The Hours: Happy Hour is offered Tuesday through Saturday from 5 until 8 p.m. with reverse happy hours from 12 until 1:30 a.m.
The Interior: Mabel's on Main is a great place to sit around and brood. The dramatic, sloping, highly decorative settees, multiple chandeliers, large black leather booths, and dark wood bar all set the perfect scene for a sultry, baroque-influenced afternoon of drinking craft cocktails. The service is attentive and friendly, always trying to steer you in the right direction. If moody isn't your thing, the bar certainly use all of its their mixology powers to give you a midday attitude adjustment.
The Food: During the happy hours (both normal and reverse), you'll find 50 percent off select menu items. The Matinee menu features $5 deviled eggs served three ways -- with caviar, bacon, or chive, a $5 grilled cheese with prosciutto, and $4 Swedish meatballs, just to name a few options. On this visit, we started with the $4 butter lettuce salad with beets, tomatoes, and a sherry vinaigrette. While the salad was nicely dressed, the tomatoes, beets, and butter lettuce all conflicted, leaving an odd taste in our mouths after each bite.
Next we tried a $6 flatbread pizza, which has four different options. We tried the green eggs and ham -- a prosciutto, mozzarella and pesto pizza topped with a fried egg. While the flavors worked well in general on this flatbread, the toppings overwhelmed the über-thin crust flatbread, leaving it crunchy, and, dare we say, moist on the bottom. Not a good combo for us. The egg also was unfortunately less of a player in this flatbread than we would have expected from the name. More egg might mean a more balanced, less salty experience for the next folk who order this flatbread. The Drink: Mabel's is well known within the local mixology scene for crafting superior cocktails, so we had high hopes. We tried a few half-off cocktails (and one full-priced option that we couldn't resist) to see if Mabel's lives up to the buzz. Although $6 for a Pimm's Cup is a pretty good deal, this Pimm's was pretty basic, without anything to distinguish it from any other Pimm's Cup we've ever had. Still looking for some pizzazz, we tasted the $6 Goulet -- a gimlet-like mix of sour citrus, sweet simple syrup, and gin that was still pretty basic.
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Understanding that the happy hour menu doesn't always get a restaurant's jazziest options, we got a $12 Lavender and Lace cocktail. The drink, comprising lavender tincture, raspberry syrup, gin, lemon, and egg white for froth, promised big flavor, but unfortunately delivered little more than an eggy smell before each sip. Definitely not the drink experience we expected to get at Mabel's.
The Conclusion: Mabel's has the goods, from the looks of it. The décor and staff are spot on in our book. However, some flavor and texture faux pas in both food and drink categories sink Mabel's grade much lower than we thought it would be. Not a bad happy hour option, but not a great one either.