Each week we venture to a new restaurant to check out what the spot has to offer during our favorite time of day — happy hour. Whether it's affordable appetizers, delicious drinks, jaw-dropping deals, or none of the above, we'll check out the situation and report back.
The Spot: Christopher’s Restaurant and Crush Lounge
2502 East Camelback Road
The Hours: Happy hour is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. every day in Crush Lounge or at the bar in the main restaurant.
Perfect For: A post-shopping respite. You know, like when you’ve been Biltmore-ing alllll day and your Jimmy Choo’s are starting to pinch and you’d kill for a decent cheese board and glass of rosé.
The Interior: The main restaurant at Christopher’s has a European bistro vibe, with clean lines, loads of natural light and a bar that doubles as a kitchen so you can watch your lunch being made while you drink. But if you veer left at the host stand, you’ll find yourself in Crush Lounge, which is like the restaurant’s saucy little sister who wears lots of eyeliner and gets into all kinds of trouble. Dark, curvy couches wind around tiny tables and velvet poufs – are they seats? Tables? Foot rests? They’re whatever you want them to be.
The Food: During happy hour, the bar and lounge offer a bourgeoisie menu at peasant prices. Ranging from $4 to $15, the selection includes four types of pizza, two salads, a soup, a cheese plate (Chef’s choice), a burger and fries. Sounds basic enough, but you’re at Christopher’s, where the pizza is bacon and taleggio, and the fries are called pommes frites, merci very much.
Our cheese plate ($9) came with four cheeses, brandied cherries, and honeycomb. We also picked a goat cheese and garlic pizza ($7), because if you’re going to get cheese you might as well get it all. Both orders were heavenly.
The Drinks: We’re suckers for a wine list that is fancy-pants enough for your wine snob friends (hint: if you don’t know who yours is, it might be you), but approachable enough that it won’t scare off the nervous novice in your group. Christopher’s wine director, Paola Embry, has created just such a list, and this feels like the perfect place to try something new. More importantly, during happy hour, all beers, wines by the glass, and well drinks are half off. Yes, you read that correctly. We ordered the “bone dry rosé” from Tuscany (just $5 at happy hour) and it was kiss-your-fingers-fantastic.
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Conclusion: There is a reason chef Christopher Gross gets to put his name above the door. His food never misses the mark and the restaurant offers a friendly, consistent, personal experience to every guest. With happy hour, he also wisely brings fine dining to the masses and reminds even the faint of wallet what good food should taste like.
Don’t Miss: The chance to let your server show off. These guys (and girls) know their stuff, but they refuse to be in-your-face about it. Don’t be shy.
Skip This: Sitting outside. The patio furniture could use a face lift and the people watching is better in the lounge.