What: The Kitchen Denver
Where: 1530 16th Street, Denver, CO 80202
When: Happy Hour is everyday from 3:00 to 6:00 pm
Don’t Miss: Try the Cocktail Du Jour or the Aperol Spritzer, both $5. Your tastebuds will thank you for ordering the Peach & Burrata Bruschetta ($8) and the Rustic Pork Terrine ($7).
Many of us know the Kitchen from the popular Boulder location on Pearl Street, but I have to admit I had not visited their new Denver digs since they opened in March 2012. I’ve been meaning to stop by, intrigued by the beautiful space and the alluring patio. But for some reason it just hadn’t happened. After my visit for happy hour, I realized that I have definitely been missing out.
The Kitchen Denver is a large restaurant and happy hour is available everywhere. I suggest finding a seat on the patio. Diners can choose outdoor seating with views of the bustling 16th street mall, or they can opt for the quieter patio off Wazee. I’m always looking for great happy hour patios, and the Kitchen certainly fits the bill in lower downtown. With happy hour running from 3:00 to 6:00 pm everyday, there is plenty of time for urban Denverites to grab a table after work.
The Kitchen’s happy hour drinks will please most palettes. Each day there is a cocktail du jour picked by the bartender for its seasonal qualities. On my visit it was a peach margarita. But my favorite cocktail was the Aperol Spritzer ($5), made with Aperol, Prosecco, and soda. A brilliant orange in color, this classic Italian cocktail has a nice bitterness that balances out the sweetness of Prosecco. If Aperol is not your cup of tea, try the Kate Collins ($5). A play on a Tom Collins, the Kate Collins (named for the Kitchen’s General Manager) mixes Tanqueray Gin, lemon, and soda. Don’t come to the Kitchen expecting fancy, complex drinks. But if you are looking for classic, simple, and easy-drinking cocktails, I think your thirst will be quenched. Happy hour also offers a house red and a house white made by the Folk Machine label exclusively for the Kitchen ($5 each). Unfortunately for beer drinkers, the happy hour beers are appealing, but not offered on draught. While I enjoy drinking Avery’s India Pale Ale and Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils (both $4), I’d much prefer if they were on tap.
After choosing between cocktails and wine, happy hour goers can peruse the long Community Hour menu. Happy hour is supposed to be about good value for quality, and the Kitchen definitely offers this. However, at first glance it’s difficult to tell whether the Community Hour menu prices are discounted or not. The menu offers a seafood platter, items from the seafood bar, and larger lunch plates at the same prices as their normal lunch and dinner menus. But don’t worry, dear reader, there are deals to be had. The “Nibbles” section of the menu offers discounts on the Kitchen’s normal dinner appetizers. Lucky for us, there are some delicious options. My favorite was the Peach & Burrata Bruschetta ($8). Served on Udi’s pan al lino bread, the burrata melts in your mouth and balances perfectly with the peaches, basil, lemon, and olive oil on top. Peaches will still be in season for the next few weeks so head over to the Kitchen for happy hour before this menu item changes. Another delicious treat was the Rustic Pork Terrine ($7). Made with Colorado pork shoulder, chicken liver, and wrapped in bacon, this pork terrine is a rich and decadent appetizer that will translate well into fall. The other item I wouldn’t be able to resist on a repeat visit is the Goat Gouda Gougère ($4). These light are fluffy little balls are filled with chives and gouda before fried. You won’t be disappointed!
Overall, the Kitchen Denver puts out delicious happy hour food at decent price points. It’s a solid choice for after work gatherings, especially because with happy hour throughout the restaurant and on their large patio outside, you will definitely be able to snag a seat. If you are looking for classic bistro fare in an inviting atmosphere downtown, happy hour at the Kitchen Denver is your spot.