Dig into some of the best down-home drink and grub deals this side of the Mason-Dixon Line.
4801 E. Cactus Rd., Phoenix
This head-to-tail eatery founded by Roaring Fork owners Guy Villavaso and Larry Foles dishes up gourmet versions of fried chicken and mac and cheese with a side of Southern charm. Rustic wood-slat ceilings and butcher block tables are elevated by modern touches like whitewashed bricks, tooled aluminum bar accents and funky oinker artwork. Select noshes cost just $5 each at happy hour; house favorites include crispy Brussels sprout leaves, honey-rosemary buttermilk chicken and truffled deviled eggs with bacon. Experience the kindness of strangers at the high-top community table while scoring $2 off already reasonably priced specialty cocktails, well drinks and wine. Try a bubbly pink Miss Piggy ($6) with spiced eggplant frites or pair the “Blanche” blood orange margarita ($7) with pork belly tacos for a South-of-the-border bite. 4-6:30 p.m. daily.
Baby Kay’s Cajun Kitchen
2051 S. Dobson Rd., Mesa
From andouille to zydeco, Baby Kay’s has been serving Phoenicians a slice of New Orleans style since 1989. The recently relocated restaurant is simple and sweet, with a cheerful red color palette and cozy corner for visiting jazz musicians to do their swing. Happy hour starts with $2.50 domestics and $3.50 bottles, $4 glasses of house wine and $5 well martinis. Gumbo cups range from $3.50 (chicken) to $5.50 (seafood), and signature cocktails including classic hurricanes and the Georgia Peach with vodka and schnapps are just $5.50. Sample andouille sliders ($5) with a Cajun Bloody ($5.50) or let the good times roll with Dixie Brewing Co. lager and shrimp remoulade ($7). The parade of flavor continues with several varieties of hot and sweet wings ($6 each) and delectable crawfish étouffée ($8) that does original owner and Louisiana transplant “Baby” Kay Marie Sonnier Romero proud. 3-6 p.m. M-F, 2-5 p.m. Sa
300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
Chef Justin Beckett’s trendy Downtown nosh pit is the last place you’d expect to find gator bites or Mardi Gras beads. Part of The Newton adaptive reuse project – formerly Beef Eaters restaurant – Southern Rail combines the elegance of chandeliers and flower vases with rustic farmhouse elements and vintage half-round booths from the building’s original tenant. The bayou vibe is strong in Beckett’s “social hour” menu, where such Southern staples as fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese ($4.50) and gumbo ($3) nestle alongside a quartet of modern salads. Filling fried okra ($3) and red beans and rice ($3.50) play nicely with $4 Four Peaks Hop Knot and Mother Road Kölsch, while the citrusy cola reduction of the BLT salad is a natural companion for $6 hard lemonade cocktails that’ll knock you on your Creole caboose. 3-6 p.m. daily.
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