The Strand Urban Italian in Downtown Phoenix: Happy Hour Report Card
Despite the addition of amaretto, we couldn't really detect the "Italian" part of this "Italian margarita."
The Spot: The Strand Urban Italian
CityScape, 2 East Jefferson Street
The Hours: Happy hour at The Strand runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but is not valid during "major events" around CityScape (like baseball games)
Perfect for: Mid-range Italian conveniently located in Cityscape, with options for beer and wine.
The Interior: Inside, The Strand is nicely decorated, with red, white, and black accents. We especially enjoyed the spaghetti-looking lighting apparatuses that dangle from the ceiling. The bar is wide, with comfortable, plush bar stools.
"Spaghetti" lighting dangles from the ceiling.
Facebook/The Strand Urban Italian
The Food: One major drawback to The Strand's happy hour is the lack of a displayed menu. Instead, we had to depend on our server to let us know what was included and what wasn't. From what we gathered, every food item is around $2 off. Food-wise, all starters are discounted, including appetizers such as bruschetta and calamari.
The herby broth these mussels and clams bathed in was irresistible, but we could take or leave the actual seafood.
The mussels and clams ($8.50) come bathed in a white-wine broth, with a pleasing herb (primarily parsley) and lemon flavor. But not all of the mussels tasted quite right — overall, the quality wasn't very good, and the toast that came with the dish was crumbly, which is not optimal for dipping in broth.
The Drink: Again, The Strand's drinks deals were unclear. With some research, we found draft beer, house wine, and frozen margaritas run about $4. All of the spot's draft beers are brewed in Arizona, so they rotate, and several of the red and white wines hail from Italy.
We were intrigued by the thought of an "Italian frozen margarita," which is made with tequila, amaretto, citrus-infused sour mix, and a lime wedge. But the drink didn't live up to its description. We didn't detect any sort of Italian twist in the vaguely tequila-tasting thick slushy.
Conclusion: We have to take some serious points off for lack of happy-hour documentation (aka a menu) and weird hours — it seems counterintuitive to halt happy hour during major events nearby including baseball and basketball games. Proximity to Talking Stick Arena and Chase Field is the major draw of The Strand, but without a good happy-hour deal, we're not really tempted to return.
Don't Miss: Ogling The Strand's spaghetti lighting fixtures.
Skip This: The questionable mussels.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Phoenix dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.