- Author: Wynter Holden
- Category: Happy Hour
- Issue: Jun 2013
An easy alternative to a 215-mile drive to the coast, these happy hours offer an instant seaside vacation with no sunscreen required.
1720 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
While you won’t find any marina views or charter boat rentals at the Phoenix outpost of Southern California’s Bluewater Grill, its wood wainscoting, brass rails and multi-room layout with eclectic seating evokes the interior of a classic ocean liner. Past the live lobsters and fresh fish counter is the massive oak bar, where $1.50 oysters and crisp fried calamari ($5) await during happy hour. Pair delicate mahi sliders ($6) with a $3 draft, or try the house red ($4) with a bolder appetizer such as spicy Thai chile wings ($6). For sushi lovers, it’s smooth sailing ahead: The generous “Happy Sushi” menu includes $6 Kalifornia and Philadelphia rolls, and $3 off the tasty Bluewater roll with Cajun ahi, krab mix, tempura shrimp and avocado. $4 well drinks. 3:30-6:30 p.m. M-F; 12-5 p.m. Sa-Su. Bar only.
Sandbar Mexican Grill
9868 W. Northern Ave., Peoria
Imagine lounging in a cool white cabana with a bargain frosty margarita and the squishy feel of sand between your toes. That’s the experience waiting for you at Sandbar, where thatched palapas shade a faux beach on the outdoor patio. In keeping with its breezy “don’t worry, be happy” vibe, Sandbar’s half-price beer and $2-off drink program encompasses nearly every nerve-soother on the menu, from Corona and Dos Equis to wines, martinis and house margaritas. Soak up the sun and the libations with a passel of $6 Latin-inspired starters like mini chimichangas, spicy guacamole and jalapeño-studded macaroni-and-cheese.
3-7 p.m. M-F.
4341 N. 75th St., Scottsdale
When restaurateur Greg Donnally replaced Drift tiki lounge with a Mexican-influenced bar, he envisioned it as a gathering place worthy of a luxury hotel – minus the overnight stays. Spanish Fly’s sparkling day-use pool with waterfall and cozy private cabanas entices guests to pop in and sip $2 mimosas and champagne from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays. Dip your feet while downing $4 well drinks and $6 specialty cocktails paired with beachy street tacos ($2 each) from 3-7 p.m. Monday through Friday. As the weekend winds down and sunbathers prepare for the morning grind, take advantage of Sunday’s reverse happy hour from 7 p.m. to close, when everything in the house is half price.