Goodwood Tavern: Happy Hour Report Card

The Spot: Goodwood Tavern 7330 East Stetson Drive 480-990-2388 www.goodwoodscottsdale.com

The Hours: Happy Hour is daily 3 to 7 p.m.

Perfect for: Satisfying that bar food craving while indulging in some Old Town people watching.

Interior: Without a doubt, Aaron May has turned the old Shotgun Betty's into the coziest, most comfortable spot that area of Old Town Scottsdale has to offer in Goodwood Tavern. Though "tavern" does carry certain connotations that don't exactly jive with an entirely open front and patio, the wood-covered surfaces, dim lighting, cushy booths, and woodland animals hiding in the design here and there definitely make guests forget they are sitting just a stone's throw away from nightclubs like Cake and INTL. On a midweek evening at sunset, we dare say it even felt peaceful.

See also: The Upton: Happy Hour Report Card

The service was overall satisfactory, although we did feel forgotten at times throughout our happy hour. But we didn't hold it against the one poor girl working the bar and waiting tables as more and more guests arrived and the evening went on. In fact, we were tempted to jump behind the bar to give her a hand.

The Food: In all honesty, our expectations for Goodwood's food were not high. Based on experiences at other establishments that cater more to night owls on the weekends, we were just hoping for something edible. Well, we got that and then some.

All of the happy hour appetizers were two dollars off normal price, so we went for the fried pickles ($5), buffalo chicken dumplings ($6), and the warm pretzel ($6).

Surprisingly, happy hour discounts do not also mean smaller portion sizes at Goodwood. The fried pickles, which came in a heaping pile, were perfectly tender underneath the crispy coating while still offering the slight bite that pickles should always have. The coating itself wasn't the most flavorful, but we didn't mind after dipping the sour slices into the creamy ranch dip.

The buffalo chicken dumplings won't get a repeat order from us. Both the wonton wrapping and the spicy chicken and celery interior were too dry. We applaud the ingenuity over execution: clearly these were left in the fryer just a little too long.

The warm pretzel (actually a pair of pretzels) came soft and doughy on the inside surrounded by a salty, crispy exterior -- just what a pretzel should be. While the honey hot mustard wasn't bad, the cheese sauce was the real hit and kept us going back for one more dip.

The Drinks: Where the food hardly disappointed, the drinks were not exactly as expected. Goodwood's happy hour menu promised specialty cocktails for $8 each, but our waitress regrettably told us there was no cocktail menu yet. Hopefully in the next month or so, that will change.

We instead went with a $4 imported draft and a $4 well drink and had no complaints with either. Goodwood also includes $3 domestic drafts and $4 glasses of house wine with their happy hour menu.

The Conclusion: The Goodwood Tavern exceeded our expectations. The well-executed bar food classics were better than the more innovative dish, but even so, we still finished almost all of the buffalo chicken dumplings. And with those portion sizes at those prices, we could easily see ourselves stopping back in maybe a few months from now before a spring training game. Hopefully by that time Goodwood will have a specialty cocktail menu to sample.

Don't miss: The warm pretzels Skip this: The specialty cocktails -- because you don't have a choice. Grade: B

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