The Spot: La Bocca, 699 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, 480-967-5244 http://www.laboccapizzeria.com/
The Hours: La Bocca relaxes their pricing from open until 6:30 pm, every day of the week.
The Details: Half-priced glasses of wine, draft beer and mixed drinks. Unfortunately, there are no discounts on food during happy hour, but we were lucky enough to go on a Tuesday, which is 2-for-1 pizza day starting at 6:30 pm.
(the happy hour break down after the jump)
The Interior: La Bocca has a sumptuous, urban feel to it. An abundance of dark wood and jewel-toned fabrics add an almost cave-like feel to the place, albeit a very romantic and classy cave. Happy hour pricing used to be good just in the bar area, but has since expanded to anywhere you can pull up a chair. Have a seat at the beautiful dark wood bar, one of the many tables or half-booths, or the comfy sofas that lend a lounge feeling inside and out. Old school horror movies play on loop inside against a white screen, while the human drama of Mill Avenue is on full display for those seated outside.
The Cost: A glass of wine, some white sangria, and a mini feast of the Mediterranean platter and two fancy pizzas (at 2-for-1 prices) came to $36 before tax and tip. Pretty steep for happy hour.
The Conclusion: La Bocca's drink specials are generous considering their extensive wine list, half price for just about any red or white wine that suits your fancy. Premium drafts and mixed drinks are also half-price every single day until 6:30 pm. Unfortunately, their stellar sangria (we tried the white) is not a part of their happy hour deals, but at just 5 bucks, the price point is on par with a glass of wine. So La Bocca would be an excellent option for a glass of wine during a day on the town.
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From a happy hour stand point, the lush atmosphere and wine specials don't mask the fact that none of La Bocca's delicious food is discounted during happy hour. We arrived starving and in need of some food to balance out the booze, and ordered the Mediterranean plate ($14) for some light noshing. If you define "light noshing" as two huge mounds of hummus and babaganoush, feta, olives and a couple types of bread. While everything on that plate was delectable, 14 bucks will buy you an entire happy hour for two at some other locations.
To help stretch your happy hour dollar, show up on a Tuesday right before the end of happy hour. Order a couple glasses of wine and then at 6:30, enjoy the two-for-one deals on La Bocca's awesome artisan pizzas. The garlic ($10) was a potent combination of fresh and roasted garlic, super salty cheese and tomatoes. The sicily ($13) was a well balanced combination of goat cheese, sausage, parmesan and tomatoes. Both were topped off with a smattering of herbs, a drizzle of olive oil and a thin, crisp and bubbly yeasty crust.
The Tuesday 2-for-1 pizza deal is definitely the way to go if you're going to hit up La Bocca for a faux happy hour. On its own, the booze only deals are just a little too steep a trade off compared to other happy hours across the valley.
Overall Grade: C