There's no need to shed your Champagne tastes just because you're on a beer budget. Instead, check out how these local restaurants make dining out affordable.
Head to Solera (5410 E. Colfax Ave., 303-388-8429) on Tuesday nights for all-you-can-eat Prince Edward Island mussels and crusty bread for $17. Or, if you're closer to downtown, grab a table at Bistro Vendôme (1420 Larimer St., 303-825-3232) Sunday through Thursday, and hit up the $9 moules and frites special (normally, the mussels are $10 and the fries go for $4).
Don't miss Caveau Wine Bar's (450 E. 17th Ave., Suite 110) happy hour each day from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. That's when glasses of wine normally priced $12 and under go for $5, and glasses $13 and more are half-off.
A three-course dinner for $33 per person? Yes please! That's what you'll find at Mel's Bar and Grill (5970 S. Holly St., Greenwood Village, 303-777-8223). Even better, check out the Greenwood Village restaurant's $6 lunches (that's about $2 less than lunch at the nearby Panera or Heidi's), which include dishes such as grilled salmon with mashed potatoes, spinach, and lemon beurre blanc.
Drop by Panzano's lounge (909 17th St., 303-296-3525) from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and find $3 draft beer, $4 wines by the glass, and $5 specialty cocktails—plus, $3 and $4 eats. We're not talking about a bowl of nuts here: Instead, munch on dishes such as grilled Coleman Ranch skirt steak with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, arugula, Gorgonzola, and basil pesto ($4), or Hazel Dell mushroom-stuffed crêpes with fonduta sauce and white truffle oil ($3).
Every third Tuesday of the month, Luca D'Italia (711 Grant St., 303-832-6600) offers a small-plate dinner with paired Italian wines for $40 per person. That means you can get in on the action this month on June 16—just make your reservations now.
At Parisi (4401 Tennyson St., 303-561-0234) dinner for four is more affordable than ever with the restaurant's recession take-out menu. Plan on spending $25 for a protein, pasta, and baguette for four servings, or $15 for two servings. All orders must be placed Monday through Thursday before 6 p.m., and must be picked up between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Stop by Bisque (224 Union Blvd., Lakewood, 303-985-4151) Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings for a $20 three-course dinner with two half-glass wine pairings.
On Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to close, stop by Rioja's bar (1431 Larimer St., 303-820-2282) for Sip and Snacks: four tastes of wine paired with four snacks for $15. The theme changes weekly.
Pop by Jax Fish House (1539 17th St., 303-292-5767) from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and a buck buys you a fresh-shucked East Coast oyster. Add a can of PBR, and you're only out $3—and well on your way to a good night.
On Sundays, Black Cat (1964 13th St., Boulder, 303-444-5500) serves its Dirt Dinners with multiple tastings of an ingredient grown on chef-owner Eric Skokan's Black Cat Farm. The meal is $38 per person, or dine as a duo and receive a complimentary bottle of wine.