5813 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
It isn’t the soft strum of a banjo that will lead you through Okra’s doors so much as the tambourine-like din of cocktail shakers and the cool, seductive elixirs therein – discounted dramatically during happy hour along with chef Cullen Campbell’s Southern nibbles. The “snacks” list is healthy – as in “long” – and filled with guilty pleasures. Enjoy fried chicken skins smothered in honey hot sauce ($4), or vinegary, tempura-coated dilly beans ($5). A special treat: smoked chicken wings, marinated in Homeboy’s Jalapeño hot sauce and charred over a fiery grill. The rotating Hot Dog Happy Hour ($6) is as adventurous as Huck Finn – think American cheese fonduta, salty collard greens and crispy, fried black-eyed peas. With so much spice and south-of-Mason-Dixon-decadence, you’ll want to cool off with Phoenix’s finest mint julep ($5) or a tropical, passion fruit-filled Hurricane ($7). 4-6 p.m. M-F, 3-6 p.m. Sa-Su
the larder + the delta
915 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Downtown Phoenix’s DeSoto Central Market is filled with dining options – burgers, bento boxes and oysters among them – but if it’s Southern soul food you crave, the larder + the delta doubles down with modern flair. At happy hour, all “little eats” are $2 off. Some of these are seasonal, but count on seeing their classics, like deep-fried, tempura-coated cauliflower, tossed with Homeboy’s Habanero hot sauce, pickled celery and generous crumbles of world-class Rogue Creamery blue cheese ($5). And any whole-hog meat-lover will love the rich, campy Tender Belly Crispy Pig Ears, sitting under a heap of bright orange “Cheetos” powder ($5). You’ll need a beer – a steal at $3, happy hour or not – to wash these down, whether it’s a hoppy can of Uinta Hop Nosh or a gulp-able Miller High Life. 3-6 p.m. M-F
Pig & Pickle
2922 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
Sequestered at the southeastern edge of Old Town Scottsdale, Pig & Pickle is known for offering that rarest of commodities in restaurants catering to the bar-going crowd: a gourmet-quality late-night menu. The ever-changing happy hour is hospitable, too, but don’t go expecting barbecue – P&P chefs would rather show off what they can do with mac and cheese, spiked with green chiles and sharp Wisconsin cheddar ($5), or with binge-worthy chicharrónes, sprinkled with paprika and lime salt. Local Huss Brewing’s Scottsdale Blonde ale flows on tap ($5), but you may want to branch out with a gin, grapefruit and orange blossom soda number dubbed the Junior Buffalo “GDE” ($5) – good lord, do they go down easy. 4-6 p.m. Tu-Sa, 3-6 p.m. Su
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