fashioned at Hearth & Dram. Hearth & Dram
If you're one of the many people working downtown who uses Union Station as your transportation hub, good for you. Not only are you doing your part for the environment, but you're also saving time and a wee bit of sanity. That's why you deserve a nice happy hour after work. And why not? After all, you don't have to worry about driving afterward. These nine places will have you well fed and juiced up for that journey home.

click to enlarge Drinking craft cocktails at Citizen Rail. - LINNEA COVINGTON
Drinking craft cocktails at Citizen Rail.
Linnea Covington
Citizen Rail
1899 16th Street

This new restaurant is named after you, the intrepid mass-transit tripper. Right under the Kimpton Hotel Born you will find chef Christian Graves whipping up all sorts of modernized steakhouse favorites — even for happy hour. From 2:30 to 6 p.m., grab a seat at the bar or a table outside under the heat lamps and order the $7 wood-grilled oysters; a giant $6 Scotch egg with housemade fennel pollen sausage; crispy artichokes with Dungeness crab and lemon curd for $9; and a $11 charcuterie board laden with truffled chicken-liver mousse, Fra'Mani salami, aged ham, house pickles, mustard and bread. This is around 30 percent off the usual fare, and staff assured us the size is just as hearty as it is at dinner. On the drink side, tip back a glass of $5 wine, $4 craft beer or $7 cocktail like the house gin and tonic with herbs and spices or the Brown Derby with bourbon, honey and grapefruit. Or, if your work day proved exceptionally crazy, consider one of the $7 pairings such as a glass of rosé with a shot of mezcal or a stout with a side of bourbon. Once you're done, simply stumble out the hotel's revolving door and onto the train platform.

click to enlarge An Old Fashioned at Hearth & Dram. - HEARTH & DRAM
An Old Fashioned at Hearth & Dram.
Hearth & Dram
Hearth & Dram
1801 Wewatta Street

There are happy-hour menus — and then there are happy-hour menus showcasing forty different cocktails. That is what you will find at this downtown spot, and they only cost $8 each. If you hanker for whiskey, choose from twenty different tipples including the Manhattan, whiskey sour and Old Fashioned. Also on the epic drink menu: Negroni, mai tai, margaritas and other classic cocktails. Chase a drink with a plate of savory crab beignets, perfect housemade Hawaiian rolls and a stack of delicately fried and oh-so-addictive tempura onion rings. And, if you really want to go the distance and turn your happy hour into dinner, the special menu also includes a grilled bologna and cheese sandwich, bacon cheeseburger and the smoked-brisket patty melt. Get these items every day from 3 to 6 p.m., and, yes, that even means on the weekends.

Next Door American Eatery
1701 Wynkoop Street

For those looking for a healthier happy hour, this mini-chain right inside Union Station has some good gluten-free and vegetarian options. For example, between 3 to 6 p.m. daily, guests can sit at the bar or patio and order veggie or chicken tostadas, kale chips, a dish of pickles, chorizo-stuffed dates, meatballs with polenta or a simple side of guacamole and chips — all for $3 to $5 each. Pair the food with the restaurant's own Next Door red or white blend for $6; a $4 Upslope lager or Avery IPA; or a $6 cocktail such as the peach bourbon or the margarita. It's not the largest menu on the train-station block, but the vibe is mellow and comfortable.

Public School 303
1959 16th Street

Although it's not directly at Union Station, this American comfort-food eatery is just a block away (and halfway between the A Line platform and the main stop for several other lines). Dubbed "recess," the daily 3 to 7 p.m. happy-hour menu proves just as fun as its namesake. Nibble on discounted items including $5 Parmesan truffle fries with ginger aioli; $8 chorizo macaroni and cheese; $8 ahi tuna poke with taro chips; and $5 bacon cheddar tots with sriracha ketchup, to name a few. On the drink side, well cocktails are $5, handles of craft beer run between $4 and $6, and house red or white wine is $15 for a half-liter or $5 a glass. It's not a bad way to end the work day, even if you end up at the office on the weekend.

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Linnea Covington moved back to Denver after spending thirteen years in New York City and couldn't be happier to be home, exploring the Mile High and eating as much as possible, especially when it involves pizza or ice cream.
Contact: Linnea Covington