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Ward 6 Is Like Happy Hour at Cheers in Payne-Phalen

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If you're an Eastsider, you already know that Payne-Phalen is a happening place. But the rest of us often need to be reminded of the serious hospitality going on in the northeast corner of St. Paul. To that end, the Hot Dish checked out Ward 6, to see what kind of libation bargains they have to offer.

Rev your engines and go east -- right after you get the scoop on the happy hour deals here.

See also: Bayona at Ward 6: A tribute-worthy drink of the week

Where: Just north of Phalen Boulevard, Ward 6 is in an old saloon that was once owned by the Hamm's Brewery. The bar is a beautiful relic from the building's long history as a place to get your draft on. If you can belly up, it's the best seat in the house.

When: Monday through Friday, 4 to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 10 p.m. to midnight.

What's the vibe: This is Cheers for the East Side set. The room is warm and friendly in both decor and company. We prefer the bar, but the tables are quite fine too. Likely one of the owners is in attendance -- either Eric Foster or Bob Parker -- and will chat you up just the right amount to make you feel comfortable. They're equally eager to pour you an Aviation, a Hamm's, or even an adult milkshake.

Fries that are tasty and always the right price!

Fries that are tasty and always the right price!

What can I eat for $10 or less: There are no food items on special for happy hour but almost everything on the Food for Drinking section of the regular menu rings in at $10 or less, including fries, cheese curds, meat skewers, poutine, meatballs, and even beer mussels. Several salads, all the desserts, and the veggie burger (from other parts of the menu) also cost less than a tenner.

What can I drink for $5 or less: At happy hour, there are $3 rail drinks, $3 pint drafts (think Minnesota craft beers like Surly, Steel Toe, and Flat Earth) and select $3 glasses of wine (L'Orangerie Chardonnay, Colli Euganie Prosecco, and Awesome Plonc).

What's so good it's worth getting even though it's not a happy hour deal: Sure, the grub comes in large, satisfying portions, whether it's shrimp and grits or a meat skewer or a pub curry, but the cocktails are the real reason to become a regular. We're talking about $6 Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, plus a whole mess of other drinks that will cost you $8 at the most. We're fond of the Fitzgerald ($6), a smooth mixture of bourbon, ginger beer, and bitters that honors one of St. Paul's most famous sons, and know we'll be back to sample either the Irish Sweepshake or the Col. Sanders from the adult milkshake list.

Ward 6 858 Payne Ave., St. Paul 651-348-8181

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