The Hours: Happy Hour is offered daily from 3 until 7 p.m.
The Interior: Along with sister restaurant Cuttlefish, Notorious Burgers is a recent addition to the Scottsdale dining scene, having been open only four months. There seems to be a partially hashed-out speakeasy vibe, thus the Notorious in the name, but overall, the dark wood bar, booths, and tables just seem standard. Instead, the bar area, which has a reddish glow due to underlighting emanating from the bar, feels more like a sports bar with a bootlegging veneer. There's nothing really wrong with the ambiance at Notorious, it just feels inauthentic.
The Food: Here's where things get interesting at Notorious. Rather than slapping discounts on menu items (as most places do for happy hour), Notorious offers a completely unique menu to happy hour. To top it off, each item comes with a suggested discounted shot pairing. Sure, it's weird, but it is a refreshing change from the happy hour norm. Starting with a combo of beer-battered cheese curds and a Jameson pickleback for a total of $10, we were reasonably pleased with both the squeaky fried cheese curds, the three dipping sauces, and the accompanying shot.
The B.I.G. sliders ($8), modeled after the on-menu burger of the same name and paired with a Maker's Mark cocktail for $4 more, had a fantastically sharp and tangy cave-aged cheddar, and the bun was soft and lightly sweet. However, the menu promised applewood-smoked bacon on the sliders, but ours arrived without it. Never promise bacon that you can't deliver. In a final attempt to get a bacon fix, we tried the Tijuana dog, essentially a $7 Sonoran dog with fried jalapeños and chipotle mayo. The bacon-cradled but not -wrapped dog was a gut bomb, especially when paired with the $3 shot of Patron.
The Drink: If you didn't opt for the shot/mini-cocktail pairings with your food, you could go for $2 off well cocktails, including Evan Williams and Sauza or $2 off specific glasses of wine. You also can go for $3 off drafts, which included great Belgian, local, and national craft brews and even a nitro tap. $3 off drafts put your beer anywhere from $2 to $7 per pint, depending on which beer you choose. Not a great deal for some, but an all-right deal for others -- mostly the local stuff.
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The Conclusion: Though not all the deals during Notorious' happy hour were good, we dig the unique concept of suggestion shot/cocktail pairings on the happy hour menu is unique. If you're going to go to Notorious for anything, let it be the fried cheese curds and Jameson pickleback, which suited our more low-brow Midwestern sensibilities just fine. Otherwise, we really weren't blown away by the deals, food and drink offerings, or ambiance at Notorious. Not bad, but not exceptional.