Monday, December 22, 2014

Beach Cruisers

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An easy alternative to a 215-mile drive to the coast, these happy hours offer an instant seaside vacation with no sunscreen required.

 

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Photos by Mark Lipczynski
Bluewater Grill

Bluewater Grill
1720 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
602-277-3474, bluewatergrill.com

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.


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Sandbar


Sandbar Mexican Grill
9868 W. Northern Ave., Peoria
623-877-6444, sandbaraz.com

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.


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Spanish Fly


Spanish Fly
4341 N. 75th St., Scottsdale
480-949-8454, spanishflyscottsdale.com

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.

 

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