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The Mix Up at Royal Palms in Phoenix: Happy Hour Report Card

The Spot: The Mix Up at Royal Palms 5200 East Camelback Road, Phoenix 602-840-3610 www.royalpalmshotel.com

See Also: T. Cook's and The Mix Up Bar Grand Re-Opening Event Last Night at The Royal Palms Resort and Spa

The Hours: Happy Hour is offered daily from 4 until 7 p.m.

The Interior: This year Royal Palms debuted its new bar concept called The Mix Up. The serene outdoor patio seating surrounding the tile-clad fountain is a great escape for any post-work hangout you might need. The sunset foothills view during the "Mix and Mingle" hours displays desert beauty amid the small but welcoming patio. Inside you can expect a rich leather and wood-trimmed lounge for a more upscale approach to happy hour.

The Food: There really isn't much to talk about in terms of discounted food at The Mix Up. The bar offers a $5 two-piece charcuterie plate that is chef's choice. When we went, the selection included a few dabs of mostarda, sliced mortadella, pickled onions and gherkins and a super sharp red Leicester cheese all served with a modest portion of crackers. While each portion had bold and unique flavors, the separate pieces didn't blend well together. However, our biggest qualm is the slate chalkboard that the charcuterie was served on, which made an obnoxious and embarrassing noise when we attempted to scoop up the bits of mostarda with our knife.

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The Drink: You have your choice of wine, beer or cocktail during the "Mix and Mingle" hours, but the choices are few. $5 glasses of wine are limited to the house pinot noir, pinot grigio and chardonnay. $5 drafts are limited to the five beers on tap and only come in 12 ounce servings, not the typical 16 ounce pint standard. The real deal here, which admittedly impressed us, is the specialty discounted cocktail. Although it rotates, our visit found us with a $5 craft Manhattan made with Canadian Club bourbon, sweet vermouth, bitters and a Luxardo maraschino cherry garnish. The aromatic and sweet cocktail was by far the best $5 Manhattan we've ever had.

The Conclusion: There aren't a lot of options at The Mix Up's happy hour. If you aren't going expecting to get a meal or more than a glass of wine or one cocktail, the surroundings are beautiful and relaxing enough to justify the stop in. Plus $10 for whatever craft cocktail they decide to make that day and whatever charcuterie combo you end up with really isn't a bad deal.

Grade: B+

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