Yesterday evening was rainy and a bit chilly, just the sort of evening that called for either hunkering down at home or going out someplace warm and welcoming. My husband, Ral, and I increasingly enjoy early-evening happy hours take a light bite out of the budget and don’t leave us overstuffed. We hadn’t happy houred for a while, so that’s what we decided to do.
When it comes to being warm and welcoming, Alba Restaurant & Wine Bar fills the bill on all counts. The restaurant is tasteful and pretty, inspired by the owners’ frequent travels to Tuscany. A divider separates the bar from the dining room. Even when almost all tables are filled, there’s a pleasant buzz rather than a din, and that scores big points. I feel compelled to point out that while Alba is a warm, welcoming cocoon in winter, its spacious patio is one of Boulder’s best spots once outdoor dining season is back.
But back to what we wanted on a chilly December evening: Pleasing ambiance? Check. Good food? Check. Very afforadable happy hour pricing? Available Friday evening? Check. One thing I also really like about Alba is that owners Rick and Susan Stein are almost always there, which means they are paying attention. It might also be the reason that the waitstaff asks over and over how we were liking everything. One wine, one beer, one salad, one order of arancini and one pizza to share and we were asked six times how the food tasted. Overkill of concern.Basta!
I ordered a glass of Canaletto Montepulciano d’Abruozzo 2007 from the town of Montepulciano in southern Tuscany and my husband had a bottle of Moretti La Rossa, a big-foam, dark Italian beer (bottle shown below with bread). The “wine bar” part of the name means that even a happy hour-priced wine is good.
Price check: At happy hour (nightly except Sunday until 6:30 p.m.), beer, $3; wines and apperitivi, $4; mixed drinks, $5; small bites, $4; pizza, $9.