Bar Maximus in Phoenix: Happy Hour Report Card

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The Spot: Bar Maximus 214 W. Roosevelt St. 602-687-8796 http://www.barmaximus.com

See also: The Mix Up at Royal Palms in Phoenix: Happy Hour Report Card

The Hours: Happy hour is currently 3 to 6 p.m. In the next few weeks, Bar Maximus will begin offering a reverse happy hour from 9 to 11 p.m.

The Interior: Bar Maximus, an extension of the Centurion Restaurant, has a warm, inviting ambiance with more of an upscale feel than your typical pub. Although the bar area is small, there are several tables in the main room for drinking and dining, as well as a patio shared by the restaurant.

The Food: Bar Maximus revamped its happy hour menu just a few weeks ago to include several appetizers, including pork shoulder sliders with aged cheddar and sherry caramelized onions ($8); mozzarella al fiorno, featuring mozzarella baked in marinara sauce with sausage served with crostini ($5); and smoked paprika hummus with Parmesan ($6), served with vegetables and roasted pita chips. The highlight of the happy hour food, however, is the gnocchi bites ($4), baked in an aged white cheddar sauce and served with crispy pancetta. The portion size is perfect for happy hour, since it doesn't leave you feeling too full, and pairs well with the Grand Canyon Horseshoe Bend Pale Ale ($6), which the bar has on draft. In the near future, Bar Maximus will feature a pizza and pitcher special during 3 to 5 p.m., allowing patrons to receive a free 8- to 10-inch brick oven pizza with the purchase of a pitcher of beer.

The Drink: Bar Maximus offers several craft beers on draft, such as Weisen Edel-Weisse Hefeweisen ($7), Sonoran White Chocolate Ale ($5) , and Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout ($8), to name a few. All draft pints are $2 off during happy hour. In addition, the bar offers $3 well drinks, $4 glasses of wine and $5 custom cocktails which are infused in-house. We tried the light and refreshing strawberry summer cooler, which includes homemade strawberry-infused vodka, basil and lime juice. It was delicious and for only $5, we could justify having another.

The Conclusion: Bar Maximus offers up more than traditional bar fare and the service is fast and friendly; however, the happy hour is still in its early stages, so we will be looking forward to seeing what the bar offers in the future to cater to college students, since the bar is in close proximity to the ASU Downtown Campus.

Grade: B+

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