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Pier 54 in Tempe: Happy Hour Report Card

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The Spot: Pier 54, 5394 South Lakeshore Drive Tempe, 480-820-0660, http://www.pier54az.com/.

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The Hours: Happy Hour is offered Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.

The Interior: Even calling Pier 54's setup an "interior" is a misnomer because the newly reopened bar along the lake between Rural Road and McClintock Drive off Baseline Road in south Tempe is completely outdoors. One of its strongest assets is the general ambiance of a large patio, outdoor bar and tables all along the lake, which during happy hour times this time of year coincide with the sunset. The whole lakeside setup makes you feel like your in another city, maybe somewhere in the Northeast where the weather is much more blizzardy right now.

The Food: Unlike the delightful scenery, the food at Pier 54 is pretty ho-hum. The happy hour offerings include a personal cheese pizza, crab and artichoke dip, chips and queso with salsa, a house salad and a chicken tender basket. We started with the chips and queso with salsa ($5.75). The salsa was good, though it had an odd nutmeg taste to it, and the queso was standard. The best part were the chips, which were similar to local favorite My Nana's.

The house salad ($5) came with a choice of dressing, but it should have come with a choice of cheese because it's always a major red flag when a salad has a pile of shredded cheddar cheese on top. Lastly, we got the personal cheese pizza ($5), which had thick semi-cooked dough, overly chunky marinara and processed cheese on top. Overall, not a good food experience, though the prices were reasonable.

The Drink: For happy hour, Pier 54 offers $1 off regular pricing for domestic bottled beer, draft pints and well cocktails. While this isn't much to write home about, it is nice to chill lakeside with a pint of Four Peaks Hefewiezen and watch the sun go down.

The Conclusion: Although the food is sub-par and the drink specials aren't super unique, location is the key for Pier 54. We've gushed enough about its real estate right by the lake, but it's also nice to have a good place to grab a discounted drink in Tempe south of the 60.

Grade: C+

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