Twenty-Something for Twenty-Somethings: Keeping It Cheap at Adrift

Step back in time into the retro dining room at Adrift.EXPAND
Step back in time into the retro dining room at Adrift.
Kelsey Colt
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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 (Less than $30 per person). And you don't need to be under thirty to take these recommendations; just be ready for a great eating adventure.

Push your way through a thick black curtain to suddenly find yourself in a warm, tropical place — a place where the walls are bamboo and the drinks are decorated with flowers and fruit on the rims. This Polynesian-themed restaurant on South Broadway is just the spot to escape the city in favor of something a little more laid-back.

Whether you choose a seat at the tiki bar, a table in the thick of the action, or a cushy booth, you can take in the views of the cozy restaurant and its island theme. The decoration is gloriously tacky in just the right way to help you forget the cold Denver winter you just left behind. Adrift isn't a pretentious hot spot or chef-driven eatery for a life-changing meal; it's just designed for a good time, a unique meal and a strong drink — all for a good price, if you know how to navigate the menu.

Your wallet won't suffer with the $8 Suffering Bastard.EXPAND
Your wallet won't suffer with the $8 Suffering Bastard.
Kelsey Colt

As you read through the cocktail menu, drinks like the Hurricane and the Pain Killer will take you back to memories of the beach on spring break. Start your evening off right with a Suffering Bastard. Unlike what the name suggests, you won't suffer through this drink — or its price, which falls on the low end of the cocktail list. In the bright light that hits the center of the table in the otherwise dimly lit room, the lime in the bamboo-shaped ceramic cocktail vessel glows on the drink's surface. The gin and ginger beer dance on your tastebuds with each sip, and the lime cuts through the gin-and-brandy mix.

As you let yourself slip further and further away from your daily life, start thinking about where you want your food to take you. Order the butternut-squash miso soup to start. The thick, smooth soup will warm your body and satisfy your hunger with a surprising amount of zucchini and mushroom packed into the little bowl.

For an entree, the Hawaiian mix plate with Kona kalua pork is both affordable and decadent. This beautiful platter is an elaborate barbecue plate, served in a bamboo steamer with rice, macaroni salad, fruit, and the crowd-favorite King’s Hawaiian roll. The melt-in-your-mouth pork and all the sides are typical of diners in Hawaii that cater more to locals than tourists.

Adrift's hearty winter soup still tastes tropical.EXPAND
Adrift's hearty winter soup still tastes tropical.
Kelsey Colt

At Adrift, you can pretend you're relaxing poolside or in a Polynesian hut near the beach. Short of a cheap flight to someplace tropical, this is as close as you might get to a real vacation; while you're here you'll forget that busy South Broadway is just outside. But since Adrift is in the heart of the neighborhood nightlife, you can continue the fun once you're ready to head back out into reality.

The damage is $29. Here’s how it breaks down:

Suffering Bastard: $8
Miso Butternut Soup: $7
Hawaiian Mix Plate: $14

Kalua pork, rice, macaroni salad and grilled veggies are a filling way to keep it cheap at Adrift.EXPAND
Kalua pork, rice, macaroni salad and grilled veggies are a filling way to keep it cheap at Adrift.
Kelsey Colt

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