By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Rúla Búla Irish Pub & Restaurant
401 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
True to its name (roughly translated from Gaelic, the pub's name means "uproar and commotion"), Rúla Búla gets crowded, so Happy Hour is a perfect time to squeeze in for a pint. Located in a historic building on the northern end of Mill, this pub is a charming chestnut, all antique wood, retro Guinness signs (check out the tile work at the front doors), and bright paint. Squint inside and you're across the pond in Limerick. Or belly up to the full bar outside and you're . . . shaded by the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, to be honest. Either way, fresh Guinness flows from the taps. Appetizers are astonishingly cheap. The fried fish nuggets — a smaller order of Rúla Búla's award-winning fish and chips — are a must-try. And you better order the chicken wings with Guinness barbecue sauce, too.
2 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 2 p.m. until closing Sunday. Half-price appetizers; $1 off well drinks and 20-ounce drafts; $3 16-ounce drafts.
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
San Tan Brewing Company
8 South San Marcos Plaza, Chandler
Any true desert has a few good watering holes. These places are often kept secret (you know how it goes), rarely disclosed to newcomers, and typically frequented by the in crowd. So maybe you don't know about San Tan Brewing Company. You should. Televisions showing various sports games decorate the red brick interior, servers bounce from table to table with pitchers and pints, and the place brews its own. This place has the expected Buffalo wings, chips and dip, and platter of sliders, but they also throw in a healthy dose of cilantro lime hummus and fried onion rings and zucchini. (Hey, they're veggies!)
3 to 7 p.m. weekdays; Reverse Happy Hour 9 p.m. to closing Sunday through Thursday. $4 house wine, $3.75 18-ounce pints, $5 appetizers, $1 off everything behind the bar.
4991 South Alma School Road, Suite 101
The Promenade at Fulton Ranch, Mesa
It might be easy to lose your friends, or yourself, in the enclaves of this restaurant, which are sectioned off by intricate chain-link curtains and high-rise booths. But the bar can be found easily if you listen for the often-used martini shaker. The overall modern, Las Vegas-y interior complements the fancier champagne cocktails (check out the Modern Classic with blood orange bitters) and appetizers like jalapeño-crusted ahi tuna. Cork is a wonderful hideaway on a weekday afternoon, where it's perfectly normal to sip hibiscus margaritas and chat up the sociable bartender. He jokes about being a wine angel in the large walk-in cellar, and truth is, he might actually let you watch him climb the sliding ladder if you stick around long enough.
4 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. $4 champagne cocktails, martinis, margaritas and house wines, $5 bottomless bowl of olives, special happy hour appetizer menu.
The Living Room
2475 West Queen Creek Road, Chandler
Don't bring the office drama home — just take it to The Living Room, a casual wine bar complete with lounge sofas, board games, and a wraparound bar. On cooler days, The Living Room staff opens the glass garage-door style doors to the large curtained patio — hope you weren't trying to hide from your boss by sitting outside. Keep it simple with a bruschetta/wine combo or mix it up with a specialty cocktail, like a Root Beer martini. While the Happy Hour menu doesn't include food, most of the appetizers, salads and bruschetta are under $10.
11 a.m. to 6 p.m, daily. $5 wines, $3 well drinks, $2.50 drafts, $5 specialty martinis.
Caffe Boa Bistro
2837 North Power Road #102, Mesa
Sometimes it's hard to beat the original, but Jay and Christine Wisniewski are giving it a shot. They opened Caffe Boa on Mill Avenue in Tempe (398 South Mill Avenue, 480-968-9112) in Tempe 18 years ago. In January, they opened Boa Bistro in Mesa. The new location has a different atmosphere from that of its big sister — no bar-crawl avenue, flood of college students, or Tempe Town Lake aroma. What it does have is a rotating all-star staff, including executive chef Payton Curry. For Happy Hour, Curry & Co. toss up local ingredients from local farms (McClendon and Seacat) and offer half-price mussels, flatbreads, and fresh-pulled mozzarella.
3 to 6 p.m. every day. Half-price bar bites menu; half-price wines, $2/$3 domestic/import brews, half-price bar bites menu, $3 off New World cocktails, $3 off well drinks.
8280 West Union Hills Drive, Glendale
The regular dinner menu crafted by executive chef Charles Wade Schwerd (formerly of Mastro's and Drinkwater's City Hall) tops out at around $50, so get charred meat on the cheap during the late-night Happy Hour at Arrowhead Grill. The filet slider (a two-ounce steak medallion, red onions, and a savory dipping sauce) are the choice of the many Phoenix Coyotes fans hitting up the place for a post-game nosh. Too dainty? Pig out on pig wings (made from juicy pork shanks and paired with a piquant mixture of spicy ranch on the side) or enjoy a bacon-wrapped filet and baked potato on special for $19.99. A discounted AG martini or glass of pinot noir would go well with either.
9 to 10 p.m. weekdays. Half-price bar menu,free mixed nuts, half-price select house winesand mixed drinks.