Saturday, June 8, 2013

Zona 78

Zona 78 definitely has one of the best happy hours in town.  They offer half-off appetizers, half-off well drinks, $5 glasses of wine, $2 dollar domestic beers, and $3 dollar craft beer.  The happy hour runs Monday through Saturday from 3-6.  I do wish the happy hour went until 7, but the deals are too good to pass up.

Beer List
Wine List

First, on to the drinks.  The drink menu has an impressive selection of wine and beer.  I passed on the beer this time around and chose the Riesling.  As I stated before, all wine is $5 except for some premium wines that are sold for $8.

Delicious Riesling

The food menu is fairly varied, though it does mainly consist of bread and cheese.  On my visit, the waitress told us that they're getting rid of their "Bruschetta & Flatbread" section for their summer menu.   I'm not sure if they're going to be replacing them with anything because if not the appetizer section is going to be pretty small. My group ended up ordering the garlic bread plus cheese and the antipasti.

Garlic, please.

The garlic bread was insanely garlicky, so beware if you happen to be on a date or something.  I just make my boyfriend deal with my delicious garlic breath.  The bread has a bit too much cheese, and the sides of the bread were so hard they were basically inedible.

I wish I was eating this right now.

The Antipasti Platter is where it's at.  It comes with various meats, cheeses, and veggies accompanied by balsamic and olive oil.  I wish all antipasti platters were like this.

I will definitely be back for the Antipasti platter and wine again.  I'm hoping their revamped menu will add some dishes that make this a more balanced meal.

Time: Monday-Saturday 3 to 6 pm.
Specials: Half-off appetizers and well drinks, $5 glasses of wine, $2 domestic beer, $3 craft beer

Rating: 4.0/5 shots

Zona 78
78 W. River Rd
Tucson, AZ 85704

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I'm sorry loyal followers, I know it's been over a year since I last updated, but I'm back and ready to give you the happening on the happy hour scene. 

I've been lucky enough to visit a few time now, and it really is a phenomenal happy hour.  Tavolino is on the corner of Skyline and Campbell, across the street from La Encantada.  The restaurant has some killer reviews on Yelp, and I can see why.

There's a swanky atmosphere at this restaurant- dim lighting, a nice inside bar, an outside patio area, and attractive waiters.  Happy hour is served in the bar area as well as on the patio.    They have a nice menu of wine (sparkling, white, and red) for 5-6 dollars and beer for 3.  If you're looking for hard alcohol during happy hour this is not the place.

I've had two of the white wines on the menu, the arneis, and the trebbiano di abruzzo.  They were both nice, crisp and refreshing.  I've also had the cocktail with prosecco, aperol, and orange.  It's not your everyday drink, and I really enjoyed it.  It was the right mix of dry and fruity, which is hard to do.

The food menu boasts some great deals, pizza and assorted Italian bar snacks starting at $5, and salads starting at $4.  I love a happy hour where you can get a full meal for cheap, and this is definitely one of them.

I've had the margherita pizza, the farinata, the cheese board, and the arancini.  The pizzas are definitely enough for two, and if you want the most bang for your buck, this is the way to go.  The farinata are garbanzo bean fries, and while the texture takes  a bit to get used to, the truffle oil flavor is delicious.  The cheese board is good, but isn't a large portion, and I wouldn't suggest getting it at happy hour. The arancini are awesome, who ever invented the idea of stuffing mozzarella into balls of risotto was a genius.  It's my favorite dish on the happy hour menu.

Arancini for the win

I suggest checking out Tavolino's happy hour if you haven't already.  Delicious food at great prices, it goes until 7 (2 hours to booze after work), and wine galore.

Time: Monday-Saturday from 3 to 7.
Specials:  Discounted wine, beer, and food.

Rating: 5/5 shots

2890 E Skyline Dr  
Tucson, AZ 85718

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sullivan's Steakhouse

Sullivan's offers a great happy hour deal on Thursday and Sunday nights, from 5 pm until 2 am.  We got there early to get some dinner and drinks while we watched the monsoon from the covered patio.  But, the party was really popping when we left, the bar area full of young professionals unwinding on a Thursday night.

