The Spot: Local Bistro, 20581 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale, 480-302-6050, www.localbistroaz.com.
The Hours: Happy Hour: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. every day at the bar. The Interior: Happy hour happens at the white marble-topped bar near the entrance, which seats around 15 people and fills up rapidly. Get there well before five if you hope to snag a bar stool -- especially on a weekend night.
Brick walls, chalk boards and wall-to-wall wine bottles create warmth in an urban-edged, wide open, dining room, flanked by floor-to-ceiling windows. Weekend nights, the place is packed by 6:30, lending credence to the notion that Local Bistro really is a local bistro, beloved by its neighborhood.
The Food: The happy hour menu, posted on chalkboards behind the bar, draws primarily from the appetizer selection -- offering the same items at roughly half the price. Unless you're an artisanal olive freak, you'll need more than two people to finish a generous bowl of them, soaked in a marinade with citrus-y top notes ($3).
You'll be far less inclined, however, to share a cast iron skillet of gooey, bubbling Drunk Bread: a hunk of crusty bread, soaked in white wine and smothered in Gruyere, its molten top drizzled with tomato sauce and flecks of dried parsley ($6).
A mound of ahi tuna tartare -- mixed with avocado, lemon oil and crème fraiche -- isn't as pretty or as delicious as the light but vibrant version at Chelsea's Kitchen, but it's still pretty good. I can't help noting that Chelsea's corn chips also make a better scooper than Local's crostini, which washes out this delicate dish ($6). But we are in an Italian-ish restaurant after all.
And classic beef carpaccio proves the point nicely. Drizzled with citron-mustard aioli and served alongside arugula, micro-greens, avocado and shaves of Parmesan cheese, these rosy slivers of lean beef hit the sweet spot on a hot summer day ($5).
Am I bored with burrata? And beets too? This occurs to me a few bites into a less-than-exciting burrata-beet salad situation, combined with caramelized shallots, speck Tirolese (air-dried, slightly smoky ham) and micro greens, which go a long way toward making the dish more fun.
For something ultra-simple and inexpensive, you won't want to miss a trio of house dips served with chewy, warm-from-the-oven flat bread. Although salty tapenade is just okay, both pesto and romanesco (which looks and tastes like Spanish romesco to me) are first-rate. We scrape the bowls clean.
And, of course, the wood-fired pizza, nicely blistered from the oven, is one of Local Bistro's claims to fame. At happy hour, customers may choose between a Margherita or a 24-month aged pepperoni pizza ($6).
If you've saved room, and it's on the menu, try slippery chocolate panna cotta for dessert.
The Drink: At offers $4 well drinks, $3 and $5 beers and two dollars off all wines by the glass (and the list is extensive).
The Conclusion: Sure, you can drink, but Local Bistro's happy hour is all about the food, good enough and varied enough to constitute a light supper.
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.