Happy Hour review: Reduced-price cocktails the chief sell at Curio

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From the March 13, 2014 edition

There are cocktails, and then there are Curio cocktails. I am a little late to the Curio/Harvest Pizza bandwagon, but I have officially jumped on. After my brother’s girlfriend told me I would “like, totally get Curio,” I was hesitant to play into whatever pigeonhole she had categorized me under, but I couldn’t ignore the rave reviews. It pains me to say it, but I guess she was right, because I “totally get Curio,” and now I’m totally into it.

Drink specials: 4 of 5

Full disclosure: Curio doesn’t actually have a happy hour. From 5-7 p.m. on weekdays they offer a reduced price on classic cocktails, but you’re still looking at $6-$10 for a drink. That being said, the cocktails are so delicious the extra cash is worth it. I opted for the “Last Word,” which consists mainly of gin and green Chartreuse. An expertly made cocktail was neatly garnished and presented to me in gorgeous glassware. It tasted even better than it looked. It was definitely bitter, but not overpowering. The “Last Word” was just as satisfying as actually getting in the last word in an argument.

Atmosphere: 4 of 5

When I arrived about an hour after opening, the bar stools were almost filled up. Business professionals sat sipping drinks and chatting quietly, giving the place a feeling of life without a feeling of chaos. The bartender greeted me warmly, and chatted with me for several minutes to help make a drink choice. I went outside to enjoy the small patio and the sunshine. For being situated right on Livingston and Fourth St., the patio is actually quiet and serene. Even with traffic whizzing by at the end of rush hour, I felt totally at ease.

Overall: 4.5 of 5

The star here isn’t the “great deals,” it’s the unparalleled experience. If you have the cash and want the quality, there really isn’t a better place to go. Somewhere between the expertly made cocktails, knowledgeable staff and warm ambience, a winner of a bar was created. Not one person in the place was looking at their phone or slamming their drink. They were there to converse, relax and enjoy something made right. I know where I’m spending my tax refund.