Best Place to Drink Pabst Blue Ribbon 2010 | Old Skool 50 Cent PBR Night | Bars & Clubs | Phoenix
Best place to drink PBR that isn't behind the trash bin in an alley? Yes, it's true, we've got a different fave spot for sucking some PBR down — the Old Skool 50 Cent PBR Night at The Rogue Bar. This dive bar (turned hipster dance club turned rock venue) still knows how to treat its guests to a night of cheap consumption of booze. And, after reading this little blurb, you can impress fellow patrons with your knowledge of its origins: They call it "Blue Ribbon" because, according to its makers, the brew was named America's Best at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. And if the local ruffians aren't impressed by your useless knowledge, make amends by buying a round — it's not gonna break you.
Every day before 5 p.m., you can sample any wine on the list at Postino for just $5 a glass. And though we know plenty of establishments that offer similar weekday deals on house wines, Postino's offer really is the best for two reasons. One, the offer also is good on weekends, when the patio is a great spot for lunch, a mid-afternoon nosh, or early happy hour. Two, this wine list is incredibly well curated; there's not a dog on it. We've discovered many a new favorite simply by trusting our waiter. (Unlike at lesser places, Postino makes the waiters try everything on the list, so you really can trust their judgment.) And there's another great option for people who hate day drinking: On Mondays and Tuesdays after 8 p.m., you can get a bottle of any wine on the list, plus a giant board of Postino's signature bruschetta, for just $20.
Happy hour is happy hour is happy hour, right? At Fez, it's a celebration that takes place seven days a week, 4 to 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight. Its principal features are pretty standard: two-for-one well, draft, and bottled beer and signature margaritas, $3 house wine, and $6 small plates. Not so ordinary are Fez's insanely tasty daily food specials, served at the bar and yanked right from the daily menu, so we can have all our favorites for less than half-price as we savor our post-work cocktails. On the second and fourth Sundays of every month, happy hour gets transformed into a "Fez Foodies" party — with tasting plates and boutique drink specials — from 5 'til 8 p.m. Happy hour here also lets us try new Fez foods (which is how we discovered how much we love their garlic and rosemary fries). Who's not happy?
Orange trees and Japanese flower stands hugged a quiet two-lane road in the early years of South Phoenix. On that same road today, in a still-quiet lot across from a lone gas station, Amano Pizza Bistro is working to make some noise. Eric and Katy Bower opened their neighborhood bistro as a place where locals and foodies can chat over a glass or two of wine in the shadow of South Mountain. But enough relaxing: It's happy hour. Tuesday nights are half-off bottles of wine, Thursday nights are ladies nights (girls get $3 glasses of reds and whites), and on Sundays, kids eat free. If the Bowers keep it up, that lot may not be so quiet much longer.
A friend of ours is in love, and it's not with a girl or even with his cat. No, this guy is besotted with District, the swanky restaurant bar at the downtown Sheraton. He loves the long, curvy bar where he can cozy up to a tart Sage Julep (Maker's Mark and lemon juice with limes and tiny sage leaves), a house specialty and one of a long list of muddled drinks on the drink menu. Pretty much everything on the bar's food menu (we love the house-baked bread served with olive oil from Queen Creek) is locally grown — another reason to love District. But what our pal loves most is that all this stuff — the bread, the hooch, the tasty bar plates — is marked way down, twice a day: once in the late afternoon and again during reverse happy hour at night. In other words, our friend's true love is a cheap date.
We're prone to weeping because happy hour at Tuscan Oven doesn't take place 24 hours a day. True, it keeps us occupied and blissful Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., with $4 domestic and imported beers and all signature drinks and wines by the glass priced at $3 off. But why can't it just go on and on? Why must we wait 'til late afternoon for specials like fried green beans or calamari, both available for a wee fee of $5 from the bar's small-plate menu? Why can't the mixologists come home with us to blend Pama pomegranate liqueur and Bacardi with fresh lime, club soda, and raw sugar, so that we don't have to go to them for a happy hour special called a Pamajito, which has changed both our tiny lives and our idea of what makes a great happy hour?
What's a pub with no grub? Or a brewery with no . . . foodery? You know what we're getting at. The best part of happy hour is twofold: drinks and apps — and San Tan has 'em both. The place brews its own stuff; we're talking $3.75 for pints of pilsner, hefeweizen, IPA, stouts, and ale that'll wash down the $5 Buffalo wings, chips and dip, platter of sliders, and cilantro lime hummus. It may be one of the strongest pulses in the Southeast Valley, so check it out any day of the week from 3 to 7 p.m.
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Happy hours should be crowded, loud, and a bit obnoxious. Your server should give you something to look at besides the rounds she's hoisting. The food should be delicious and, maybe, a little bad for you. Happy hour is where we gather to say, "Yeah, I sat and drilled away for The Man all day, too. But I could stick it to him if I wanted." As proof, we sit and drink pint after pint and eat our nachos when it's not even dark outside! What better place to participate in the renewal than Tempe landmark Four Peaks? The pints are handcrafted (as are the pizzas, with dough made fresh daily using Four Peak's ales). Kiltlifter is so frickin' good that it's sold at Trader Joe's, for Chrissakes. So what if there are no food specials during happy hour (from 2 until 6 and again from 10 until close)? Everything on the menu is reasonably priced and easy to share. People drive to this historic 1892 brick from all over for the artichoke dip. Most important, pints are $3, pitchers are $11. Happy, happy.
House of Tricks isn't perched on a hill or tucked up against a mountain. It's pretty much what it sounds like — an old house in downtown Tempe, rehabbed before rehabbing old houses was the thing to do in these parts, and it's so damn charming that we'll take the view of twinkly lit trees and a roaring outdoor fireplace over red rocks any day. We are also partial to Tricks' bag when it comes to cocktails, served by the aforementioned fireplace on a pretty deck. Belly up to the funky tiled bar and choose a local beer or an artisan cocktail. After a couple drinks, you'll swear you're in a big city — in a good way.
John Kunst knows a thing or two about stability. As owner and silver-fox sage of The Recovery Room for 26 years, Kunst has kept his neighborhood bar daytime-dependable for those seeking serenity before the sun goes down. A dark, cozy interior, blue-hued pool tables, and the ear of a friendly barkeep set the scene for patrons who can order their afternoon brew alongside a 99-cent lunch of a hamburger, two beef tacos, or chicken sandwich (all with a side of chips) every day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or with free bowls full of Kunst's homemade chili, served up on Sundays.

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