When I walked into the Uptown location of Tastes Wine Bar recently to meet a friend, the head bartender was conducting a drink-mixing class for the newbies. “Who in here has had an Old Fashioned?” she asked. My hand shot up. “Is there licorice in a Sazerac?” a student asked. “Yes!” I called from the corner.

It turns out Tastes was refining its drink menu, and, lucky for me, all of the drinks they mentioned (and most other top-shelf cocktails) are marked down to $5 during happy hour, which runs from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

As I looked over the other specials, I was similarly impressed: Glasses of wine under $10 are just $5, and glasses over $10 are half-price. Even better, their tasty tapas are marked down to $3, and they’re not stingy with the offerings. Be sure to try the meatballs with cherry, and I’m always a sucker for the cheese plate.

Bonus: At both Tastes locations (1033 E. 17th St. and 4267 Tennyson), the atmosphere is friendly to those who like to sit inside—my friend enjoys holding meetings there because of the free WiFi—as well as those who prefer outside, where people-watchers like me can enjoy the Uptown scene from the spacious patio on 17th.

With your budgets in mind, Cheap Thrills is taking to Denver’s streets to find good happy hours. The goal is to not break the booze bank, as well as piece together a not-too-shabby meal. Send nominations to jennie@5280.com.