Shame & Regret (Colorado Springs, CO)

As I mentioned in a few reviews, Colorado Springs has been a semi-frequent work travel destination for me for a few years now. Originally, I’d always stay at The Antlers, which is a fine hotel, but starting in 2019 Hilton opened up a new Hilton Garden Inn on North Cascade a few blocks north of there. And, I’ll admit it, in the case of hotels, loyalty programs seem to work well for me, so most of my trips now have me staying there. In 2019, I was taking a shortcut out of the hotel to E Bijou Street, and found myself instead in a small alley off Bijou, staring at a bright neon sign for the recently-opened Shame & Regret Cocktail bar, and felt compelled to check it out (heck, it’s one of the best cocktail bar names I’ve ever seen).

Since it’s a bit of scope creep, I don’t normally review cocktail bars here on Offbeat Eats, although Shame & Regret is one of a handful of cocktail bars that actually make me rethink that policy at times, or at least start a similar cocktail blog. While not really a speakeasy (while in a nondescript alley, the gigantic neon sign is a bit of a giveaway, unlike the nearby The Archives, which is actually pretty low-key), but otherwise, it has the same vibe as several of my favorite speakeasies back home in NH like CodeX: a nice wood-paneled and leather-upholstered cocktail bar, with lots of glasswork, railing, and other decor reminiscent of the roaring 20s. The main attraction here is definitely the craft cocktails; while you can get a flight of whiskey shots or just about any standard cocktail from the bars, Shame & Regret maintains a rotating list of well-composed custom craft cocktails. As a sample, on one recent trip I got the “Gin & Sin”, with green tea-infused gin, roasted pistachio syrup, lemon, and floral bitters. This turned out to be quite the interesting blend of botanical, tea, and nut flavors, and quite delicious.

On another trip, it was “It’s Complicated”, with Family Jones Gin (a local distiller), Lillet Blanc, Dry Curacao, Fresh Lemon Juice, Absinthe Rinse, and finally, float of Fernet Branca. This wasn’t a cocktail for those not wanting bold flavors: both the absinthe and the Fernet add extreme herbal and bitter notes, but the combination ends up being really flavorful if you love bitter tastes (like I do).

But until my last trip, I had never actually gotten food at Shame & Regret, usually since there are a good half dozen excellent full-fledged restaurants within a short walk of Shame & Regret (most of which I’ve reviewed here). And the menu at Shame & Regret is a bit limited, mostly focusing on lighter bar fare: pretzel rods, meatballs, and charcuterie plates dominating the offerings. However, on several visits I had noticed another item that was popular with my fellow diners: the deep-fried Chicken Cordon Bleu: Gouda, gorgonzola, and cheddar-cheese, wrapped with prosciutto and chicken, deep-fried, and drizzled with both Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar. And you know what? This was good. Really good. Perfectly cooked inside, with the meats fully cooked and warmed, the cheese softly melted, and the coating nicely crisped. And it was rather nicely plated, with some crisp sprouts, spinach, and a few gherkins. To me, this was the perfect item for the light dinner I was seeking.

Finally, the other thing I’ve enjoyed about Shame & Regret is that they’ve got solid bartending staff. The staff know their standard cocktails, house cocktails, and whiskey selection inside and out, and are also more than willing to make custom cocktails for you as well. They are also quite outgoing and talkative; a good number of the recommendations I’ve had for some of my other favorite spots in Colorado Springs, like The Carter Payne came in part from recommendations from bartenders Matt and Emily at Shame & Regret, who loved to talk about their favorite spots around town.

Overall, it’s a great little spot, and one I expect to continue frequenting when I’m in town.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply