The Spot: Phoenix Public Market Cafe 14 E Pierce St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
The Hours: Happy hour is available everyday from 3 p.m. to close.
The interior: If you've ever been to the Market Cafe you know the space is chic and historic complete with exposed beams, brick walls and community seating on furniture that puts Restoration Hardware to shame. It's a meeting place of sorts for working folks lunching downtown to students with lap tops and hipsters sipping coffee or beer. With lots of windows to let light and the sights in along with a charming patio-- this spot has us won over on looks from the get go. The Food: The happy hour menu has changed since Chow Bella Happy Hour Report Card last visited. The options are currently more comparable to other local bar food, including house pretzels with cheddar sauce, a BBQ sandwich, and downtown devil fries. A far cry from the winter soups and roasted vegetable previously offered. We tried to keep it balanced and ordered the chicken quesadilla ($5) and the ceviche tostadas ($5).
The tostadas came three to a plate and they didn't disappoint, but they were a bit messy and we needed to ask for some plates so we didn't make a mess on the table. The jicima added a great crunch and the Cholua creme sauce was wonderful. It's the perfect dish to share or order alone this summer. The quesadilla dish was substantial but with the exception of some wonderful pickled fresno, it lacked any of Aaron Chamberlin's signature gusto. We left feeling like we should have ordered the pretzels after all.
The Drinks: The once formidable $5 specialty cocktail options are gone. There are instead two $5 cocktail options, a red wine sangria and the Lee Trevino, a spicy vodka based drink we weren't interested in trying to conquer. If you want any other cocktail during happy hour, be prepared to pay $7+.
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Smallish pitchers of quality beers are still $5 (perfect for sharing) and glasses of wine are $5 each as well. We were pleased with the house white, a chardonnay that was served at the perfect temperature.
The Conclusion: We're still conflicted. The atmosphere is hip and the servers are friendly...however service can be slow. It took an hour and a half for our happy hour experience. The food is still hit and miss but the drinks are suitable. The slower service rules Phoenix Public Market Cafe for a quick drink, but if you're wanting a place to linger and perhaps chat with a friend or do some after hours laptop work, the atmosphere is perfect and the drinks are cheap.