Happy Hour Beat: High-End Happy Hour at Fat Ox
I’m a big fan of happy hour and I have a few guidelines I like to follow when possible. The first is that I try to find happy hours that go past 6pm because it’s very hard for me to get from work to happy hour and get a few drinks and snacks in before 6pm. Another happy hour guideline is to go to an upscale restaurant and enjoy delicious food and craft cocktails at reasonable prices that I can’t regularly afford outside of happy hour. Great atmosphere and attentive service are also on my happy hour checklist. My recent happy hour excursion at Fat Ox checked all of these boxes.
Fat Ox opened in November 2016. I had wanted to try it and was excited for my first experience. When I arrived around 5:30pm, it was pretty quiet. I was impressed by the beautiful space, furnishings and decor. I sat at the bar and perused the happy hour menu (they call it aperitivo hour after the Italian tradition of enjoying a small meal and drinks before dinner). There is a nice selection of cocktails and wine ranging from $8-$9. While I was waiting for a friend and fellow foodie to arrive, I ordered the basil grapefruit martini from the knowledgeable and friendly bartender. While $9 is at the higher end of the happy hour scale, it was a well-crafted, smooth beverage that packed a bit of a punch without tasting too strong.
We were offered fresh bread served with calabrian chile butter (a bit spicy) and a ricotta spread. We ordered veal meatballs for $10 served with creamy polenta, and burrata for $8 (similar to mozzarella), served with pickled beets, honey, mustard and crisp bread. By the time we finished these appetizers, the bar scene had livened up with a well-dressed crowd.
During aperitivo hour you can get a small portion of one of five pastas for $9 or three for $22. I love homemade pasta so I insisted we order three. Options range from simple dishes to pastas featuring lamb, rabbit and duck sausage. We had the gigli, a fluted cone-shaped pasta in a tangy tomato sauce; garganelli, a tubular pasta with truffle butter, speck (similar to prosciutto) and parmesan; and a pasta with tasty duck sausage, mushrooms and a unique huckleberry flavor.
There were a lot of intriguing items on the aperitivo menu that I didn’t get to try like the hangar steak and the affetatti misti (Italian meat and cheese platter) so I must go back soon. When I do go back, I’ll definitely have more pasta and try the rose sangria.
Location | 6316 N. Scottsdale Road (at Lincoln)
Apertivo Hour | 4:30-6:30pm daily in the bar
Favorite items | Fresh pasta (try one for $9 or three types for $33) and basil grapefruit martini ($9)