You can sink a cheap drink at just about every watering hole in Denver, a city that's indisputably obsessed with the ritual of happy hour. The bar at Interstate Kitchen & Bar features a late-night happy hour, wherein a cooler of cold beers in cans -- barkeep's choice -- are a mere $9; the duo of daily happy hours at Virgilio's results in 20 percent off every bottle of premium and reserve wines, plus twenty-ounce sangrias for just $5; "Study Hall" at Euclid Hall pimps $3 draft beers, wines and well drinks from 3 to 6 p.m. daily. And all of those deals are damn good.
See also: - Ryan Leinonen on "Mr. Wizard," Velveeta, pig's nipples and the raw vegan - Best Late-Night Happy Hour - 2013 Interstate Kitchen & Bar - Best Late-Afternoon Happy Hour - 2013 Virgilio's Pizzeria & Wine Bar
But earlier this week, I encountered the new happy hour parade at Trillium, Ryan Leinonen's Scandinavian-inspired restaurant, bar and lounge in Ballpark, and it's a happy hour that's incredibly difficult to beat: twenty-ounce select draft beers are $4; six different well spirit-based cocktails also ring in at $4 each; and wine specials -- really good wines -- are $6 per pour.
But while the liquid assets are a killer bargain, it's Leinonen's smorgasbord of happy hour eats that really pulled me in. He's featuring ten dishes, all priced at $4, and they're the absolutely antithesis of your pedestrian grub. Here, the kitchen pumps out dishes that equate to a terrific dinner: headcheese, for crying out loud, paired with a smear of house mustard and pickled vegetables; Vermont maple syrup-smoked whitefish plated with a mound of carrot and turnip "kraut"; Akvavit cured Scottish salmon with a blot of chopped egg salad and crème fraîche; and tater tots dusted with truffle salt and paired with a rich hollandaise sauce saluted with lemon. The servings are generous, and most are easily shared, plus you can enjoy them in the lounge, a separate dining area bedecked with custom-made log tables, plenty of culinary reading materials, including cookbooks, and classy black sofas strewn with pillows.
You and a friend can easily share dinner for under $30, which is unheard of. Sure, the cocktails will pad the bill, but even with few of those added on, it's still a cheap date. And that's just the beginning of Trillium's happy hour assets: There are daily specials, as well, including a platter of three artisan cheeses, accoutrements and two sommelier wine pairings for $17, a deal that's offered every Wednesday.
Trillium's happy hour runs Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. If you need further tempting, take a look through our photo gallery showcasing what to eat and drink. Be happy.
Continue reading for more photos.
Continue reading for more photos.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.