There are a lot of great happy hour specials in town, like the free popcorn at the Cork and Snort, or the two-for-one Manischewitz Mondays at Morrie's Hooch-House in Tempe. But we have to admit, Eddie Matney's takes the concept to a whole different level, which may be why it's so difficult to squeeze into the bar/lounge area of the popular eatery at the intersection of 24th Street and Camelback.

First off, Eddie's is home of the "nonstop happy hour," so happy hour prices prevail as long as you're in the bar. And as far as drinks go, featured wines, cosmos, lemon drop martinis and appletinis are just $4, with all well drinks $3. But what Eddie's is known for are its appetizers, often inspired by the Lebanese heritage of Matney himself, and as part of this reverse happy hour, these tantalizing delicacies are offered at reduced prices. Imbibers get to choose from eats such as Matney's mouth-watering sumac grilled lamb chops with mint hummus, his spicy "mo'rockin shrimp" with honey dough balls, the superb Lebanese chicken quesadilla with harissa sauce, or a to-die-for plate of seafood won tons filled with creamy mascarpone served over a raspberry jalapeo dip.

We could go on and on, but when it comes to Matney's marvelous morsels, we'd rather eat than talk. So we'll see you at Eddie's, if we're able to squeeze in.

If you've got spurs that jingle-jangle-jingle, or just a tape of Tex Ritter singing the same, then at some point you should give yourself a treat and ride that horseless carriage of yours up to Tortilla Flat, way up in the Superstition Mountains, where the Superstition Saloon serves Bullrider Burgers, Killer Chili and bread bowls filled with beans, cheese and salsa. Eating at the bar means sitting on a stool outfitted with a saddle, drinking your Amber Bock draft in a Mason jar, and checking out the thousands of autographed dollar bills, pound notes and francs that paper the establishment, left behind by the 300,000-plus visitors per year. Tortilla Flat is an actual town with six residents and a post office, and it sits on the site of a former stagecoach stop on the historic Apache Trail.

In addition to the saloon, there's a gift shop and a general store that sells homemade ice cream and fudge. But after that dusty, winding trek from Phoenix on Highway 60, past Apache Junction, up State Route 88 with gleaming Canyon Lake and sheer cliffs of red rock for scenery, nothing will taste as good on the back of your throat as that draft brew in a jar. Yippie yi-yay, indeed.

Jackie Mercandetti Photo
Dining at a restaurant table by yourself is a foolish exercise; eating at the bar is cool, and nowhere is it cooler than at Tarbell's. With a long, graceful curve, the bar is staffed by a friendly crew that appear to have no life of their own. The same folks are always on hand offering seemingly effortless service. The menu is both reliable and first-rate, and if you are there for more than 20 minutes, you will meet the owner.

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