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.
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.