Bypass banal bar fare and beeline for gourmet bites at these Valley gastropubs.
4225 N. Craftsman Ct., Scottsdale
Moonshine cocktails are the big draw at Copperleaf, but chef and private caterer Todd Williams also knows good food. Select appetizers are half-off during happy hour, including fried pickles ($3), fruit-stuffed brie ($5) and raspberry chipotle pulled pork sliders that pair perfectly with a $5 glass of tangy house sangria. Williams also pays homage to the building’s Southern-styled architecture – think arched windows, barrel-vaulted ceilings and exterior columns to rival a Louisiana plantation – with Cajun starters like blackened catfish bites ($3.50) and baked crawfish mac and cheese.
Wash ‘em down with a Pure Paradise cocktail featuring Malibu and Midori over a pineapple moonshine base, or brave the spicy cinnamon and ginger tang of the popular Apple Leaf ($10 each). Well drinks, wine and drafts are $1 off, with past offerings ranging from Lumberyard Red Ale and Ace Apple Cider to Coppola Blanco and Rosso on tap. 3-7 p.m. Tu-Su.
4860 N. Litchfield Rd., Litchfield Park
Part wine shop and part public meeting house, Ground Control is a cozy neighborhood spot known for wine tastings and pairing dinners. A growler fill-up station lets guests stock up on suds, while gelato makes for a sweet ending after any stop-by. Score five appetizers for five bucks each during happy hour, plus $1 off drafts. Select cocktails and wines are also $5. Try the owner’s personal favorite of crispy chips smothered in beef gravy, or pair fried cheese curds with a fruity Riesling.
Baked brie with raspberry purée is a natural mate for the ever-changing Pinot Noir selection, while fun brew offerings like Fate’s Candy Bar stout and berry-flavored Founders Rübæus Nitro cut through the saltiness of pretzels with white cheddar fondue or GC’s signature flatbread pizza. 2-5 p.m. daily.
Salut Kitchen Bar
1435 E. University Dr., Tempe
Gleaming ductwork, concrete walls and rustic wood slats combine to make this Tempe nightspot a chic, modern place to uncork and unwind. Covered tables on the patio are the most coveted spots in the house; snag a chair beside the petite plantings to take full advantage of mild winter afternoons. House wine, craft cocktails, appetizers and drafts are $2 off at happy hour, and guests who purchase a bottle of vino can score a bottle of the house pick for $5.
Wax adventurous with housemade hummus “nachos” ($7.50) and bacon-wrapped chestnuts ($6) washed down with an absinthe cocktail, or stay in the safety zone with creamy mac-and-cheese bites and ricotta ravioli drenched in wild mushroom sauce ($7 each).
Salut’s wine and beer lists are petite, yet tight. Sample SanTan Sun Spot pilsner with Havarti-filled quinoa fritters ($7.50) or try the dessert s’mores with a rich red like Glory Days Cabernet. 3-6:30 p.m. daily.
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