Thirsting for some happy hour bargains after reading our critic’s picks for the best new restaurants of 2018? Find them at these also-new, food-forward bars.
The Collins Small Batch Kitchen
3160 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
This rebrand was a Twisted Grove before chef-owner Christopher Collins blew it up in favor of a concept that better reflected its upscale (read: slightly uptight) neighborhood. Now it’s a gastropub with a shaded front patio, extensive wine list and craft cocktails that go for $7 during happy hour. The sugar-rimmed Champagne + Berries is floral and feminine, but there are plenty of options for more masculine cravings: draft brews ($4), everyday well cocktails ($5) and wines by the glass ($6). Happy hour eats include a New York strip and Brie slider, sweetened with onion marmalade ($4); oozy grilled cheese triangles, with spicy-sweet tomato jam and bacon ($5); and blistered, coconut-flecked shishitos, tossed in soy caramel for umami richness ($6). Major bang for the buck. 3-6 p.m. daily.
515 E. Grant St., Phoenix
Set inside the historic Lawrence Building in Downtown’s Warehouse District, The Larry is as casual and irreverent as its name suggests, offering breakfast, lunch and happy hour before an 8 p.m. close. The happy hour menu is limited to $5 craft cocktails, $2-off draft beers, $2-off wines by the glass and a short list of half-price pizzas ($5-$6). A crisp-bottomed pie, topped with cups of pepperoni from Buffalo, New York, will probably fill you up, but if not, consider greasy but crunchy hash brown fries ($5) or bangin’ Bang Bang Broccoli – crisp-fried florets, sprinkled with salty bonito flakes and sided with sweet chile sauce ($5). Three more things to love: the B’s Please cocktail (with fennel pollen-infused gin and honey); the restaurant’s ’90s soundtrack; and a giant, chewy chocolate chip cookie. 3-6 p.m. M-F.
715 S. McClintock Dr., Tempe
Housed in the barn-like former home of Minder Binders, Social Hall is a far cry from that raucous college bar of yore – cozier and quieter. Draft beer, well drinks and house wines (one Chard, one Cab) are all $5 during happy hour, and food portions are so generous you’ll likely have plenty for leftovers. Borracho nachos, with green chile queso, black beans and guacamole, make a crunchy feast for two ($5). Crisp-edged pork belly tacos, enfolded in flour tortillas with pickled onion, are more expensive (and less filling) at $8, but you won’t care. There are roasted Brussels sprouts with peppered bacon, goat cheese and balsamic ($4) for the health-inclined and creamy green chile mac and cheese ($4) for those who swing the other way. All in all, a great option for grown-ups in Tempe. 4-6 p.m. M-F.