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Taking a pit stop at the Keg Steakhouse and Bar

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The Keg Steakhouse and Bar, 1890 Wynkoop Street, 303-296-0023

The Hours: Monday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m.

The Deals: $3 beers; $4 small plates; $5 martinis and margaritas; $6 wines by the glass

Were we happy? Flip the page to find out.

The Digs: While chain steakhouses aren't our first choice when we're hankering for thirst-quenching beverages, sometimes they're the first thing we come across, which was the case on a recent Thursday afternoon, after a day so desperate we would have knocked back a thermos of Boone's Farm on the street corner had the opportunity presented itself. Upon walking through the gargantuan front doors, we were greeted by three hostesses sporting perfectly coiffed hair and black mini-dresses; they appeared as though they hadn't forked a steak in years, if ever.

The lounge sprawls before the granite bar, and the dimly lit room is decorated with large paintings of plasticized women sipping martinis. The trendy, tattooed, svelte staff provides a strange contrast to the dated steakhouse vibe, but not enough to erase your lurking premonition that the drunk businessmen at the bar aren't above sinning.

The Verdict: After settling into our bar stools, we began to peruse the happy-hour menu, convinced that anything coming out of the kitchen for happy hour was bound to be crap. Still, we thought, the happy-hour eats at a chain steakhouse were bound to be better than, say, what you get at chain Asian restaurants. We ordered baked goat cheese and chicken wings and began sipping our martinis.

Just as we thought, the food served during the Keg's happy hour isn't particularly memorable. The baked goat cheese, mixed with diced tomatoes, tasted exactly like it was supposed to but didn't come with enough bread, and the chicken wings were straight out of a freezer bag and didn't come with enough blue cheese. Still, you can't go wrong with chilled vodka spiked with a zest of orange, and we soon found ourselves slightly sloppy and ready to move on. We were most impressed with the bar staff, a collection of attentive and witty tenders, and a lovely, conversational bar manager, who kept bringing us free bowls of homemade potato chips -- a gracious gesture.

Overall Grade: B-

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