The Spot: Thai Elephant, 815 W University Dr, Tempe, (480) 966-3489 http://thaielephant.qwestoffice.net/
The Hours: Thai Elephant offers Happy Hour every day of the week between 5 and 7 pm. Alas, they no longer offer reverse happy hour. (The website was incorrect when we checked it.)
The Details: Domestic beer for $2, imports for $3, wine by the glass for $5, and their entire menu of specialty cocktails (not just the short list) for between 4 and 5 bucks. Also, about nine appetizers are available at a discounted price ($3-5) to keep your hunger at bay.
(the happy hour break down after the jump)
The Interior: Thai Elephant boasts a sleek but comfortable happy hour destination with lots of dark wood and bamboo accents. It is much more of a restaurant-style, sit down affair than bar happy hours generally are. So if you're looking to mix and mingle, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a laid back atmosphere to enjoy some Thai food and fancy cocktails, then this is your place.
The Cost: One Mekong (Thai whiskey) and cola, one imported beer, and two appetizers came to $16 before tax and tip.
The Conclusion: Thai Elephant is a welcome departure from the standard fried and true bar food that characterizes most happy hours. For five bucks or less can score you corn cakes, spring rolls, or a variety of tempura battered meat and veggies. Every appetizer on the happy hour menu is done well!
The satay chicken came with four skewers of juicy roasted chicken accompanied by a slightly spicy peanut sauce and a vinegar-based cucumber mix, definitely a decent amount of food for the price point. The corn cakes were a bit dry, but redeemed by a lovely sweet and salty dipping sauce. The tempura vegetables were a mountainous pile of zucchini, onions, carrots, and asparagus that is perfect for sharing.
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The cocktails are a very strong pour as well, with the Ginger Binger and Mekong and Cola delivering a surprising kick. The ginger flavor in the Ginger Binger was sinus clearing, but in a good way, and the Mekong was a whiskey kick to the shorts.
If you're looking to spice up the happy hour rotation (quite literally with some of their offerings!), Thai Elephant provides an affordable and delicious alternative.
Overall Grade: A-