Vino Populi

Written by Mike Meyer Category: Happy Hour Issue: January 2018
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Tie on an after-work glass of vino at these no-hassle neighborhood wine bars.


Central Wine; Photography by Isabella Castillo
Central Wine; Photography by Isabella Castillo

Central Wine
4236 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
This Central Phoenix wine bar might share a roof with a slick fusion restaurant, Clever Koi, but next door is the rowdy, dive-y George and Dragon. Clearly, this is a wine bar for the people. The granite-topped bar is long and spacious, the stools are numerous, and the menu is well-populated with $2-off California and Arizona wines at happy hour. A glass of Chateau Tumbleweed Le Blend ($11) – rustic and tart like crushed raspberries – from Southeast Arizona should not be missed. Pair it with a burrata board ($7), sinful mozzarella bursting with cream, served alongside Noble bread crostini and glazed with balsamic vinegar; or the vegetable board ($7), filled with raw veggies (carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower and broccoli) and served with a vibrant green goddess dressing and either hummus or spinach dip. Perfect for keeping the evening light. 2-6 p.m. Tu-Sa




7125 E. Fifth Ave., Scottsdale
The new bar area at FnB was created in the image of a French bistro – nothing grand, just a shoebox serving fresh food and good wine. Each afternoon begins with a happy hour of sorts – they call it FnLinner – serving snacky bar bites like rosemary-paprika pecans ($4) and Spanish chorizo, coupled with a chile pepper mayo, served on grilled bread ($11). Sometimes heartier dishes like Moroccan-spiced fried chicken make an appearance, but the simple, shareable salads are no schlubs. Chef Charleen Badman sources every cucumber variety in Bob McClendon’s arsenal, tossing them with fresh dill and mint in a buttermilk vinaigrette ($10). Pair beets and watermelon with pumpernickel croutons dusted with vadouvan, a French take on the Indian spice mix masala, redolent with warming spices, shallots and garlic ($9). Wash it all down with any bottle or glass of Arizona wine, half off during FnLinner. 3-5 p.m. Tu-Su



Rott n’ Grapes Wine & Beer Bar
Rott n’ Grapes Wine & Beer Bar

Rott n’ Grapes Wine & Beer Bar
4750 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Open for just over a year, this pocket-size concept has a wine and beer list so long it laps the max capacity in the bar (a dozen seats, plus a tiny bit of standing room) several times over. Seeing as how you’ll need some time to power through the list, Rott n’ Grapes boasts happy hours that last most of the day, from around lunch time until 8 p.m., every day of the week. So dinner could be a charcuterie board (salami, prosciutto, olives, almonds, Brie and more, $12) and a two-buck-off glass of Pinot Noir from the Oregon Trails Wine Co. in Willamette Valley – aromatic with notes of cranberry ($9). There is some patio seating as well, and an annexed lounge area across the plaza, so don’t let the limited barstool sitch harshen your buzz. 3-8 p.m. M-W; 2-8 p.m. Th-Sa; noon-8 p.m. Su


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