With a beverage program as strong as the Squeaky Bean 's, I've planned many a late-afternoon drink at the LoDo restaurant—only to remember that the doors don't open until 5:30 p.m. Not anymore. Starting earlier this month, the Bean launched cocktail hour from 4 to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
Go, and sit at the bar, in the lounge, or on the sunny patio. Order $5 ladles of punch (my pick), $6 select cocktails and glasses of house red and white wine, and $3 Bull & Bush  All-Good Amber Ale. No matter what you drink, order the Spreads & Shmears (pictured). The selection rotates daily but plan on focaccia, crostini, or pappadam (or all of the above) and chef Max Mackissock's spreads. On the afternoon I visited, that included potted pimento cheese with bacon jam, deviled egg salad with shallot, cornichon, and fines herbs, and knockout tuna with pine nuts and green garlic. The playful presentation—aka mismatched mini glass jars—gets to heart of the Bean, which is all about kicking back and having fun.
Also: In light of James Gandolfini 's untimely death, the Bean has added a "Shrine Cocktail" to its regular menu. The Gandolfini—Buffalo Trace  bourbon, Strega , and Averna  over hand-carved ice and a twist—will be available until another icon takes its place.
1500 Wynkoop St., 303-623-2665