There’s a certain feeling I get from swirling around a good red wine in a fish-bowl-size wine glass in a nice venue where the lighting is just so and the waitstaff is practiced in treating you like gold.

The problem with my income bracket is that I can’t afford to regularly patronize the city’s most acclaimed restaurants for dinner. Thankfully, many of them provide loopholes for us penny pinchers: happy-hour menus.

Bistro One, just blocks from my house and stationed in between some of my favorite dive bars and antique shops, is the perfect level of fancy for my wine-swirling daydreams.

The staff here has always given me the impression that they’re thrilled to be serving top-level food and drink. Likewise, the bartenders are genuinely happy to make a cocktail and talk about the food. And the decor helps keep the atmosphere laid-back, trading crisp white tablecloths for an uncovered wooden bar and tables.

The bar area is separate enough from the restaurant that you feel comfortable ordering here even if you’re not waiting for a table. If you’re a vodka-martini fan, be sure to try the Dirty Blue Martini, featuring blue-cheese-stuffed olives (which are house-smoked).

Happy hour runs 4 to 7 p.m. daily. Specialty cocktails are half-price, glasses of house red and white wine are $4, rail drinks are $4, and select draft beers run $2.50-$3.50. Food ranges from $2 (for pickled veggies, olives, and fried almonds) to $5 (for the decadent ham-and-cheese sandwich).

1294 S Broadway, 720-974-0602