I should probably just be up front about this: I had never tried sake until now. It’s not because I haven’t had the opportunity. I enjoy sushi as much as the next guy or gal and have found myself at a variety of Denver’s raw-fish joints. But I’m a textbook beer lover. So on a recent late-night happy hour trip, I decided to make the jump and try the traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage. Sushi Sasa turned out to be the perfect place to do it.

My friend and I—another first-time sake sipper—showed up a little after 10:30 p.m. to catch the late-night happy hour. The downstairs lounge was just closing, so we opted for a seat at the sushi bar in the rear of the restaurant. A few people were still scattered around the dining room, which looks like someone used a protractor to arrange. Still, being late on a Tuesday, the place was fairly quiet.

As we surveyed the drink menu, we quickly realized we couldn’t pronounce 90 percent of the sake list and didn’t know what to order. Thankfully, our waiter came to the rescue. After listening to his sake spiel—he explained flavors and the varying quality of the beverages—we split a small bottle of Hakushika’s Junmai Ginjo, the waiter’s recommendation—not too sweet, not too dry, and very smooth. The best part? The $20 bottle was $10. As our waiter put it, “anything with booze in it” is half off during Sushi Sasa’s happy hour.

Late-night happy hour runs Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 p.m. to midnight. The happy-hour special applies to the entire drink list—which, in addition to sake, includes domestic and Japanese beer, wine, and cocktails. The dinner menu is also available late-night, but everything remains full price.

2401 15th St., 303-433-7272