Happy Hour Scene: Light Treason at Queen Vic
The Place: Queen Vic
Katharine Shilcutt The Jewel in the Crown, which is $1 cheaper during happy hour and worth the price either way.
The Deals: $5 daily wine specials, $4 daily draft specials, $1 off cocktails and bottled beers, bar bites menu
The Hours: 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays
The Scene: I'm not sure what "high tea" is. I have a general idea about what tea time entails -- mostly tea, and tiny sandwiches. But is high tea a more refined version of the afternoon tradition? The Kobe burger to the Big Mac? The "girlfriend experience" to the back-room massage? (Knowledge of the latter does not come from personal experience and does not constitute an endorsement of that kind of behavior.)
Queen Vic does high tea from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. But coworker Craig Hlavaty and I sat at the bar and engineered a more American afternoon -- booze, chicken wings and pizza.
The beer on special that day was a 512 IPA. Not bad at all for four bucks. Craig started with water and alternated between using Twitter on his phone and talking about Twitter. Just kidding. We also talked about guns and how he's pretty sure KPFT broadcasts over-the-top songs about gay subject matter late at night on the weekends. Raunchy, gay, late-night public radio: It's a good thing.
The lunch and dinner service at the classy pub has gotten plenty of attention since it opened last year, and the bar bites menu, with items all around $6 to $8, is not an afterthought. The wings were a nice snack - half a dozen, seasoned with distinct Indian spices, served with a high-quality bleu cheese dressing.
The pizza, though, was enough for a (relatively) cheap meal. And it wasn't standard Red Baron stuff - the strong masala flavor and thin, crispy crust made it a very distant cousin of anything that might ever be place on a shiny piece of silver cardboard. For some reason, Craig squirted lemon on it. I have no idea.
We picked up the cocktail menu after American tea time. Craig went with a rye-based cocktail called the 'Til Kingdom Come. The first downpour in a long while had just finished, and you could nearly see the sticky, dead air out on Richmond, so a Pimm's Cup sounded good to me. It was better than what you'd get at the Napoleon House in New Orleans; they take their time mixing drinks here, in a positive way.
There are a lot of bars that offer cheap food and discounted wine and beer at happy hour, but very few do it as creatively or as well as Queen Vic, even if stopping in so close to the Fourth of July felt a little unwholesome.
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