The Spot: T. Cook’s at Royal Palms
5200 East Camelback Road
The Hours: Happy hour is from 3 to 7 p.m. every day in the Mix It Up bar at T. Cook’s restaurant.
Perfect For: A cozy, intimate cocktail. The setting is Old World romantic, but the location within a resort means you might meet someone interesting, if you didn’t come with someone interesting to begin with.
The Interior: The Mix It Up bar in T. Cook’s is small, dark, and crowded, but in the best way. The marble bar seats fewer than 10 people, and a handful of low tables are accompanied by leather armchairs or cushy loveseats. There is also a little nook with a long bench and shared tabletops that is barely visible by candlelight – great for a little group, or tucking yourself away with the person you don’t want to be seen with. The dark wood, gold accents, and warm lighting are especially striking when the place is done up for the holidays, and the overall vibe is distinctly Royal Palms: Mediterranean elegance meets “old money” Phoenix.
The Food: The happy hour menu offers five food options, including filet mignon skewers, roasted garlic hummus, truffle popcorn, and Saltspring black mussels, each just $7. We ordered the mussels, which were braised in a garlic and white wine sauce, and accompanied by Fresno chilies and French bread. They were, so to speak, to die for, and enough for a meal for one. The full bar menu had more substantial offerings, like tacos and burgers, and while they weren’t on happy hour, the restaurant has a different special every day of the week (Tacos & Tequila Tuesdays, for example, or Bourbon & Burgers Thursdays). If you’re going to play happy hour roulette, T. Cook’s might be the best place to do it.
The Drinks: During happy hour, select wines by the glass are $7, draft beers are $5, and three specialty cocktails (the Mix Up Mule, the Blushing Berry, and a bartender’s choice) are $9 each. We chose the bar’s version of a Moscow Mule, specifically because the restaurant makes its own ginger beer in house. The drink did not disappoint; the beer, Mission vodka, and house-made simple syrup made the whole cocktail sing. Plus, our bartender was the intuitive sort – happy to chat or to leave you alone – and was attentive and knowledgeable to our neighbors along the bar, too. Pardon the pun, but that kind of service shouldn’t be reserved for hotel guests only.
Conclusion: Get dressed up and go to T. Cook’s before the holidays are over. A good drink on a cold night will cure what ails you, especially in such luxurious surroundings. Plus, the prices at happy hour mean you can rub elbows with the big shots, even if you don’t count yourself among them.
Don’t Miss: The mussels. The ginger beer. The Christmas lights.
Skip This: Bringing your loud friend. The space is too small and intimate.