The Spot: Thai Elephant, 815 W University Dr, Tempe, (480) 966-3489 http://thaielephant.qwestoffice.net/
The Hours: Thai Elephant offers Happy Hour every day of the week between 5 and 7 pm. Alas, they no longer offer reverse happy hour. (The website was incorrect when we checked it.)
The Details: Domestic beer for $2, imports for $3, wine by the glass for $5, and their entire menu of specialty cocktails (not just the short list) for between 4 and 5 bucks. Also, about nine appetizers are available at a discounted price ($3-5) to keep your hunger at bay.
(the happy hour break down after the jump)
The Interior: Thai Elephant boasts a sleek but comfortable happy hour destination with lots of dark wood and bamboo accents. It is much more of a restaurant-style, sit down affair than bar happy hours generally are. So if you're looking to mix and mingle, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a laid back atmosphere to enjoy some Thai food and fancy cocktails, then this is your place.
The Cost: One Mekong (Thai whiskey) and cola, one imported beer, and two appetizers came to $16 before tax and tip.
The Conclusion: Thai Elephant is a welcome departure from the standard fried and true bar food that characterizes most happy hours. For five bucks or less can score you corn cakes, spring rolls, or a variety of tempura battered meat and veggies. Every appetizer on the happy hour menu is done well!
The satay chicken came with four skewers of juicy roasted chicken accompanied by a slightly spicy peanut sauce and a vinegar-based cucumber mix, definitely a decent amount of food for the price point. The corn cakes were a bit dry, but redeemed by a lovely sweet and salty dipping sauce. The tempura vegetables were a mountainous pile of zucchini, onions, carrots, and asparagus that is perfect for sharing.
The cocktails are a very strong pour as well, with the Ginger Binger and Mekong and Cola delivering a surprising kick. The ginger flavor in the Ginger Binger was sinus clearing, but in a good way, and the Mekong was a whiskey kick to the shorts.
If you're looking to spice up the happy hour rotation (quite literally with some of their offerings!), Thai Elephant provides an affordable and delicious alternative.
Overall Grade: A-
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.