BEST HAPPY HOUR - 2007
Readers' Choice: Lyle's
Traditionally, "happy hour" comes after work: 4:00 p.m. till (if you're lucky) 7:00 p.m., just enough time to dish with co-workers without getting drunk enough to tell them how you really feel. But everyone knows the happiest hours come when the sun goes down—hence the glory that is the late-night happy hour. Twin Cities nightbirds are understandably fond of Figlio's two-dollar wines and mini-entrees. But for a real dusky treat, we recommend looking kitty-corner from that crowded bistro toward the land of skinny jeans, fusion cuisine, and the muy delicioso Borracho Breakfast. Sunday through Thursday, 10:30 p.m. to midnight, diners at Chino Latino line their booze-filled stomachs ($3 beers and bloodies) with delicacies from a limited but fantastic bar menu honoring the Latino side of Chino's hot-zone motif. Dollar tacos are the best deal: Ingredients change daily, but bar-goers can rely on some tasty and authentic offering of beef, chicken, and/or pork. Order a couple, or splurge on the three-dollar Mexican pizza. For bigger appetites—and don't believe the health nuts; it's perfectly okay to stuff yourself before bedtime—there's a fairly standard black-bean-and chicken enchilada, a steal at three bucks. But the star of the "Drunken Breakfast" is its most inspired item: French Toast of the Dead. Made from pan de muerto, a sugary bread loaf prepared during Latin America's Dia de los Muertos festivities, this gooey chunk of paraíso is worth staying up for. Chino tops it with banana slices and covers the whole plate in a rum-caramel syrup that will get true boozers licking their plates. Best of all, the Borracho Breakfast happy hour isn't relegated to the bar, which fills up immediately most nights. In other words, this is the only time you can escape Chino's swanky dining room with a full belly, a buzz, and a bill for less than 20 bones.