Happy Place: The Living Room, 1055 Broadway, 303-339-6636.
The Hours: Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.
The Deals: $3 house wine, well cocktails, and draft beer; half-price tapas.
Were we happy? Flip the page to find out.
The Digs: If the Mad Hatter's tea party had been hosted in a Chicago speakeasy, it would've looked just like The Living Room. Deep, plush, fairytale-esque velvet seats share space with cushy couches and coffee tables. The open and airy -- some would say drafty -- room boasts darker hues staunchly contrasted by a white baby grand piano that sits on the elevated stage behind the bar area.
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There is no place in Denver like The Living Room. Perhaps it's the location, but any other bar with as much manufactured mystique would attract the drunk, douchey, cologne-soaked tools that can be found on any given night in LoDo slamming shots of Stoli Bluberi and looking for a piece of ass. The fact that The Situation doesn't drink here scores The Living Room some major points, but, unfortunately, it also speaks to the reality that nobody else really drinks there either. On both visits to The Living Room, we were the only pulse, which sucks, because The Living Room is a lovely little bar that would be a zillion times more wonderful if it had more people sipping wine and a funky band blowing the roof off the place. What gives?
The Verdict: The only thing worse than drinking in an empty bar is being the bartender in an empty bar. While small talk can save almost any situation, this particular scene can also become extremely awkward. We've all been there when the bartender tries to find a glass to clean while you sip your beer and attempt to subtly tell your happy hour buddy about the nitty-gritty going down in your life, all while wishing the music was just a little bit louder. That's not the case at The Living Room: We were given plenty of space, yet we never had to wait for the bartender to return when we needed her.
The tapas at The Living Room aren't revolutionary, but they're delicious snacks for the price and perfect for sharing. A golden puff pastry wraps the creamy spanikopita, and we soon agreed that we should have ordered two plates. The bruschette ($3) was surprisingly pleasing, considering the out-of-season tomatoes, and the ham and Gruyere crepes ($3) were interesting and matched well with our vino. Speaking of which, that's the only real bummer about the happy hour here (besides the involuntary solitude): The wines are supremely subpar for a place that calls itself a wine bar. Still, for two generous portions of food and a couple glasses of wine, you can easily get in and out for under twenty bucks.
Overall Grade: B