The Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday
The Details: The Mabel's happy hour keeps it simple: One menu flips from regular prices straight into "Matinee" prices, which are around 50% off. These discounts include both drinks and appetizers, from the popular Deviled Eggs Three Ways (caviar, bacon, and chive, just $4 during happy hour) to the Butter Lettuce Salad (with golden beats and sherry vinaigrette, also $4). Also check out Wine Down Wednesdays and Industry Night Sundays (both 7 p.m. to close) for further discounts.
If you've read about Mabel's before, chances are you got distracted by the promise of a VIP room (tucked away behind a secret-bookshelf door, which any Addams Family fan can appreciate) and the two-way mirror that allows its premier guests to clandestinely survey the rest of the evening's patrons.
With only these stories of opulence and selectivity to go on, there may be a moment when -- as your eyes adjust from coming inside out of the sunlight -- you feel extremely out of place. The good news is: That moment is fleeting. However sleek and exclusive Mabel's may get as the sun sets, the matinee prices go hand in hand with a warm and welcoming atmosphere: the perfect spot to lose a couple of hours with a few good friends.
The Interior: It's the kind of space you'd expect to find Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall after a long day on the set, sipping cocktails and looking effortlessly too cool for mankind in general. A throwback to classic gentleman's clubs (where earls and baronets could meet over cigars and brandy to discuss the mating habits of newts, the merits of speculation, and those tedious wastrels, the middle class), Mabel's is all brown leather wingback chairs, roomy booths, and dark woods. The low lighting of this film noir bar and lounge turns it into an oasis from the bright desert sun, which is turned away at the thick entrance door (no doubt for its attire -- as a sign in the window warns). Old-glamour accents like sparkling white chandeliers add another layer of luxury, popping against the exposed brick walls.
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The Cost: Two appetizers and two glasses of wine came out to $16 before tip and tax.
The Conclusion: Old Town Scottsdale is a happy hour haven, as the overflowing patios can attest. But what really sets Mabel's apart from its fellows are the hours. Not only does their happy hour cater to those with day jobs, but it includes weekends, too. This may only be the result of its slightly off-the-strip location (down a long side street of art galleries, which you should absolutely incorporate into a full evening) -- or, if not that, its reputation for late-night splendor -- but either way, four hours of happy-hour deals starting at 5 p.m. just can't be topped. With big discounts on their usual menu items, from apps to drinks, plus friendly and attentive service, it's hard not to want to don a porkpie hat and the mantle of "regular" after one evening at Mabel's.
Overall Grade: A