By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
111 East Camelback Road
It's all so "big city": A Happy Hour spent in the heart of town, bellied up to an outdoor bar we love like few others, with one of Phoenix's busiest streets right at our back and a gorgeous eatery beckoning to us from just beyond the bartender's shoulder. That's part of the appeal of St. Francis' happy Happy Hour ambiance, where "bar snacks" typically mean spoiling your dinner, because the portions are so huge and so tasty, you may not make it to a table on the other side of the bar. Don't, for example, be fooled by the menu's flat bread, which is actually a delicious pizza big enough for two. Paired with a Happy Hour carafe of wine for a whopping 10 bucks (or a $5 cocktail made from top-shelf liquor) and a basket of house-made vinegar chips, we're on our way to forgetting every transgression of the day.
4 until 6 p.m. every day. $10 carafe of wine, $5 cocktails, $3 draft beer. Bar snacks and appetizer menu with items under $10.
800 East Camelback Road
We're obsessed with Lola and not just because their white sangria (served with a cinnamon stick) can be had for next to nothing ($5 per glass! $20 for a pitcher!) during this tapas joint's Happy Hour. It's because of the endless loop of salsa music that's always playing here. And did we mention the big plate of cookies that's proudly displayed at the end of the bar? We always wait until after we've had a handful of Lola's tasty house-marinated olives and tortilla de Patatas before indulging in a cookie — washed down, of course, with more of that amazing white sangria. Olé!
5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.$20 sangria pitchers.
Maizie's Café and Bistro
4750 North Central Avenue
With close-together tables, a big chalkboard and a little bustle, this cozy neighborhood bistro feels like a place you'd find in a much bigger city — particularly when you look at it with your wine goggles on. We make a beeline for the red sangria and usually follow up with a wine selection from the bartender, who knocks two bucks off any by-the-glass vino during Happy Hour. It's a win-win (or is that wine-wine?) for everyone.
3 to 6 p.m. every day. $3 beer and well drinks. $2 off any by-the-glass wine. $5 appetizer plates.
Technology has improved nearly every aspect of our life and now, at long last, it's been applied to mankind's greatest venture: the search for cheap drinks. Village Voice Media Holdings LLC, the parent company of this paper, and GoTime.com have partnered to bring you Happy Hours, the premier smart-phone application for finding drink specials wherever you are and whenever you're looking.
Your phone tells the app where you are, you specify any happy hour needs you might have, and voilá, you've got a detailed list of every happy hour around, including what's being offered and when the specials expire. The list is sorted by distance from your current location, and you can turn your phone sideways for a Google map of the nearest picks. Can't decide which one to try? Give the phone a good shake and the app will randomly select a happy hour for you.
Almost 20,000 happy hours in more than 30 cities are covered. The data comes from GoTime's extensive database, business owners and users, creating the most comprehensive and up-to-date listings possible. It's like having a native guide to the best spots in town, wherever you go. And in the 14 cities with Village Voice Media papers, it's not like having a native guide, it is having a native guide: recommendations from our editorial staff, the people who live and breathe the city's nightlife, are integrated into the app.
Native apps are available for iPhone, Droid, and BlackBerry users, but you can still get in on the fun even if you don't have a smart phone. Just point your phone's web browser to www.gotime.com and you can get the same info (albeit without the slick functionality offered by the apps). And no matter what platform you use, it's all free — so you can save your money for that last half-price mojito or two-for-one beer special of the night. -- Cory Casciato
1602 East Roosevelt Street
Tradiciones' Happy Hour gets straight to the point: half-price appetizers and an always-changing list of drink specials that keep us going back for more. We've been known to indulge in one or two Organic Garden Margaritas, because they do with carrots, cucumbers, jicama, and tomatoes something that no other cocktail has ever done. If we're really trying to be authentic, we go for an on-tap Dos Equis to wash down the appetizer-size Nachos Tradiciones, or a queso fundido, a blend of cheeses warmed up and served with flour tortillas.
3 to 6 p.m. every day. Half-price appetizers and an ever-changing list of drink specials.
Corbin's Bar & Grill
8729 North Central Avenue
Corbin's, the bright yellow box at the northern end of lush, leafy Central Avenue, feels open and sunny despite its austere interior. (A second Corbin's location is at 19420 North 59th Avenue in Glendale.) More retiree hangout than hipster lounge, this place isn't everyone's taste. Hard to be unhappy, though, with offerings like potato skins with cheddar cheese and pulled pork, three kinds of tacos, and beef tenderloin sliders. Bacon-wrapped scallops are fancy and spendy for bar food, but house potato chips with feta and hot sauce are a perfect complement to a 23-ounce draft. The gracious waiter at a bar down the street couldn't recommend Corbin's "kick-ass" cocktails highly enough, and at $3.75 a pop for well drinks, you'll see why.
3 to 7 p.m. weekdays. $5-$9 appetizers, $2.75 domestic bottles or 12-ounce drafts, $6 martinis, $3.75 well drinks.
Bomberos Café & Wine Bar
8801 North Central Avenue, Suite 104
Famosa is a smooth Guatemalan lager with a rooster on the label. It's hard to find, so delight ensued when it showed up on Bomberos Café & Wine Bar's menu. But then it disappeared. "We try to switch it up. Try Quilmes!" insisted a charmingly cheeky waiter. And so "Argentina's Favorite Beer" replaced Famosa and everyone lived happily ever after. Which you could easily do if you never had to leave Bomberos, a tiny South American-themed restaurant in the former Sunnyslope Fire Station complex. Those gigantic fire station window/doors still open onto the street from the dining room. And out back there's a big, dog-friendly patio. There are no happy hour food specials, per se. But Bomberos' menu — bruschetta, panini, artisan cheese plates, a specialty meat plate (chimichurri!), olives — is made for sharing. At $7 to $16, split two or three ways, those are Happy Hour prices.
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. Half-off glasses of wine and champagne, $4 imported beers.
EAST PHOENIX/PARADISE VALLEY
T. Cook's at the Royal Palms
5200 East Camelback Road
We'd be lying if we said we go to T. Cook's at the Royal Palms just to listen to pianist Dwight Brewer tinkle the ivories during Happy Hour and —because we have a very hard time leaving after just one drink — straight on into the dinner hour. We love Dwight's jazzy way with a tune, but we also love the warm ambiance of this elegant bar, located in the lobby of one of the best restaurants in town. And even if all these cozy, warm rooms with their hand-painted walls and Mediterranean vibe weren't our favorite places to hang after a night of theater or on our way to supper, we'd be there anyway because the T. Cook's Happy Hour features an ever-changing list of $5 drink specials and because we can order any appetizer off the dinner menu (we always make a beeline for the lobster and fennel bisque) for exactly half its normal price during those hours, besides. What's not to love?
5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. An ever-changing menu of $5 drink specials and half-off all appetizers.