Tiki cocktails on special at Hula's Modern Tiki.
Tiki cocktails on special at Hula's Modern Tiki.
Kate Crowley

Hula's Modern Tiki in Old Town Scottsdale: Happy Hour Report Card

The Spot: Hula's Modern Tiki 7213 E. 1st Ave., Scottsdale, AZ 85251 (480) 970-4852 www.hulasmoderntiki.com

See also: Summer Cocktail Camp at The Gladly

The Hours: "Tiki Time" happy hour is available Monday through Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday's happy hour extends from 3:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The Interior: 
The Old Town location is slightly smaller and more restaurant like than the downtown location of Hula's. The wood-heavy interior showcases decorative bar, and windows that open look right out to 1st Ave and Scottsdale Rd. Although airy, we were happy the noise level wasn't out of control. Our server was friendly and attentive and didn't rush us at all.

The Food: There are six items on the hour menu that are just $5: Crispy coconut shrimp rolls, Hawaiian ceviche, spicy Thai fish cakes, regular or sweet potato fries, pork tacos and spicy tofu tacos. A small order of fries is just $3. We tried the crispy coconut shrimp rolls that came with a pineapple dipping sauce. They were indeed crispy and went perfectly with the dipping sauce and sweet drinks, but the shrimp was unnoticeable. The coconut part of the rolls added a lot of flavor, but next time, we'd bet on the tacos that looked delicious on a neighboring table.

Also up for a taste were the spicy Thai fish cakes. A bit biased as we've been to Thailand and tasted the authentic fish cakes before, we were pleasantly surprised by this version. Perfectly fried and filling, the accompanying sauce helped the dish's flavors come together. However, if you were expecting spice, you'd be disappointed. Other than that, we were happy with our choice and would order the fish cakes again.

The Drinks: Be honest, the drinks are why you're here. Although you can order a seasonal beer for $4 or a bud light for $2, the tropical drinks are truly well crafted and are only $5 to $7 at happy hour. For a "big bowl" drink to share you'll spend $15 during happy hour.

First up was the Dr. Funk, ($5) made with coconut rum, vodka, crème de banana, pineapple and OJ. Luckily the orange juice didn't overpower this delicious combination as it tends to with less experienced bar tenders. Completely drinkable, but suitably strong, the Dr. Funk lived up to its name. We couldn't leave though with out trying the dark and stormy ($5) full of dark rum, cock n' bull ginger brew and a fun umbrella. If you like ginger, this is the drink for you. Finally, we tried the Painkiller. A classic with rum, coconut, pineapple and oj, it went down easy...no pain at all! All of the drinks were balanced and would complement almost any of the appetizers.

The Conclusion: 
For three cocktails and two plates we spent a total of about $26. The prices and the tiki cocktails shined, but we struck out on one of the two dishes we ordered. In order to continue order libations, we need to have something tasty to eat.

Grade: B

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