The unmarked entrance to There... leads to a fun stop for twenty-somethings.EXPAND
The unmarked entrance to There... leads to a fun stop for twenty-somethings.
Danielle Lirette

Twenty-Something for Twenty-Somethings: Creative Dining for the Budget-Minded

With so many great restaurants to choose from, cash-strapped Denver newcomers — challenged with rising rents and skinny paychecks — are finding it hard to have a fun night out without blowing the bank. Twenty- Something for Twenty-somethings will help you find hot destinations where you can enjoy cutting-edge cuisine in a stylish setting — all within a  twenty-something budget ($29 or less per person). And you don't need to be under thirty to take these recommendations; just be ready for a great eating adventure.

For our inaugural twenty-something meal, we're exploring There..., the bar and kitchen with the quirky name at 3250 Navajo Street in LoHi. Walk through the doors of this unlabeled restaurant and you'll immediately see the grand bar at the center of the space. This isn't any normal bar: If you look closely, you'll notice a backdrop of a theater stage with globe lights and red velvet curtains. This setup hints at the production ahead; There... is not a subtle place.

There... is not just a place for good cuisine, but a setting for an entire night's experience. As soon as you're seated, you will immediately be pumped for information — preferences, drinks and food orders — by one of the enthusiastic staff members, who might be dressed in something funny (like a bunny onesie) and who will describe the menu with a contagious energy. If the dedication of the staff isn’t apparent in their first interaction with you, the bar's hours say it all: serving food seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

As you take in the room, a typical view may include a customer wearing a giraffe head while the opener of The Lion King blasts loudly from the speakers. Or, someone might be bouncing around to Justin Timberlake's infamous Dick-in-a-Box video, complete with a gift box as prop. There... is meant to create a fun atmosphere for everyone: Come for a first date, with a bachelorette party, or even with a twenty-something.

Ask for your shaken grapefruit cocktail as an "Italian soda" to get a $3 discount.EXPAND
Ask for your shaken grapefruit cocktail as an "Italian soda" to get a $3 discount.
John Tagle

To start your evening, try the grapefruit cocktail from the Shaken menu, served in a martini glass and topped with lime zest. With the first taste, you'll experience citrus tartness that finishes with a hint of alcohol hitting the back of your throat. While sipping this delectable drink, explore the mix-and-match menu, designed with an option for every type of eater.

The small-but-flavorful starters roster includes three options: a kobe tartare tostada, a crispy chicken lettuce wrap or a prawn skewer. The kobe tostada has a heavy mustard flavor because of the dollop on top, but the meatiness comes through as it would on a great hamburger — only raw. The crispy chicken has a good crunch and finishes with freshness from the lettuce. The shrimp is grilled and served with a sauce that tastes like pimento cheese but is actually Peruvian yellow chile (aji amarilllo) paste mixed with cream cheese.

The kobe tartare tostada is small but packed with meaty flavor.EXPAND
The kobe tartare tostada is small but packed with meaty flavor.
John Tagle

For your main dish, pick There...’s classic grilled kobe beef shareable plate and split it with a friend. Between the crisp greens and the soft beef drizzled in truffle vinaigrette, you'll fall in love — with the food as well as with your final bill.

The damage is just $27. Here's how it breaks down:

Shaken Grapefruit: $8. The shaken drinks are priced at $11 on the menu, but ask "what's the Italian food tonight?" — a code phrase that will land you a $3 discount.

Pick one of three:
Kobe tartar tostada: $4
Crispy chicken lettuce wrap: $4
Prawn skewer: $9. This one will put you over the $29 limit, but there are plenty of cheap drink deals to bring the price back down. Three-buck cans of Utica Club pilsner are cheap, trashy and trendy.

Share an entree:
Kobe beef plate: $30 ($15 each for two people)

And coming soon, the fun won't be limited to nighttime hours. The restaurant is adding a new brunch starting this Sunday, January 8, so expect the same style of menu with something for everyone (only with more breakfasty options) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The kobe beef entree is a good size for two or more people to share.EXPAND
The kobe beef entree is a good size for two or more people to share.
John Tagle

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