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Heather Hoch

Scratch in Downtown Phoenix: Happy Hour Report Card

The Spot:Scratch

1011 North Third Street, 602-252-8900,

www.scratchpastries.com

See Also: - Bonjour Vietnam in Downtown Phoenix: Happy Hour Report Card - The Anatomy of a Macaron with Duc Liao of Scratch Pastries

The Hours: Happy Hour is offered daily from 3 until 7 p.m.

The Interior: Much like the Scottsdale location that preceded it, Scratch's new Phoenix spot on Third and Roosevelt streets is painted white and covered in the restaurant's name. French fashion photographs are hung on the wall in a tilted, haphazard sort of endearing manner. The bar stools are ultra-modern, hip, and hard to shimmy onto -- especially if you have hips.

The Food: If you're like us, Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette struck a chord in your foodie bones. Seeing Kirsten Dunst chow down on delicate, beautiful pastries one handful at a time got us pretty jealous. Finally, we relive our French monarchy dreams by sampling every pastry Duc Liao can throw our way.

One blueberry lavender macaron leads to a pear almond tart, which leads to a raspberry rose macaron. It's all finished off with one of Liao's light and smooth parfait cups. The combination of floral and fruity flavors in the macarons is luxurious and, since the classic French treat uses almond flour, it's also gluten-free. While pastries (and any other menu item for that matter) aren't discounted during happy hour, pricing is normally under $6 per decadent little pastry.

The Drink: It isn't mind-blowing to find a $4 beer at happy hour, but Scratch doesn't serve a typical 16-ounce pint. The 19-ouncers give you just that much more to love as you sip down beer after beer at the bright, clean bar. Plus, the selection of both locally and nationally crafted brews is better than your average bar. We recommend the lightly fruity, floral and kind of creamy Papago Orange Blossom to complement your pastry indulgence.

The Conclusion: Happy hour fit for a queen? We think so. While we normally mark off points for no food discount and lack of drink selection, our experience outweighed those factors. You can buy two big beers and two pastries for under $20, and that's just fine in our book.

Grade: B+

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