Cruise crazy happy hour deals on Central Phoenix’s vaunted Seventh Street dining corridor.
5651 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
Led by homeboy executive chef Matt Taylor and NYC celeb chef Scott Conant, this modern Italian eatery may be the beating heart of Seventh Street’s restaurant renaissance. It’s not the booze (though select beers, wines and cocktails are bargain-priced at $4-$5) that will ring your bell, but the bar bites: crunchy short rib meatballs dunked in Calabrian chile aioli ($9); meaty pork ribs glazed with balsamic molasses, sided with tart-sweet mostarda ($9); a superlative Scotch egg surrounded by spicy Calabrese sausage ($8); airy gnocco fritto (crisp-edged puffs of dough, dusted with pecorino and truffle salt, ($7); and a lovely, ever-changing salumi and cheese board that feels like a steal at $10. Daily pizzettes are extraordinarily good when made from focaccia. It’s all exceptional, Mora less. 4-6 p.m. M-F.
Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend
5632 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
Heads up, lollygaggers: Take the words “happy hour” literally at this tiny, white-tiled oyster bar and seafood restaurant because it’s exactly that: one hour to order all the plump, freshly shucked Pacific oysters and peeled Mexican shrimp you can wolf down at a bargain-priced buck each. Order both items and they’ll likely arrive on the same platter, artfully arranged on a bed of ice with lemon wedges and two classic sauces: pucker-y, vinegar-y mignonette and cocktail sauce strewn with freshly grated horseradish. Food-wise, that’s all there is, but what else do you need, really? To wash it down, order $2 Champagne pours, $7 signature cocktails, select $4 beers and select $5 wines. Or get all Toulouse-Lautrec and pair those oysters with licorice-flavored absinthe or an absinthe cocktail, both $2 off during happy hour. 4-5 p.m. M-Sa.
El Chullo Peruvian Restaurant & Bar
2605 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
Named for the woolen, earflapped hat that fends off the Andes’ high-altitude chill, this cozy, family-run operation sits on the southern, more seasoned half of Seventh Street. Settle in with a frothy pisco sour (offered in various fruity permutations, $8) or a light, crisp Spanish lager like the Estrella Damm, ($3 at happy hour, when all alcohol is $2 off). Next step? Order a couple of undiscounted but affordable plates of Peru’s shockingly sophisticated potato-centric comfort food — maybe the causa rellena de congrejo (a savory layered “cake” of fluffy potato, avocado, hardboiled egg and crab salad, $9.95), the papa rellena (a crunchy, golden potato ball filled with hard-cooked egg and raisin-studded ground beef akin to picadillo, $7.95) or the banana-leaf-wrapped tamal Peruano (stuffed with chicken or pork and seasoned with Peru’s sunshine yellow chile pepper called aji amarillo, $7.95). 3-7 p.m. Tu-Sa.