The Spot: The District at the Downtown Sheraton 320 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 602-817-5400 http://www.districtrestaurant.com
The Hours: Happy hour is from 3 to 7 p.m. daily in the bar and lounge.
See also: Rokerij: Happy Hour Report Card
The Interior: Hotel restaurants sometimes don't get the love they deserve, but most agree that The District is one step up from normal chain hotel spots. Local art and a DJ made a busy week-day happy hour surprisingly cheerful. Nearby parking is hard to find, so best to hit this place up if you work downtown, or if you're cool with valet.
The Food: Most all of the food prices on the happy hour menu are about $4; this made for a delightful sampling of many options, including "Devils on Horseback." The dish is small but consists of Yuma dates wrapped in Schreiner's bacon with I'Itoi onion, cream cheese, pasilla chili paste, and topped with Vermont maple syrup. While the onion is a nice touch, it didn't add much to this otherwise awesome combo. The order consisted of 4 of the bacon wrapped dates and they were so good, we wished we'd ordered double of this adventurous dish.
For some additional protein we ordered the "Copper City Drumsticks" ($4.50), which attempt to go even further on the "local" trend--they are described as "Copper City Bourbon spiked honey, whipped blue cheese dip, citrus sea salt." While the cheese dip was copious and certainly lovely, we didn't get much of the bourbon flavor (or any other flavor) but finished them regardless. Lastly we tried the Meatloaf Sliders ($4.50), which were tangy, filling, and wonderfully delicious bar food with the exception of the MJ marble rye bun, which tasted a bit stale.
The Drinks: Selected wine is $5 a glass, while a very extensive local brew selection go for $3.
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We opted for a Desert Eagle Black Cherry Blonde beer and a "daily" cocktail that was made up of simple syrup, lime juice and vodka. The cocktail lacked the flair you would expect from a place that goes to the effort of making a new cocktail each day -- but we appreciated the simple ingredients and affordable price. The beer was served up right and quickly by our server.
Conclusion: While we weren't bowled over by the Sheraton, all things on the happy hour menu were reasonably priced and decently tasty. Use of local ingredients is appreciated although sometimes a stretch. Service and atmosphere were above average. A winner on most accounts.