Back Door at Roxy's
Description: A much glitzier annex to the humble front diner, Fremont's Back Door at Roxy's is a dark and airy space that imparts a lovely old-theater-hall feeling (low-hanging chandeliers, heavy red stage curtains). Scott Bradley, an esteemed set designer, painted the huge murals that are everywhere, depicting giant hovering faces and crowds ambling through a haze. In a couple of delightful portraits, the women are smeary, bald, looking for action.
Worth noting: Bradley fell from a ladder as he painted, wrecking his clavicle for a while. On the wall, he left a nice spattering of blood. It was messy and colorful, and it brought something to the work. The bartender said the plan was to just keep it up there. (Don't bother looking for it: Someone scrubbed it off already, which is more than disappointing.)
Happy hours: Wed–Sun 5–6 pm and 11 pm–close.
Happy-hour drink specials: $1 off wells, beer (Stella, Tecate), and wine (2004 Distant Bay Merlot); $2 off cocktails (such as the $8 Death in the Afternoon, a mix of champagne and absinthe—Ernest Hemingway famously recommended one should "drink three to five of these slowly").
Happy-hour food specials: None, because the regular menu is already perfectly affordable ($2.95 blackened broccoli and garlic; $4.50 Reuben pie, made of pastrami, sauerkraut, potatoes, and Swiss cheese).