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Canteen Modern Tequila Bar: Happy Hour Report Card

The spread at Canteen Modern Tequila Bar's happy hour.
The spread at Canteen Modern Tequila Bar's happy hour.
Erica O'Neil

The Spot: Canteen Modern Tequila Bar, 640 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, 480-773-7135 http://www.canteentequilabar.com

The Hours: Chase some tacos with tequila during "Halfy Hour" between 4 and 6:30 pm every day of the week.

The Details: The aptly named Halfy Hour includes half-priced house margaritas, beer, and well drinks, and half off their ridiculously huge selection of tequila. Several menu items are also half-priced, including all of their street tacos trios.

(the happy hour break down after the jump)

The Interior: Canteen most definitely deserves the Modern in its name, with its metropolitan design and luxe atmosphere. Two spacious patios border the establishment's bars, with one facing Mill and the other on the backside of the joint. It's still a bit chilly out for happy hour though, and seating in the bar is a welcome addition, along with skinny tables accommodating up to four of you and your work buddies. The indoor/outdoor bar is also a site to see, with well over 100 types of various blanco, reposado, and anejo tequilas on display (with a bit of mescal added in for good measure).

The Cost: Two taco platters, a beer and a couple margaritas came to about 18 bucks before tax and tip.

The Conclusion: Canteen's "Halfy Hour" is a welcome addition to the Mill Avenue happy hour circuit. It won't leave you feeling seedy and well past your prime like some of the more sophomoric college bars, and offers a level of sophistication that translates well to (those occasionally awkward) work happy hours, celebrating special occasions, or just the fact that it's Friday. Generous food and drink offerings present plenty of options for even the pickiest of barflies, and allow you to indulge without too much regret.

The house margaritas ($3.25 after the discount) were surprisingly strong for the usual happy hour fare, and had a pleasant tartness that indicated real citrus, not some sweet and sour facsimile of a margarita. The specialty tequilas (ranging from $3.5 to upwards of $30, after the discount) are so varied that they might make a convert of even the staunchest "But I hate tequila" patron.

The pibil pork taco trio ($4.50 after discount) and fish tacos ($5 after discount) were both generous with the meat. The pork was pleasantly smoky with a zesty (but not overly hot) mango habanero salsa, while the fish were accompanied by the fairly standard (but well executed) slaw 'n' sauce toppings. The chips ($2.50) were also freshly fried and perfect for munching with their fresh salsa. For the spice-loving aficionados out there, they also offer a ghost chili salsa that will have you hurting (in a good way). And we even got a free refill on the crispy chips. Solid.

Overall Grade: A


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