Happy Hour

SideBar: Happy Hour Report Card

The Spot: SideBar, 1514 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, (602) 254-1646. www.sidebarphoenix.com

The Hours: 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday

The Details: Appetizers and well drinks are $4, and you get $1 off all beers and $2 off wine by the glass. All wine bottles are $8 off.

There's an instant, come-as-you-are vibe that radiates through SideBar, with its eclectic mix of patrons streaming in on a late Friday afternoon: the middle-aged man in couch-casual talking sports, the young hipster in an infinity scarf, the career-minded businesswoman who's probably more than ready to ditch those heels. You wouldn't expect, with its contemporary, artsy-chic decor, that this is one of those places where everybody knows your name (and frequently, it's "dude").

It's so relaxed, in fact, that it's hard to feel anything but compassion when the single bartender working the entire place (on First Friday, no less) abandons you mid-sentence to serve a regular (oh well, he makes his way back). During the wait, we watched the flatscreen TVs - showing, not sports, but the kind of old movies mocked so mercilessly by the robots of Mystery Science Theater 3000. On the screen, a group of American spacemen (wearing those clingy grey flight-suits that leave little to the imagination) have just landed on a planet of hot, curvy ladies. Isn't that always the way?

See how SideBar stacked up after this rocky start after the jump.