Take advantage of the Valley’s cool fall weather with these plein air happy hours
3000 E. Ray Rd., Gilbert
Next door to the Barnone artisan space in Gilbert’s Agritopia community, connected via a big patio surrounded by a white picket fence, is Garage-East, a wine bar championing southern Arizona juice – mostly from Cimarron Vineyards, an offshoot of Dos Cabezas WineWorks in Sonoita. During happy hour you’ll save $3-$4 per glass. To get the most bang for your buck opt for the Cimarron Duet of Syrahs ($10), which affords you two versions of the same moody Syrah, one with a touch of white Viognier (adding florality on the nose and a tinge of sweetness) and the other with a zesty Spanish Albariño (lending notes of peaches and apricots). Savings make full-price noshing seem reasonable, so spring for a snack board ($13) filled with local cheese (tangy Crow’s Dairy soft goat cheese and chewy Arizona Cheese Co. curds), heritage grain crackers (Hayden Flour Mills), and snappy sausages. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. M- F.
924 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix
Hot summer evenings tend to force customers inside the micro-size Welcome Diner to battle over its modest smattering of counter seats. The rest of the year, it’s all about the roomy patio, with its charmingly mismatched tables and chairs. It helps that when the sun dips, so do the prices on some of the diner’s most beloved dishes, such as the two-buck-discounted fried chicken and cheddar biscuit sandwich ($6). Or there’s the poutine fries ($7), fried until crispy and smothered in a rich, peppered gravy. Keep things cool with one of the diner’s homespun happy hour cocktails, like gin mixed with house-made tonic soda and fresh-squeezed lime for a rustic G&T ($4), or a tropical hurricane, where a rum blend joins the diner’s house-made fruit punch, a mix of orange, pineapple, and lime juices, tied together by passion fruit simple syrup ($6). 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Tu, 5-7 p.m. W-Su.
603 N. Fifth Ave., Phoenix
Set in an early 20th century bungalow-turned-restaurant, Cibo and its spacious patio sit under a wide sky that becomes a gorgeous pink painting as the sun sets. Just as the patio’s canopy of Christmas lights flickers to life, you’ll be able to scoot in for happy hour, which means a half-off glass of smoky Chianti ($4) and filling, marinara-centric snacks like sturdy, tangerine-size meatballs ($6) bathed in a tangy red sauce and salty Parmesan cheese. There’s plenty of perfectly grilled bread for sopping what the meatballs leave behind. The gnocchi alla sorrentina ($6, only at happy hour) ought to be on your short list as well: potato gnocchi baked with tomato sauce, fresh basil and gooey mozzarella cheese. Finally, surrender to half-off arancini ($4), risotto-style rice deep-fried with a molten mozzarella center. Some happy hours are snacky. Cibo’s is satiating. 3-6 p.m. M-F.
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