What: Cocktail hour specials at DU’s newest neighborhood retreat
Where: 1115 E Evans
When: These specials are offered 3-6pm, Monday-Friday
Pros: The ambiance is more elevated than your typical local haunt, but it’s still casual enough for patrons to feel comfortable settling into a booth with a laptop (yes, there’s wifi) for an afternoon break. Specials include $5 charcuterie boards with house-cured meats and $1 off perfectly balanced cocktails. $1 off beers and $2 off wine by the glass is also offered.
Cons: These specialty cocktails are still a bit pricy, even with the happy hour discount. Just remember, these are anything but your typical vodka soda or Jack and Coke, and they are certainly worth the extra few bucks.
A new addition to the DU neighborhood, Atticus is offering up creative American cuisine with a focus on using local ingredients. This restaurant and bar is the first venture to open from Table to Tavern, a new restaurant group that is a collaboration between the people behind Atticus’ next door neighbor Boone’s Tavern as well as HandleBar Tavern along with Paradigm Restaurants (owners of Table 6).
Table to Tavern has big plans for 2014, with a handful of new dining options slated to open throughout the year. But as its first, Atticus is finding its footing as a more polished neighborhood tavern that still emphasizes comfort and hospitality.
Head to the bar for a full dose of the welcoming atmosphere during cocktail hour. If you’re lucky enough to catch Atticus’ cocktail menu co-creator Anthony Giovanni, you’ll get a dose of fun mixology knowledge along with your drinks. Giovanni, along with Williams and Graham’s Sean Kenyon, designed Atticus’ current cocktail selection as an introductory lesson for patrons, helping them to get to know what an elevated cocktail can really be. The plans are for an ever-evolving cocktail selection that will get increasingly adventurous.
The choices start with the classics. Most, as Giovanni says, are “all killer no filler,” especially the Vieux Carre that I sampled. This cognac and Bulleit Rye-based drink which originated in the French Quarter of New Orleans in the 1930’s is ideal for slow sipping. For something on the opposite side of the spectrum, try the Razzle Dazzle. This pink-hued, foamy libation of local Spring 44 vodka, ginger liquor, fresh lemon, raspberries and an egg white is light and airy with a hint of sweetness.
One of the trendiest spirits in cocktails right now is Mezcal, although many drinks overuse this smoky liquor. The flavor can be overbearing when haphazardly added, but Atticus’ El Guapo balances it just right with the addition of port, Benedictine (an herbal liquor), lemon, orgeat (a French almond syrup) and angostura bitters. The result is a drink that tastes simultaneously sweet, smoky and smooth with none of the flavors overpowering the others.
As winter stubbornly hangs on, Atticus also has two cocktails that are great for those “why is it not spring yet?” days. Though more suited for fall, the Gin Smuggler is easy-drinking mix of Spring 44 gin, lemon, spiced honey syrup, angostura bitters and apple cider that tastes basically like all your happy autumn thoughts in a cup. For a quick warm up, go for the Double Diamond Toddy whith incorporates black tea into the mix for a light, unique twist on the toddy.
Happy hour eats here are limited, but with a charcuterie board that stars house-cured meats, local cheeses and Grateful Bread breads among other goodies for $5 and $4 mussels available, you certainly won’t go hungry (or broke).
For a happy hour that is comfortably classy, Atticus has got the right recipe. And after studying the chalk-board filled with breakfast, lunch and dinner options, my time at the bar has me ready for a return trip here for a full meal soon.
All photos by Camille Breslin