Don’t let Michael Cerretani’s relaxed demeanor and warm smile fool you: the guy is a killer craftsman, as adept with a cocktail shaker as a carpenter with a jigsaw. Tell him your mood, and he’ll fix you up with the perfect spirit, a birdhouse for your fluttering soul.

The Bitter Bar is the re-incarnation of Happy Noodle House, now given over entirely to its erstwhile evening identity as a nouveau speakeasy featuring award-winning cocktails and a trendy scene that tips occasionally too far to the fashionista set.¬†On a recent Thursday evening, the bar was empty moments after opening, but quickly filled to capacity. Michael came over to welcome us, unfazed by the demands of running Boulder’s newest and hottest bar. He attentively asked us about our tastes and steered us toward a trio of his designer cocktails. With names like Re-Tox, The Gunner’s Daughter, and The French Connection, we expected drinks with both brazenness and class, and we weren’t disappointed. Whiskey, tequila, gin and rum provide the bases for inventive complements such as apple cider and elderflower cordial. They were unusual and unusually satisfying tastes.

The price points here may cause some sticker shock, but one is enough for most evenings. For later nights and larger parties, flasks of custom concoctions serve 4-6, and go down smoother than an arc sanded bannister.

Although I do miss the inventive pickle samplers from Happy, the expanded Bitter Bar provides more than enough new tastes, in a surprisingly relaxed, confidently designed space.