| Booze |

No magic mushrooms at Mellow Mushroom, but the drink specials are (mostly) solid

A funny thing happened the other day on an exploratory trip to the new Mellow Mushroom , which just opened at 1201 Sixteenth Street, in the Tabor Center. Tempted by the sweet allure of lunchtime pizza, we were actually more impressed by the drink specials than the pizzas.

Bellied up to a glowing bar, we decided to skip the Shroom Tea in favor of the tie-dyed-Razzmatazz-Blue Curacao-Long-Island-on-Acid Grateful Dead cocktail. We'll say this: She was lovely to look at, but her taste left a lot to be desired, and at $7 a pop, you're better off sticking with Mellow Mushroom's daily specials.

The best of which may be Tuesday's S.I.N. special, which stands for Service Industry Night, or perhaps Sloppy Intoxicated Nudes, Slurpy Intercourse Now, or Super Inebriated Nuesday, depending on who you talk to. The bar pours two-for-one house margaritas, along with Tuaca and Jager shots; tall PBR's go for $2; and Three Olive cocktails run $3, thereby allowing line cooks to buy themselves and a lucky lady a round with only an hour's pay.

Thursday is Ladies Night from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., with $1 house wines and two-for-one Jager Bombs and Dirty Blond shots. Apparently ladies love cheap wine and shots with vaguely unclean monikers .

Then again, sometimes a girl just needs five Miller Lites and a cheap slice of pizza in the wee hours. Mellow Mushroom's late-night happy hour hooks you up from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, featuring $1 house wines, $2 Miller Lites and $3 wells, along with $2.50 pizza slices to soak up the booze.

On Wednesday nights, the pizzeria sucks you in with live trivia and $10 "buckets" of Coors, but since the Coors bottles are already $2 on special, getting five in a bucket for a tenner isn't any kind of deal -- unless you have a bucket fetish. Whatever happened to actual buckets of beer? You know, a giant plastic pail filled to the brim with frothy suds and served with dippin' cups?

Hazy Sunday features an unremarkable $3 Bloody Mary bar and $3 mimosas, right alongside a truly bizarre breakfast pizza topped with scrambled eggs and cheese with your choice of additional toppings. It may be the most outside-the-box pizza idea since the turkey and cranberry Thanksgiving pizza.

Mellow Mushroom's drink names, psychedelic wall murals and sassy mushroom mascot all aim to create a vague impression that their pizzas may send you out for a longer trip than the one back to your car. It's all marketing patina however, since the restaurant is really a family-grown Southern franchise.The unfounded drug references began to wear a bit, but one cocktail on the menu still got a giggle -- specifically the "Michael Phelps," mixed up with Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea, water, vodka, and sours.

As far as outdated 2008 Olympics references go, that one's pretty good.

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