Under the Influence

A secret happy hour weapon

As I toiled away in my office Friday, Denver's temperature outside reached the mid-70s. I sent mass texts to friends, "I need to be on a patio with a beer in my hand NOW."

While watching the minutes tick, a plan emerged: The second I was done working, we would haul ass to the newest beer garden to celebrate the glorious afternoon.

Of course, we weren't the only ones with that plan. There was no parking to be found and nowhere to sit. The establishment was also unprepared as it had only four people on staff to wait on hundreds of thirsty patrons.

Liz Marsh
Liz Marsh

This is when we realized happy hour in Denver has become a full-contact sport. There are more people in Colorado now than ever, and we all like to be outside. The first warm day of the year saw every patio in town packed to the gills.

But we had a secret weapon: My one-year-old niece. Babies and bars may seem like unusual bedfellows, but when used properly, babies can maximize your happy-hour game. Here are some useful tips:

• When racing other people to get the only available table, use your baby and baby carrier as a javelin. Even if the other people beat you to the table, they won't be able to say no to the adorable and confused face looking up at them. Bonus round: If you have to belly-up to the bar to order a drink, the baby carrier can also be used as battering ram.


• Encourage the toddler to say "hi" to the group of hipsters at the next table. Their fragile egos will compete for baby's notoriously fickle attention, freeing you to focus on your gin and tonic. Bonus round: Baby is entertained and you don't have to listen to 20-somethings discuss Bernie's foreign policy. It's win-win.

• Need to clear the table next to you? Is your food taking too long? Want your check in a hurry? The most effective tool your toddler has is a scream. Simply stop entertaining the kid for approximately 30 seconds and let her piercing shriek do the work. Bonus round: If your happy hour companions are total duds, you can use your child's meltdown as an excuse to go home and watch Netflix.

I don't always go to bars with babies, but when I do, I use them to my full advantage.

Read more Liz Marsh: coloradodaily.com/columnists.