Sometimes I decide to head into a specific neighborhood for an evening or two to check it out in detail. This weekend, it was Cherry Creek. Sadly, the nightlife aspect of the district seems to be sadly lacking in late-night options. It’s great for dinner and happy hour, but I’d swear that everyone went home on Saturday night by 10 p.m.

I actually had a great evening on Friday over at Mel’s. The food is great — especially the mussels, which every other person at the bar recommended to me — and the piano bar atmosphere makes for a great spot to wind down after a hectic week. The drinks are surprisingly affordable, too. My house sauvignon blanc was only $4.50 a glass and was quite decent. I stayed a couple of hours and left early, while the dinner-and-drinks crowd was still thick, about 10 p.m. or so to head to a private party at Tryst downtown.

Saturday, I headed back to Cherry Creek to scope out the scene at a few other spots. I stopped by the Cherry Creek Grille to find it practically deserted at 9:30 p.m. when we arrived. After one drink I called it dead and headed over to Brix. Brix had a pretty good crowd, but the music drove me insane. We’re talking train wreck after train wreck. Van Halen was followed by Sade (ouch!) and then America’s uber-cheesy “Magic” came on, followed by a long, loud classical piece, then Bob Marley singing “Stir it Up.” I love my Marley here and there, but can you blame me for grabbing the bill and splitting as soon as I finished my (very tasty, actually) poached-egg-and-spinach salad? Seems many of the other guests had the same idea; several groups came and went after only a single cocktail, and one trio came in, sat down, and moved on without staying at all. Smart.

Afterward, we wandered around a bit looking for a place that was a) open, and b) happening. No can do in Cherry Creek, apparently. Every spot we peeked into was dead or dying by 11:30 p.m. when we finally gave up and left the area.

I guess I learned my lesson. I’ll go to Cherry Creek to shop, or for dinner, or even happy hour, but that’s the first and last time I’ll try to make a night of it.