The Place: SqWires (1415 South 18th Street; 314-865-3522)
The Hours: Happy hour is offered Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.
The Deal: From 4 to 6 p.m., half-price appetizers are available. Bar prices run the duration of happy hour, featuring $3.75 local craft beers, $2 domestic bottles, $4 wine by the glass, $3 house mixed drinks and $2 off specialty cocktails.
The Scene: Located in historic Lafayette Square, SqWires serves as a scenic staple of the neighborhood. An expansive patio in front of the tall brick building offers cool and comfortable outdoor seating, shaded by umbrellas and carefully groomed hedges. Inside the appeal is rustic, accentuated by hanging lights and red vinyl booths. During the weekend diners are serenaded by local musicians who set up and play quietly on a small stage in the dining room -- look forward to a Bob Dylan cover or two, if that's your thing.
The Food: Half-price dishes include hoisin-roasted chicken wings with blue-cheese green-onion dip; maple-baked brie with figs, dates and golden raisins; stuffed Russet potatoes with smoked brisket; wild-mushroom goat-cheese flatbread; a platter of dips and spreads; calamari with tomato sauce; chicken-and-white-bean nachos; kale chips; and smoked-pork tacos.
Did SqWires make the grade? Find out on the next page.
The Verdict: Each dish we ordered came out with a flourish of colorful garnishes -- a sliver of red pepper here, fresh herbs sprinkled there and citrus wedges placed appropriately atop finished products. The kale chips benefited from a squeeze of fresh lemon, and while they were oily from their dip in the deep fryer, they served as a nice, crisp alternative to standard fried fare.
The loaded spuds graciously sated savory cravings. Each Russet wedge came topped with a slice of smoked brisket, melted cheddar and a dollop of creamy horseradish sauce. Pork tacos came topped with Napa cabbage slaw, cilantro and tomato salsa, served with a spicy Sriracha sour cream. Both the brisket and pork were a tad bit too tough to the touch, but the vibrantly flavorful components of each dish made up for it.
The "Cucumber Cooler" with Hendrick's gin, muddled cucumber, homegrown mint and simple syrup quenched our thirst with a refreshing edge. Other options deemed appropriate for the season include a "Lafayette Lemonade" with Blue Ribbon syrup and house-infused cherry bourbon or raspberry vodka; white sangria with peach, vanilla and strawberry; SqWires iced tea made with housemade sweet-tea syrup, fresh lemon juice and locally distilled oak-aged whiskey; and "Prosecco & Pear Punch" with pear juice, elderflower liqeur, grapefruit and Prosecco.
All in all, SqWires serves as an ideal summertime sip and snack spot. Pick a seat inside or out -- either way, you'll have a quaint, relaxing time.
The Rating: On a scale of one to five...
Previously on Happy Hour Handbook: - Layla - Five Star Burgers - Central Table Food Hall - Planter's House - Atomic Cowboy - Stella Blues - Triumph Grill - Lola - Basso - Blue Ocean Sushi - Hwy 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen - Gringo - Jax Cafe - Mile 277 Tap & Grill - Sandrina's - Mangia Italiano - Kirkwood Station Brewing Company - Steve's Hot Dogs on the Hill
We're always looking for some more happy hour meal deals. E-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.