Best Happy Hour, Downtown Phoenix 2011 | The Main Ingredient | Ale House & Café | Arts & Entertainment
Evie Carpenter
We would have preferred to keep this Coronado secret to ourselves, but it's time to let the cat out of the bag. The Main Ingredient's patio is the best place to kick back and relax after a long day of doing, well, anything, really. There are no food specials and no gimmicks — just a shady patio full of friendly souls chillin' out listening to the sweet sounds of classic '90s hip-hop while enjoying a cheap drink or two. The beer selection is limited to just eight tap handles but offers a rotating selection of refreshing local favorites and rarely seen national craft brews — and they taste even better when they are only $2.50 a pint. Classy crafted cocktails are half-price, and glasses of wine are just $4.
Jackie Mercandetti
Garden dining is hard to come by in the desert. That's why The House at Secret Garden is a hidden delight. We like to hit up The House's happy hour to experience the tall shade trees, whimsical gardens, and historic Spanish-style mission at a fraction of the price. Snag a Bakon Maria (a bloody Mary made with bacon-flavored vodka) or a Cactus Fig Margarita at $2. Then order a platter of golden polenta fries, sweet potato planks, or pulled-pork sliders on the cheap. Snack and sip away your work worries in the shadow of South Mountain.
CityNorth has been one of Phoenix's more controversial projects in recent years, with lots of financially strapped folks wondering why taxpayers were stuck with an "incentive" package to prospective tenants of about $100 million. Politics and big-money deals aside, we just love this open-air bar/restaurant right off the 101, especially between 3 and 7 p.m., when happy hour rules. Almost everything on the menu is half-price, and the food is awfully good and plentiful — the lamb chops, the hummus plate, the cheese board, and so on. The munchies are presented beautifully, and the servers who do the presenting aren't half bad, either. The happy hour crowd is distinctly different from the meat-market bunch that seems to dominate on the weekends and later on most evenings. The demographic is somewhat older, less (visibly) tattooed, and not nearly as rowdy. You can't beat the value at this uptown establishment, and that's why we find ourselves returning there again and again.
At Tim Finnegan's, happy hour is every day of the week, so even weekend warriors can nosh and get sloshed on the cheap. Premium wells for a mere three bucks, as well as half-price appetizers? We're sold. Especially when those half-price apps exemplify Old World Ireland transplanted smack-dab into the middle of the Southwest, like the corned beef and cabbage taquitos. It's an Irish classic with an identity crisis and it's served with both salsa verde and spicy mustard, further confusing its origins. We also recommend the half-price braised short rib sliders with onion strings, and a side of curry fries. Finally, you have a reason to visit Metrocenter.
If you happen to be in the East Valley between the hours of 4:30 and 6 on a Tuesday through Friday, consider yourself lucky. Cork's magnificent (and cheap!) happy hour is within reach. If you find it hard to choose among $3 champagne cocktails — like the Bellini and the Kir Royal — we suggest you get there early. And that's not all. Cork also offers a selection of $4 cocktails, like a viciously smooth Manhattan and several martinis. House wines are $4 per glass, and the food selection is excellent, with $5 starters, $8 entrées, such as the duck confit sandwich and wild boar meatloaf, and dessert for only $3. Don't be surprised to find yourself with a full-price tab at the end of your sitting — after trying just one sizable, strong, and scrumptious cocktail, you'll be clamoring for a sip of them all and starving to boot.
Mill Ave isn't usually our first pick for an after-work hang, but we can easily be swayed in that direction when tempted by Robbie Fox's killer happy hour specials. The hoppin' Irish pub serves up its entire menu of mouthwatering appetizers for half price from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Enjoy a heaping plate of Robbie's nachos, a plate of golden fried chicken strips and fries, or a trio of juicy corned beef sliders on rye with tangy pickled cabbage and Robbie Fox's signature sauce for a measly $4. The real deal: $3 Jameson shots. That's right, just three of your hard-earned dollars will get you a heavy-handed pour of smooth Irish whiskey. Three-dollar wine and well, plus $1 off a nice selection of draft beer, sweetens the bargain.
Courtesy of Roaring Fork
This $5 Scottsdale happy hour spot can be summed up in three words: frozen huckleberry margarita. But we'll go ahead and offer a few more highlights to the discounted delectable goodness that's been taking place for years in the cozy, classy digs of this Old Town dining establishment. Happy hour at RF doesn't mean limiting options and lowering standards on exceptional food and drink — it just means killer prices. And we're not just talking nachos, pal. How about a "Big Ass" Burger or a lamb chop fondue pot to go along with that huckleberry marg? Now that's what we call happy.
At the corner of Dobson and Ray roads, you'll see a neon sign that lures barflies like a moth to flame: "sushi and cocktails." You can trust that sign, because Hon Machi is one mom-and-pop sushi shop that will make good on those neon promises. During happy hour, you can stuff yourself to the gills with raw fish, thanks to half-priced sushi rolls and appetizers. Try the Hon Machi chips, topped with tuna, or the crispy salmon skin roll. And no sushi happy hour would be complete without a sake bomber on the side — just five bucks during happy hour. Domo arigato, Hon Machi!
Jacob Tyler Dunn
Ah, the first date. A mixture of hope, fear, and possibility all rolled into one, and if you're going to take a leap into the unknown, the best place to do it is Cibo. The warm, intimate atmosphere, combined with a stellar peach Bellini, will push awkwardness to the wayside. Set in a historic, restored 1913 bungalow, you and (maybe he or she will be) yours can dine under the care of a friendly staff while appreciating the brick fireplace, quaint patio, and hardwood floors. We recommend snagging an outdoor table among the trees to appreciate the twinkling lights while you swap anecdotes over a locally brewed beer or one of the many Italian wines available. Even if your date turns out to be a dud, Cibo will leave you waxing poetic and pining for your next encounter.
Lauren Cusimano
A friend of ours was visiting from Los Angeles, and he wanted to go out for a drink after we'd had dinner at District, the restaurant at the downtown Phoenix Sheraton. We walked over to Arizona Center, and it was dead (except for Hooters, but, um, we were trying to impress our friend, not frighten him). We headed back to the Sheraton — home to not one, but two bars — but they were no longer serving. We dropped in at a nearby hotel cafe, but they didn't serve drinks. Then we noticed the crowd outside Hanny's and made a beeline for what looked like the only Friday-night scene on the block. We were glad we did. Fast, friendly service, cool lounge-y tunes from a hip DJ, and a list of boutique cocktails made for a very cosmopolitan night. Even before the drinks, we stopped to talk with the folks who were hanging outside, and left wondering whether these hip young people hadn't been hired by Hanny's (a former department store turned bar and restaurant) to draw us in. We knew we were in the right place because hipsters never lie, and every one of the guys and gals we met on the curb outside Hanny's had one thing to say: "Go inside! It's great!" Come to think of it, we hope they weren't just trying to get rid of us.

Best Of Phoenix®

Best Of