The concept of happy hour came into being during the Prohibition, when people would gather for an hour at a speakeasy or at a friend’s home for a cocktail. Once Prohibition ended, restaurants and bars adopted the idea of a happy hour offering discounted snacks and beverages to boost business. I have always loved happy hour, and when my friend and fellow blogger (and Happy Hour Queen), Dianna from DIG Scottsdale, suggested we meet for a “progressive happy hour” along High Street in Phoenix, I was all in.
High Street feels like North Scottsdale but is technically located in Phoenix, or what is known as City North. Just north of the 101 and east of Desert Ridge Marketplace, High Street has a mix of condos, restaurants, and bars concentrated along a few blocks, creating a city feel in the suburbs. Dianna had been telling me for months that High Street was THE place to go to experience happy hour. So, I placed myself in her capable hands to show me the best– and most budget friendly– that High Street happy hour has to offer.
I met her right at 3 o’clock at Nori Sushi on the western end of the street, and we worked our way eastward. I realize there are many places in addition to the ones I have mentioned below, but we had a mission: drinks and appetizers at 5 places under $75. Hope you enjoy what we found and feel free to drop me a line if you find yourself on High Street, Phoenix. Please note: the following prices do not include tip.
I was excited to try this sushi restaurant from HL Concepts, the group behind Sizzle Korean BBQ. Nori Sushi offers happy hour Monday thru Friday from 3-6 pm. Drink and food specials are very reasonably priced from $3 – $6. I ordered an Asahi draft beer with a shot of sake for $5 to accompany the Yellowtail Maki roll and Shrimp Tempura appetizers, each for $5. My total was $10.86 with tax.
Part of the Humble Pie group, Humble Bistro is a charming restaurant decorated with Edison bulbs, stamped metal ceiling, and brick walls. I ordered a $6 frosé to complement the 110-degree heat, and split the meatballs and hummus platter with Dianna. My total was $12.77.
Ocean Prime Phoenix
Dianna wanted to hit Ocean Prime to show me that you can do a happy hour at an upscale chain on a budget. Ocean Prime tends to compete with the Dominick’s crowd for this part of town and offers classic steaks and seafood dishes. From what I understand, the happy hour menu is a little pared down after COVID (in fact it is not even on their website), but we were still able to order some lamb lollipops, tuna tartare, and a delightful drink called Berries & Bubbles, Belvedere Citrus Vodka with marinated blackberries, fresh lemon, and Domaine Chandon Brut champagne served with dry ice. Despite this decadence, my share came out to $20.36.
Mellow Mushroom, a pizzeria featuring craft beer, calzones and stone-baked pizzas, has the distinction of having a happy hour Monday thru Friday from 3-6, and then a “reverse happy hour” from 10 to closing, daily. I ordered a Blue Moon beer and tried to split some meatballs with Dianna, but at this point was honestly quite full. My share came to $9.36.
The Stir Coffee Bar
One of the biggest surprises for me this year was experiencing the Gin & Reel bar in The Stir Coffee Bar. Tucked behind a blue telephone booth, Gin & Reel is a speakeasy bar that plays Pink Martini to a varied crowd of Millennials and retirees. They do NOT offer happy hour; rather, this was my nightcap, and I ordered a Mary Pickford, a Prohibition era concoction of white rum, fresh pineapple juice, grenadine and Maraschino cherry liqueur. No food is served here but that was fine by me. I paid $14 for my drink, $15.20 with tax. My total for the night came to $68.55, tips not included. I had plenty to eat and more than enough to drink. My ride home via Uber was close to $30…now if I can just figure out how to Uber on a budget!
Wanting to expand your Phoenix bar crawl this summer? Here’s where to find the best tiki drinks in Phoenix.