Happy Hour Martinis
Sullivan's offers all of their signature martinis and wine for 6 dollars.  There were no beer specials, but the combination of martinis and wine made up for it.  The drink menu had something for everyone, I went went the CEO, basically a dirty (though you can have it clean) vodka martini with blue cheese stuffed olives.
The CEO. The blue cheese stuffed olives were the star.
One friend went with the Long Island Tea Martini.  The drink mixed Smirnoff orange vodka, Bacardi superior rum,  Bombay gin, Cointreau, Sweet & Sour, and finest call agave nectar.  The flavors in the drink were well balanced and all in all, delicious.
Long Island Tea Martini
The other two in our group couldn't turn down a nice glass of red on a rainy night.  Only a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon were on special, so they went with a Cabernet.
Sullivan's also offers half off their bar food menu.  Food is served from 5 to 11 pm, so you can't get your late night eats on.  The food is pretty high quality for happy hour food and for me, a substantial meal. 
Happy Hour Bar Food Menu
I went with the Gnocchi, normally 6 dollars so you get the portion for 3 dollars.  The gnocchi was prepared well in a cheesy, creamy white sauce.  Kind of like a grown up version of Mac and Cheese. There were about equal amounts mushrooms and spinach to gnocchi, so you can feel good about getting some vegetable intake for the day.
Gnocchi- Wild mushroom ragout, spinach & parmesan.
The Barbecue Beef Stack was probably the smallest portion that came to the table, and of course my friend with the largest appetite is the one who ordered it.  He definitely didn't feel that this was large enough for a meal.  Though he didn't complain about the taste at all.  The entree normally runs for 9 dollars, so it's 4.50 during happy hour.
BBQ Beef Stack- BBQ braised beef, white cheddar cheese, roasted red peppers & avocado salsa.
The grand daddy of entrees on the bar menu is the so-called "best burger in town."  The plate is the same size as the burger on the regular menu and comes with housemade potato chips on the side.  The burger looked great, and the potato chips were crispy and nicely seasoned.  I only wish they had a fancy dipping sauce to take them to the next level.
"The Best Burger in Town"- with cheddar cheese.
Sullivan's is definitely offering the best of both worlds with their happy hour menu.  The martinis and food were delicious and they offer a bar and a patio to enjoy them on.  This is on the expensive end of happy hours in town and the portion sizes seem to differ from appetizer to appetizer, but overall you're getting to eat steakhouse food for cheap.

Time: Thursdays and Sundays from 5pm to 2am.  (Food stops being served at 11)
Specials:  6 dollar wine and martinis, half-priced bar food menu.

Rating:  4.5/5 shots.

Sullivan's Steakhouse
1785 East River Road
Tucson, AZ 85718-7631

Friday, August 19, 2011

Om Modern Asian Kitchen

Om is a gem in the Tucson community.  They have a eclectic menu of Asian eats, their take on Indian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese.  And on top of it, they're doing it all well.  Add in a sleek ambiance and a good happy hour, and I really don't think you need anything else. 

Happy hour runs daily from 3 to 6 pm and offers deals on beer, wine, specialty drinks, sushi, and other appetizers.  Basically, if you want it, you can get it. On our visit my friend and I explored their specialty cocktail menu, which runs for 5 dollars.  I ordered the Wasabi Bloody Mary and my friend ordered the Asian Peartini.  They have a good selection of wine for 5 dollars a glass, and their beers are priced at 3.75 for the better selection, while bud light, etc are 2 dollars. 
Wasabi Bloody Mary- Vodka, Bloody Mary mix, Wasabi, Black Pepper and garnished with a Ginger Olive.

Asian Peartini- Pear Vodka, Lime Juice, Sierra Mist

The bloody mary was pretty fantastic.  I love the taste of wasabi, and horseradish in general, so if anything my complaint is that I wish the drink had more of a kick.  The Peartini was good, albeit a little too sweet for my tastes.  But, my friend enjoyed it.

The place Om really succeeds is in their food menu.  They offer an array of Asian-inspired appetizers as well as a fairly comprehensive sushi menu.

