Happy Hour: Linger Longer Lounge

Leah LeMoineNovember 5, 2021
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Photo by Leah LeMoine

THE SCENE
I’d heard about Linger Longer Lounge for years, but I never knew where it was. Downtown Phoenix? Midtown? CenPho? Scottsdale? As I pulled into the parking lot for a media happy hour there a couple of weeks ago, my confusion was validated. It’s tucked into the far corner of a plaza that itself feels somewhat recessed from the intersection of 16th Street and Sierra Drive, just north of East Maryland Avenue. If you weren’t looking for it, it would be all too easy to miss. 

It’s worth seeking out. A dark metal gate covered by wooden slats in a geometric pattern greet you as you walk from the parking lot. Within it, a door with pale wooden diamonds outlined in black metal opens into a grotto-like patio connecting a main bar and a private event space, both outfitted with retro décor and ephemera, from arcade games to a cigarette vending machine. The vibe: dive-bar chic. The tucked-away location makes you feel similarly nestled, safely ensconced from the outside world and its insanities and inanities.  


Photo by Leah LeMoine

THE FOOD
I met my partner when he was 39, and I often mourn the years of his adult life I missed out on, all the time I could have spent with him if we’d met sooner. I felt the same way about the schnitzel chicken fingers at Linger Longer Lounge. How long have these been a thing? How long have I been missing out?! All the crispy, crunchy happiness we could have shared if we’d met before! Pardon me while I get a tissue to dab my eyes while listening to this and looking at photos of these beauties on my phone.  

When I read “schnitzel chicken fingers,” I assumed they’d be extra-crispy chicken fingers seasoned and breaded in the style of schnitzel. I was not prepared for the mountain range of four craggy schnitzels – four whole schnitzels! – propped up vertically in a basket with lemon segments and a mini tub of lemon zest ranch. It was love, lust and eternal commitment at first sight.  

These wonders ($9; not discounted for happy hour, but still a steal) are a highlight of the German-inflected menu by Der Wurst Hot Dogs. The warm Bavarian pretzel ($4 during happy hour) continues the Teutonic theme, with a Wisconsin-y twist: warm pub cheese for dunking. The twisty bread is so soft and the cheese is so gooey and deeply savory. Did I detect Worcestershire sauce in that umami oomph? Hand-cut french fries with curry ketchup ($5 during HH) are perfection: thick sticks of fluffy, creamy potato with crispy, burnished exteriors. I could eat the whole basket myself and call that a meal. 


Photo by Leah LeMoine

Brats and Chicago dogs are all $5 at happy hour, but my PR pal Erica and I instead split a hot dog. The Take My Breath Away features currywurst, curry ketchup and a mountain of crispy potato sticks that transported me back to childhood and eating fistfuls of Pik-Nik shoestring potatoes with my dad. I love the curry powder flavor running through the frank itself and the ketchup. A brawny pretzel bun keeps everything together.  

Not into meat? No problem. Der Wurst offers veggie dogs and a stunning vegetarian board ($9 regularly; this and the meaty equivalent sausage board are $2 off during happy hour). Pretzel bread and herb pesto anchor a wooden board loaded with seasonal veg – some roasted and some pickled – and salted mixed nuts. The interplay of flavors, textures and temperatures make this assemblage so satisfying, colorful and fun. More restaurants should offer substantial veg versions of their charcuterie boards.    

Heads up: The regular food list’s lingua franca is decidedly NSFW. Sections and individual dishes have names ranging in raunch from the mild (Foreplay) to the vulgar (Dirty Sanchez; I advise caution before looking up that one on Urban Dictionary). Cleaned-up menus are available upon request if someone in your party is sensitive or if there are children at the table.


Photo by Leah LeMoine

THE DRINKS
Happy hour brings $1 off all booze and $20 bottles of wine. Glasses of wine are regularly $7, so even full-price is a bargain. Linger has dedicated sections for Old-Fashioneds (from classic to a Oaxacan with mezcal) and boilermakers (beer plus a complementary shot). 

Erica and I went with cocktails. She got the signature lavender lemonade (Tito’s vodka, lemon juice and culinary lavender, regularly $11), while I went with a Diplomático Daiquiri (a traditional daiquiri, not a fruity blended one, made with fresh citrus juices and Diplomático rum, regularly $12). It had been so long since I had a real daiquiri, and it was bracing and strong with citrus with the loveliest light sweetness from the rum. Perfecto.  

Next time I’ll try the blackberry Collins (blackberries and Hendrick’s gin, $12) and the Smokey Arroyo (Madre mezcal, grapefruit juice, lime juice and rosemary, $14). Because there will definitely be a next time. I can’t imagine a better place to linger over a cocktail with the love of my life. Schnitzel chicken fingers and I are going to be so happy together. 


Photo by Leah LeMoine

THE DETAILS
Happy hour runs Monday-Friday from 4-7 p.m. Additionally, all-day happy hour on Tuesdays includes $1 off booze, $4 pretzels, $5 brats and Chicago dogs, $5 fries and free pool. 

 FUN FACT
Linger Longer Lounge was established by the Genuine Concepts hospitality group (The Vig, The Womack, et al), but it was purchased in 2019 by Jade Noble, Cal Cronin and Manny Tripodis. Noble and Tripodis also bought Phoenix institution Frances boutique, another place I like to linger. 

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