Graze and save in style with happy hours at three Downtown Phoenix hotels.
Westin Phoenix Downtown
333 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Province the restaurant is about as intimate as an airport lobby, but Province the lounge (four booths in a secluded sliver of space near the bar) exudes a secluded, soothing vibe that feels just right after a long day. During happy hour, chef Marco Garcia offers innovative appetizers from the regular menu at discounted prices, like beer fondue (a creamy blend of melted Mahón cheese and broken tomatoes, sparked with IPA and served with crusty grilled bread, $6); gorgeous avocado toast (sprinkled with feta, pumpkin seeds and radish, built upon heavenly Mediterra Bakehouse bread, $7) or superb mesquite-smoked swordfish cakes, sided with pickled carrots and tangy escabeche aioli ($8). You’ll have to pay full freight for shrimp and blue corn grits, but they’re totally worth it ($13), with $2-off drafts, $3-off spirits and $8 house wines. 4-6:30 p.m. daily.
1100 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
“Ignite your palate” is the punny catchphrase at Match, where happy hour hunters may grab a banquette in the lobby lounge (the better to eyeball edgy artwork) or belly up to the sprawling bar overlooking Central Avenue (the better to people-watch). Order up $5 well drinks, house wines and draft beers to get the party started, then make a light supper of chef Alex Stratta’s discounted appetizers (all $7 during happy hour), including imaginatively prepared wings, charred and bathed in spicy-sweet apricot-habanero sauce; crunchy-edged, hazelnut-crusted Brie sided with sour-sweet lingonberry chutney; or saucy, Parmesan-dusted meatballs. A fruit bowl and yogurt is pretty useless (unless happy hour begins at 7 a.m.), but there’s also a steal-of-a-deal wood-grilled burger mantled with melted white cheddar and paired with fries that might light your fire. 3-6 p.m. M-F.
Renaissance Phoenix Downtown
100 N. First St., Phoenix
Named for the Old West slang term for an alcoholic drink, this slick-looking urban saloon doesn’t see many cowboys – just Downtown workers and tourists who mosey in for local beer (happy hour drafts, $5), a glass of wine ($7-$8) and sports on TV. The menu reflects the elegant cowboy-rustic decor, offering a modern spin on Mexican/Southwestern food, including buttery avocado fries with spicy aioli ($7) and chicken taquitos enrobed in earthy chile Colorado with toppings of cabbage and pickled onion ($7). Blue corn nachos, ladled with processed cheese sauce, then topped with green onion, mild red peppers and drizzles of sour cream, belong in a ballpark, not here, but that’s OK. There’s crunchy-topped Hatch chile cornbread, accompanied by honey-butter, to make up for it. 3-6 p.m. M-F.
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