We ordered some edamame for the table.  The edamame is $ 2.25 and while not a large portion, comes steamed and lightly salted.  And it's always one of my favorite appetizers when eating sushi.
We explored the sushi menu for our main meal.  One of the best reasons to get sushi during happy hour is that you can get a full meal for cheap and most of it isn't deep-fried.  We ordered Nigiri Sushi, which runs on average around 3 dollars for 2 pieces, as well as a couple of sushi rolls.  They have a large selection of vegetable sushi and on this visit I ordered the vegetable roll, $3.20.  The rolls with fish are a bit more expensive, but nothing for more than five dollars.  The rolls are larger than usual, so you're definitely getting bang for you buck. 
Yellowtail and Albacore
Vegetable roll and Crab-Avocado Roll

 Overall, this happy hour impressed and I cannot wait to get back to Om to try some of their appetizers and maybe even check them out for a full-price dinner.  Sacrilege!  My only wish is that the happy hour lasted until at least 7.

Time: Daily from 3 to 6 pm.
Specials:  5 dollar specialty cocktails and wine, 2-3.75 dollar beer, discounted appetizers and sushi.

Rating: 4.5/5 shots

Om Modern Asian Kitchen
1765 East River Road
Tucson, AZ 85718-7631

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hub Restaurant & Creamery

I was a bit apprehensive going into my Hub visit because I've heard good and bad reviews, mainly regarding the service.  But, if there's anytime to check a place out, it's obviously happy hour.

Happy hour runs from daily from 11 am to 6 pm, and they've recently started doing a reverse happy hour from Sunday-Wednesday from 10 pm to close.  Though, I'm pretty sure the reverse happy hour is only a summer deal, and the specials are a bit different than their regular happy hour.

Hub has drink specials during happy hour, but none on food.  At the time of the review, draft beer is 3 dollars, and draft wine is 5 dollar.  I noticed that Hub has since raised its prices to 3.5 dollars for beer and 6 dollars for wine.

The drink menu has a wide selection of both beer and wine, which is pretty exciting.  On our visit I ordered a Red Nectar ale, while my friends opted for the chardonnay.
Red Nectar for 3 dollars.  Yes, please.
Draft chardonnay.
The downside to the happy hour is that they don't offer food.  However, they have a few appetizers, wings and fries covered with various toppings for around 6 dollars.  They also have macaroni and cheese for 5 dollars.  So, I guess if you want to get a cheap meal, you can.  Be aware that their actual entrees are about 15 dollars on average. 

While I wish there were specials on their delicious specialty cocktails and food, Hub is a pretty good place to get cheap beer or wine in the downtown area.

Time: 11 am- 6 pm daily.
Specials: 3.5 dollar draft beer & 6 dollar draft wine.

Rating: 3/5 shots

Hub Restaurant and Creamery
266 East Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701

Friday, June 10, 2011

P.F. Changs

P.F. Chang's offers up cheap drinks and substantial food during their happy hour.  A friend and I aimed to get a full meal and we succeeded easily.  Their happy hour runs from 3-6 pm daily, and accordingly all of their specials are priced between 3 and 6 dollars.
Drink menu

Their drink menu has a wide range of options; beer, wine, sake, and cocktails.  Although, I considered sake or one of their specialty cocktails, it was still early and there was still lots of drinking to be done, so I settled on a beer.  Their import drafts run for 3 dollars during happy hour, when they're normally around 5.  My friend and I both ordered Kirins and were quite happy with our decision. 
Kirin Ichiban
Onto the food!  P.F. Chang's advertises dim sum and street fare as their main happy hour selling points.  Thus, lots of different dumplings, fusion tacos, and other miscellaneous appetizers fill the menu.  We stuck to the dim sum menu on this visit.

We ordered two orders of dumplings and lettuce wraps to share.  I've had the lettuce wraps before and they're pretty spectacular.  Judging by the other tables, we weren't the only people who thought so.  In fact, I think they could only sell lettuce wraps and stay in business.  The main portion is pretty large, but there was not enough lettuce.  We spent a good 10 minutes trying to flag someone down to bring us more.  There's a lot of people walking around, they just seem to avoid eye contact causing you to be that rude customer who has to yell to get their attention. 
Do yourself a favor and order the lettuce wraps
The dumplings are not offered on their regular menu, so I was intrigued to try them.  It's rare that a restaurant serves food specifically for happy hour.  We ordered both the pork and vegetable dumplings.  They come three in a serving, in a little steamer tray with dipping sauce on the side.  The dumplings taste better than the ones you can buy in the freezer section, but don't quite reach "dim sum" level.  Still, we were pleased with them. 
Vegetable dumplings

Pork Dumplings
I was definitely satisfied by this happy hour.  It left me both full and content, providing the perfect base for a night of continued drinking.  As always, I wish the happy hour ran until 7, but then maybe they would increase the top price to 7 dollars.  I guess I'll take what I can get.

