Happy Hour

Desoto Central Market in Downtown Phoenix: Happy Hour Report Card

Each week, we venture to a new restaurant to check out what the spot has to offer during our favorite time of day — happy hour. Whether it's affordable appetizers, delicious drinks, jaw-dropping deals, or none of the above, we'll check out the situation and report back.

The Spot: Desoto Central Market
915 North Central Avenue

The Hours: Happy hour is offered at the Desoto bar, in the northwest corner of the market, and on the patio outside. Hours are a little complicated: Mondays from 3 p.m. to close, Tuesdays 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 6 p.m. to close. Whew.

Perfect For: A burger and a beer in a hip, downtown Phoenix setting.

The Interior: Desoto is kind of like a big cafeteria, if that cafeteria was designed by hipsters and fueled by food truck-type offerings. The historic downtown building is red brick on the outside, and shiny chrome, art-deco-cool on the inside. The food hall is dotted with “boutique eateries” (read: tiny, somewhat pricy restaurants) and the space is filled with low tables, colorful art, and room for a 10-piece orchestra on swing dancing night. A massive open staircase leads to an upper deck for people-watching or private events, and a misted, shaded patio offers a view of downtown happenings.

The Food: While food options abound at Desoto – an artisanal salad spot, a seafood bar, all the tea and toast your millennial heart can handle – your menu for happy hour is pretty limited. DCM Burger Joint, one of the market’s food stalls, will be serving your meal, so fingers crossed you like the burger they have on special that week (and, you know, beef in general).

When we visited, it was the Desoto Burger: Niman Ranch beef, aged cheddar, bacon, and onions braised in red wine. Normally $11, this baby was just $5 during happy hour, which made it sort of okay that the bun was dry and they accidentally subbed American cheese for cheddar. Besides the minor flubs, the burger was actually very tasty; we loved combination of sweet onions and peppery bacon. We also ordered the only other food perk on the happy hour – bistro-style French fries that were $3 instead of $4 – and they were phenomenal.

The Drinks: Drink specials are this happy hour menu’s bread and butter. (Not literally.) Deals include $1 off pints, $2 off pitchers, a $5 pitcher of the “beer of the day,” $2 off wine by the glass, and a $5 “cocktail of the day,” which changes weekly.

Because our bartender had an old-timey beard and a general Gilded Age look about him, we decided a cocktail would be the proper order. When we visited, the cocktail on special was the Ward 8. Made with rye whiskey, orange juice, lemon juice, and grenadine and garnished with an orange rind, it was refreshing and cool, and we felt cool drinking it in such a cool setting. 

Conclusion: Desoto Central Market offers a unique setting with good food and friendly service. We wish there were more options on the happy hour menu, but with so many other food stalls within reach, it’s hard to complain about lack of choice.

Don’t Miss: Those plump, salty French fries. 

Skip This: Hitting happy hour when there is an event with live music on the books – you’ll be there for all of the sound checks and none of the fun. (Unless you decide to stay and dance.)

Grade: B

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Melissa Campana is a freelance writer, stay-at-home mom, and all-around decent human being. She enjoys playdates, cocktails, and playdates that involve cocktails.
Contact: Melissa Campana