Well, this blog has been active for about a month or two now, and I haven’t yet written about any happy hours. Shame on me! It’s not because I don’t go to them, I definitely do. But most of them are unmemorable or with people who aren’t comfortable with the idea of me whipping out my phone and taking pictures of everything. Can you believe that?
All that changed when I went to Zengo last week. I was there on a friend date with fellow book clubber KF. We’ve been to Zengo together before – it’s convenient for both of us after work, we like the drink specials, and it’s a good happy hour spot for a smaller group (in our case, a group of two!).
I do feel the need to review Zengo, though, by saying more than just: “oh yea, that place is great for happy hour!” Because it does have some limitations.
For example: I had been a few months ago with coworker LV, who is responsible for about 85% of the cool things that I know about or do in the city. Case in point: she introduced me to Zengo! And also to my ballet studio. And also to the wonder that is the Shaw neighborhood. (That last one might be a little tongue-in-cheek). So LV and I went to Zengo with a group of a few other people on a Friday night. The place was a madhouse! Standing room only, super loud, servers rushing by, hard to get the bartender’s attention. I think she was disappointed that it hadn’t blown my mind on that first visit. But fast forward a few months to my friend date with KF, and we’re sitting pretty at a lovely low table right in the front by the window, with attentive service and just a lively hubbub of chatter from the other happy-hour-goers.
So, Zengo happy hour tip #1: Go early, go on a weekday evening, and minimize the size of your group.
Fast forward a few minutes. KF and I are deciding what to order. “I have been craving that calamari salad since the last time we came here,” she says. But alas, Zengo isn’t doing the calamari salad on the happy hour menu any more! Boo. We asked the server and they do still serve it, but not at the happy hour price (dishes at happy hour are on a select menu and range from $5-$7). So, we made do with the edamame and the vegetarian sushi, which were both delicious.
Zengo happy hour tip #2: Food dishes can be snatched off the menu at any time, so don’t get your heart set on a specific one. Also, vegetarians beware: Zengo tends to have lots of meat and fish dishes.
Despite not getting our favorite dish, KF and I were very happy with our beverage choices. She got the pineapple mojito, which was good but a little too sweet for me. I got the white wine which was perfect with the vegetarian dishes we ordered.
Zengo happy hour tip #3: Order the drinks. They are yummy and cheap. But if you’re sensitive to sweetness, steer clear of the margarita.
I will be back to Zengo for sure. It would make a good second or third date spot, and it’s always perfect for catching up with a friend. If they only brought back the calamari salad I’d live there. Oh, and I almost forgot…
Zengo happy hour tip #4: Sign up for the Zengo mailing list and they’ll send you a coupon for a complementary drink! You’re welcome.