Copper Blues: Happy Hour Report Card
These Oven Baked Pretzel Sticks with Cheddar Beer Sauce were easily the richest hot pretzels we've found, but it was still a surprise to find them in the $6 column.
The Hours: 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday
The Details: Eleven appetizer selections are divided into three categories ranging from $4-6. At the low end are choices like the Copper Blues Wings tossed in Honey Hot Sauce, while the high end sports the Fried Shrimp with Sweet and Spicy Sauce (plus three small pizzas). House wines are only $2, while Call Cocktails, Crafted Rocktails, and Crafted Rocktinis are down to $5, $6, and $7, respectively. But let's face it, you're here for the beer. Located upstairs at Cityscape next to the Stand Up Live comedy club, this bar is known for two things: live music and more than 60 beers on tap. At happy hour, domestic and local pints are only $3, while craft pints are $4. You can check out the extensive beer menu online (it's a pretty hefty thing). It's the beer shots, though, that will steal your affection (and very little from your wallet): Get a decent-sized tasting portion of just about any beer on the menu for only $1 (those rich, premium brews with 8%-plus alcohol content go for $2).
The French Onion Dip with House Made Chips ($4) went fast.
The Interior: On an early Thursday evening, the square outside Copper Blues is filled with the lively movement ("like they do in South Beach," sings Gloria Estefan) of what appears to be either an outdoor Zumba class or a little-practiced flash mob. Inside, trendy accountants and up-and-coming political stars are crowding around high-top tables; when the lights are lowered at around 6:38 p.m., the place twinkles with the soft blue glow of smart-phones. There's a cool breeze sweeping in through the open double doors (beyond which visiting comedians like Tracy Morgan have been known to hang out and greet guests before the show), and the large, floor-to-ceiling windows provide an expansive view of the setting sun beyond Gold's Gym.
We wouldn't go back for the Roasted Garlic Hummus with Flatbread ($4).
You can peek through the windows into the Copper Blues interior space, where the night's band is setting up behind the second bar. The servers are casually but sleekly dressed in jeans and black vests; the men we see wear shirts beneath these vests, while the women don't (so the clothing consultant is probably the same 13-year-old boy who un-costumes the stars of Game of Thrones).
We will definitely be coming back for the Pub Chips with melted blue cheese and hot sauce ($5).
The Cost: Three appetizers, two pints, and three beer shots will cost you around $22, before tax and tip.
Three of the happy-hour beer shots ($1 each); why don't more pubs do this?
The Conclusion: We like it when a downtown happy-hour spot surprises us with at least one weekend day, but it's hard to complain with hours that extend all the way to 7 p.m. on any weekday. The beer shots are a definite hit; with such a long beer list, you'll want to take advantage of the chance to sample favorites new and old. While the appetizer choices are extensive, they are essentially once-removed from ballgame concessions: chips, bread, pretzels, cheese, chips, cheese. One slight deviation from this trend - the Roasted Garlic Hummus with Flatbread, $4 - was universally rejected by everyone at our table as having an odd, un-hummus-like consistency.
That said, they do the up-market cousins of your typical bar food very well, like the Pub Chips (house chips with melted blue cheese and hot sauce, $5), which were so mouth-wateringly good that we quickly ordered a second helping. Funny thing about the chips here, though; just like the vats of tortilla chips tossed daily in salt at Chipotle and Qdoba, here they appear to dust their chips in sugar. At least, that's how they taste - and we're not complaining.
Overall Grade: A
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