The Hours: Happy Hour is offered daily from 2 until 6 p.m.
The Interior: Arcadia has a wealth of both established main hang eateries and new ones popping up all the time. Last year, Central Bistro emerged onto the scene with French and Italian cooking combined with a upscale casual atmosphere. Although it's located in a shopping plaza off of 32nd Street and Camelback Road, it might be harder than you'd expect to find parking if you don't opt for valet. However, once inside you'll find cozy bench-seated tables, rustic rope-framed lighting fixtures and a pretty stellar wine wall.
The Food: French and Italian cooking during Central Bistro's happy hour essentially means tuna tartare, grilled octopus with putanessca, pizzas and $1 oysters du jour. We tried the pulled chicken pesto pizza with a generous arugula topping for just under $8. While it isn't the picture of authentic pizza in a town of Pizzeria Bianco, The Parlor and Pomo, it's certainly worth the price. The house marinated mixed Spanish olives for $2.50 are great to nibble on between dishes, with different aging and varieties showcasing a blend of flavors.
On the lighter side, there's wood-grilled artichoke for $4.50 or you can go all out on your carb allocation for the day and try out the drunk bread. The crusty, day old bread is soaked in a white wine sauce and topped with creamy Swiss fondue. For $2 extra, you can top off that delightful gut bomb with prosciutto. We're not saying the drunk bread is the most culinarily interesting dish, even compared to others on the menu, but it is a certainly satisfying appetizer to split with a friend if you're willing to feel a little guilty after.
The Drink: With a wine wall like Central Bistro's, it's nice to see that wine makes a strong showing on the happy hour menu. With glasses discounted and categorized by price and quality, you can go for $5 "cheap" glasses all the way to $10 "best" glasses, featuring Davis Bynum Pinot Noir and Jordan Chardonnay. You can also get a $14 pitcher of craft beer or a $6 specialty cocktail during the "Social Hour."
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The white peach bellini is a juicy, bubbly and light option, while liquor enthusiasts can have vanilla-citrus infused bourbon, tequila and vodka as well. We were slightly peeved when our server suggested cocktails on our second round that weren't on special, rather than bringing the happy hour menu back like we asked, but it's Christmas and we all could use an extra buck or two now. We get it.
The Conclusion: The food, drink and atmosphere of Central Bistro were good on all fronts, though nothing really stood out and demanded attention. We weren't at all disappointed by anything we tried, but we also weren't super impressed. Overall, it was a decent experience with reasonable pricing and we might be back for brunch to have some $15 bottomless mimosas and bloody marys.