Gettin’ Flirty Under $30: Captivated At Culinary Dropout

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If you’re anything like us, you have the taste of someone in their 40s or 50s, but the salary (or lack there of) of someone in their 20s. Luckily for our poor souls, most of the restaurants out of our price range offer pretty amazing happy hour prices. So, taking advantage of that, we’re proving you can still have a fun, delicious date for under $30.

CAPTIVATED AT CULINARY DROPOUT
As a part of Fox Restaurant Concepts, this relaxing space serves up a variety of unique gastropub fare, live music and a 21 and up game area. My boyfriend and I have wanted to try this place for a while, but their regular menu was a bit too expensive for our wallets. Once we realized their happy hour menu was in our budget, we were there in a heartbeat.

AMBIANCE
Culinary Dropout is definitely a go-to hangout for yuppies all around the Valley. We decided to go to the Phoenix location because we live close. Their about page reads: “From the chefs on the line with silver-studded ears and Mohawk hairdo, to the inked-up, decked-out bar staff mixologists shaking and stirring some of the most creative cocktails, we’re all dropouts here.” Everyone who worked there was young, attentive, happy and full of diversity. We loved the open concept inside the restaurant—especially the gigantic windows that made the room feel even bigger. When we arrived, there was an hour left of happy hour and we still got a really good table…close to the big windows!

DRINKS
My boyfriend is really into craft beers, but he was disappointed in the “mug beer” options. He opted for a Stella Artois. Unlike my craft brew enthusiast, I got a margarita— salt on the rim. It was pretty good for a well margarita. Not 100% satisfied with his beer choice, my love then tried the “Double Blind.” They bring you a mysterious canned beer in a brown bag, and then you choose a shot of liquor out of a bucket to wash it down with. My Wisconsin native boyfriend was excited to receive a Wisconsin beer and a shot of Jack Daniel’s.

FOOD
The food was probably my favorite part of date night, and judging by the fact that my boyfriend stayed quiet once the plates hit the table, I think it was his too. The HH food menu was all under $6, which was amazing. I tried to eat “healthy” and ordered hummus and Korean shrimp and chicken on a stick…but then my boyfriend ordered the pork belly nachos. I found myself picking out the pork belly because it was so good. The hummus was too sweet for me, but the chicken and shrimp were amazing, we just wished there was more of it.

TOTAL
$30 exact (minus tax) for three dishes, two beers, a margarita and a shot.

CULINARY DROPOUT
The Yard, 5632 N. Seventh Street, Phoenix, 602.680.4040, culinarydropout.com, happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday

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