Having embraced anti-booze laws years before Prohibition, early 20th-century Arizona was no stranger to speakeasies. These cozy hideaways are a welcome throwback to an era of secrecy and intrigue.
2611 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
If vampires existed, they’d feel right at home amid the blood-red flocked wallpaper, diffuse lighting and timeless vibe of Durant’s. In reality, the only creatures of the night that frequent the 1950 steakhouse for happy hour are the lobbyists, sports celebs and other VIPs who come to relax their minds and wallets with $4.50 well pours and $4.25 domestic drafts.
The nosh menu is small, but the portions are substantial – especially fried mushrooms ($4.95) and steamed clams or mussels ($8.50) drenched in a savory white wine tomato broth so good, it’s worth lapping up on its own. For a quick bite, pastrami and chicken sliders cost just $1.95 each. 4-6 p.m. M-F; food specials begin at 3. Bar only.
2625 W. Queen Creek Rd., Chandler
With self-proclaimed “wine geek” Tom Kaufman of The Living Room and Humble Pie as a founding partner, ChoP is unsurprisingly strong in the happy hour vino department. Trust in Kaufman with $5 glasses of Alias merlot, Silver Ridge chardonnay and more, served alongside $6 burgers, BBQ ribs and salmon. Check the chalkboard for a rotating selection of additional $6 apps that incorporate on-hand ingredients into fun nibbles like loaded potato fritters or steak satay.
Tufted brown leather, frosted glass and funky square pendant lamps lend a trendy air to CHoP, but the vibe is low-key enough that guests can down $2.50 Kilt Lifter and Blue Moon brews without drawing condescending sneers from oenophiles. $5 calls. 4-6 p.m. daily.
6335 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ
Though a rokerij is typically a tiny smokehouse, Richardson’s version is more akin to a combination dungeon and ski lodge. Descend the steep staircase past rock walls and muted sconces to score $5 New Mexican-inspired happy hour appetizers including soft shell tacos, spinach chorizo dip and adovada flautas. Hungry for more?
Main dishes like bacon-wrapped shrimp ($13) and steak tartare ($14) are three bucks off, making extra room in your budget for more $5 glasses of Rodney Strong Chalk Hill chardonnay, Ruffino Lumina pinot grigio, and other top-notch vino selections. On weekends, The Rokerij smokes the brunch competition with five-buck mimosas, Bellinis and Bloody Marys. 2:30-5:30 p.m. daily. Bar only.
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