Happy Hour

Rula Bula: Happy Hour Report Card

The Spot: Rula Bula, 401 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, 480-929-9500 http://www.rulabula.com

The Hours: Rula Bula's generous happy hour is offered Monday through Saturday from 2 to 7 pm, and on Sundays from 2 pm to close. Reverse happy hour is also offered Tuesday through Thursday from 10 pm to close.

The Details: $3 will score you a standard 16 oz draft, while the imperial pints (20 oz) are priced at a $1 off, with the same discount extended to well cocktails and house wines. Thirteen different appetizer small plates are offered up at low, low prices ($2.50-3.75, excluding the oysters) and include traditional fried bar food and Rula Bula's Irish pub fare.

(the happy hour break down after the jump)

The Interior: Rula Bula exudes a friendly, pub atmosphere from the minute you step up to its old-timey pub façade adorned by Celtic imagery. Inside the restaurants is floor to ceiling wood with several partitioned dining nooks and raised platforms that add dimension. Celtic themed items decorate the wall, including some Guinness flair, but it manages to not drift into tacky crap-on-the-walls territory. During dinner Rula Bula generally plays traditional Irish music, but for happy hour they prefer to keep it more contemporary with British punk and 80s pop. Be forewarned that the happy hour is only good at the bar and high tops tables, so you may want to limit your happy hour group to a manageable size or risk standing around the polished, dark wood bar.

The Cost: Two 20 oz pints and two appetizers came to about $15 before tax and tip.

The Conclusion: Rula Bula can be a pricey destination for wining and dining, but their happy hour brings a nice evening for two back into manageable territory. There are discounts on the holy trifecta of wine, well and beer, and there were a variety of appetizers to suit just about anyone, from regular old sliders ($3.75) or hot wings ($2.75) to sweet potato fries ($2.50) and a half dozen oysters ($6.00).

The Irish sliders ($3.75) were particularly delicious and complimented the beer selection. There's no going wrong with corned beef, and two sweet rolls were flowing over with braised beefy goodness. To top it off there's a sprinkle of sauerkraut and a slather of horseradish sauce that added some kick. Served with a heap of thick-cut Irish chips on the side, this "small plate" appetizer was more like a full meal.

The Hot Bollix Potato Balls ($2.50) were also an excellent homage to the Irish staple: potatoes. The panko-breaded fried tater balls were delicate and light balls of savory cheesy, creamy goodness. Served with ranch and hot wing sauce on the side, these Hot Bollix Potato Balls were more like little tater pillows than thick and heavy fried food.

Cheap Irish beer, savory corned beef, and perfect potatoes on the cheap? We'll toast to that!

Overall Grade: A