Time: Daily, 3-6 pm
Specials: Drink and food specials all priced between 3 and 6 dollars.

Rating: 4/5 shots

P.F. Chang's
1805 East River Road Suite 100
Tucson, AZ 85718

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Ra has a lot going on during happy hour.  It's offered Monday thru Saturday from 4-7 pm and Sundays have their own special going on.  I like the long hours and it's one of the few happy hours in town that runs until 7.
Drink menu- beer, wine, and cocktails

The specials are pretty phenomenal with two separate menus for food and drinks.  Everything is between 2-7 dollars, so not putting too much stress on the wallet.

Food menu, lots of options to make a substantial meal
This wasn't my first visit to Ra and while I'm always partial to the sake bomb, I tried to be slightly classier on this visit.  My friend and I both went with the sake sangria,  red for her and white for me.  The drinks have a nice mixture of sake, wine, and fruit juice, so they're sweet, but not cloyingly so.  The white is a bit lighter than the red and more summery, perfect for the Tucson heat.

There was some fruit in the drink, and I'm always down for a cherry.
Good, but I prefer the white.
 The food is really the main attraction of the happy hour.  There's both sushi and appetizers offered on the menu, and I always walk away pretty pleased with the meal. We decided to order the vegetable tempura, shisito peppers, and the Viva Las Vegas roll.

Tiny serving of vegetable tempura, $6
We both thought the serving size of the dish was a little puny, and it's one of the more expensive dishes on their happy hour menu.  I've ordered it before and it's definitely gone down in quantity.  The food was good, but I'm not sure if you can ever go wrong with deep-fried anything.  The vegetables were composed of asparagus, onion, squash and sweet potato.  Two of each piece, so it's perfect for two people, but it wouldn't be substantial for a larger group.

Viva Las Vegas roll- kani kama crab & cream cheese rolled in rice & seaweed, lightly tempura battered & topped with spicy tuna, kani kama crab mix & sliced lotus root; finished with a sweet eel sauce & spinach tempura bits
Close up on the roll

The Viva Las Vegas roll is one of Ra's signature items.  There's really a lot going on in the roll- crab, cream cheese, tuna in a nice tempura fried package.  The roll is normally $12 dollars, but is 7 during happy hour.  My friend enjoyed the roll, but said she wouldn't order it unless it was discounted. 

The shisito peppers might be my favorite thing on the menu.  They are sauteed with "asian seasoning," I think it tastes like a mixture of garlic, ginger, and soy sauce and served about 15-20 in an order.  They're mainly mild, but some of them have a bite to them.  These are only 4 dollars during happy hour, which is pretty normal for a side dish.
Shisito Peppers... yum

I'm a fan of Ra in general, but there's a few things that bother me.  One, the dim lighting.  They have a nice patio out front (my favorite place to sit), but it's always packed.  Basically, to make happy hour timing, you sit inside where it's so dark you can't see your food.  I know they're trying to create some ambiance, but it would be nice if they could turn the lights up a little.  Second, the food always comes in a strange order.  We got the sushi roll right away, while the peppers came 5 minutes later, and the tempura after that.  It's fine if you're sharing everything, but when you're not it's a bit awkward for the person to look at their food pretending that they don't want to eat it. 

I wouldn't suggest eating here regularly as the bill tends to stack up.  But, the food is consistently good and you can't beat the variety of the food and drink during happy hour.
Enjoying my sake sangria in the dim restaurant.
Time:  Monday- Saturday, 3-7 pm.
Specials:  Large selection of food and drink priced between 2-7 dollars.

Rating: 4.5/5 shots

2905 E Skyline Dr # 289,
Tucson, AZ 85718