See also: Five Favorite Phoenix Karaoke Bars
The Hours: Happy Hour is offered Monday - Saturday from 3 until 7 p.m. and all day Sunday.
The Interior: Geisha's indoor/outdoor floor plan provides a few different seating areas for its patrons, with high top tables for couples and small groups on the patio and larger low tables for groups of 4-8 inside. Large black and white photos of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Sid Vicious hang behind the bar, which provides ample seating when a table isn't required or while waiting for one. On Sundays, a DJ makes Geisha a popular late afternoon/early evening spot for daytime drinkers to refuel after a day at one of Scottsdale's pools, which means it tends to be very casual and loud. Private karaoke rooms are also available for those who want to showcase their talents.
The Food: Sushi places can be found throughout Old Town Scottsdale, but the value of Geisha A Go Go's happy hour menu is what makes it one of the most popular happy hour spots in town. With all of the appetizers and house maki prices slashed in half, deals like a Freshwater Eel Roll for $3.12 or Spicy Tuna Roll for $3.37 are hard to pass up. The Dragon Roll ($6) and Soft Shell Crab Roll ($5.50) are slightly more costly, but still significantly cheaper than can be found in most places. The sushi itself isn't life-changing, but it certainly holds its own with most other places in Arizona.
For those who prefer their food cooked, the slightly spicy Rock Shrimp Tempura and tender Teriyaki Ribs are two of the more expensive happy hour items at $7.25 and $6.25, respectively, but they're also two of the best items on the menu. The shrimp are fried just enough to give them a crisp shell without feeling too heavy before they're covered in a spicy aioli that makes you want to lick the bowl clean. The ribs come slathered in a sweet teriyaki sauce that complements the charred edges of the meat without being overpowering. If the table needs a side to accompany their sushi, order the Go Go Fried Rice ($6.25) which is big enough to share.
The Drink: The drink specials may be the real reason that Geisha is the place to go after hitting the pool on a Sunday, as every alcoholic beverage except for the premium sake is half-priced during happy hour. Signature cocktails such as the Harajuku Lover ($4.75) and Shiso-Horny ($5.75) are generally on the fruity side, but can also be just the cold sweet beverage required during Scottsdale's hot summers. If pear vodka, melon and champagne aren't the types of things you're looking for in a drink, the Cucumber Lemongrass Sake may hit the spot. Geisha offers eight flavors of infused house sake in flavors like mango, strawberry and pomegranate, but the lemongrass strikes a balance between refreshing and tangy despite the fact that it looks more than a little bit like mouthwash. At just $4.25 for a carafe, it's worth splitting a couple different flavors among a table to find your favorite. For more traditional drinkers, beers and well drinks featuring brands such as Sapporo, Four Peaks and Tito's Handmade Vodka are in the $2-3.50 range during happy hour.
The Conclusion: If you're looking for a sushi happy hour in Scottsdale, you're not going to do much better than Geisha A Go Go. That said, some members of the staff can come off as a little condescending and it's not always the fastest place. The wait for a table is generally about 20-30 minutes on Sundays and sometimes the kitchen can get backed up, but if you want a happy hour that's cheap, casual and fun, the waiting just means there's time for an extra carafe of lemongrass sake.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.