Mabel's On Main: Happy Hour Report Card

By Amanda Kellyberg, May 8th, 2012

The Spot: Mabel's on Main, 7018 East Main Street, Scottsdale. 480-889-5580.

The Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday

The Details: The Mabel's happy hour keeps it simple: One menu flips from regular prices straight into "Matinee" prices, which are around 50% off. These discounts include both drinks and appetizers, from the popular Deviled Eggs Three Ways (caviar, bacon, and chive, just $4 during happy hour) to the Butter Lettuce Salad (with golden beats and sherry vinaigrette, also $4). Also check out Wine Down Wednesdays and Industry Night Sundays (both 7 p.m. to close) for further discounts.

If you've read about Mabel's before, chances are you got distracted by the promise of a VIP room (tucked away behind a secret-bookshelf door, which any Addams Family fan can appreciate) and the two-way mirror that allows its premier guests to clandestinely survey the rest of the evening's patrons.

With only these stories of opulence and selectivity to go on, there may be a moment when -- as your eyes adjust from coming inside out of the sunlight -- you feel extremely out of place. The good news is: That moment is fleeting. However sleek and exclusive Mabel's may get as the sun sets, the matinee prices go hand in hand with a warm and welcoming atmosphere: the perfect spot to lose a couple of hours with a few good friends.

The Interior: It's the kind of space you'd expect to find Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall after a long day on the set, sipping cocktails and looking effortlessly too cool for mankind in general. A throwback to classic gentleman's clubs (where earls and baronets could meet over cigars and brandy to discuss the mating habits of newts, the merits of speculation, and those tedious wastrels, the middle class), Mabel's is all brown leather wingback chairs, roomy booths, and dark woods. The low lighting of this film noir bar and lounge turns it into an oasis from the bright desert sun, which is turned away at the thick entrance door (no doubt for its attire -- as a sign in the window warns). Old-glamour accents like sparkling white chandeliers add another layer of luxury, popping against the exposed brick walls.

The Cost: Two appetizers and two glasses of wine came out to $16 before tip and tax.

The Conclusion: Old Town Scottsdale is a happy hour haven, as the overflowing patios can attest. But what really sets Mabel's apart from its fellows are the hours. Not only does their happy hour cater to those with day jobs, but it includes weekends, too. This may only be the result of its slightly off-the-strip location (down a long side street of art galleries, which you should absolutely incorporate into a full evening) -- or, if not that, its reputation for late-night splendor -- but either way, four hours of happy-hour deals starting at 5 p.m. just can't be topped. With big discounts on their usual menu items, from apps to drinks, plus friendly and attentive service, it's hard not to want to don a porkpie hat and the mantle of "regular" after one evening at Mabel's.

Overall Grade: A

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June 11th, 2012

Unless you have been living under a rock you know we love Old Town and personally we think it has the best places for Happy Hour in town (ok we admit, we might be a little biased here)! So we are always up for showing off our town and what better way to do it then by promoting Happy Hour every Thursday at 5pm. You can check Facebook and Twitter to find out where we will be next time. Here are the results of our recommendations; we will of course be updating this weekly so stay tuned! See the lengths we are willing to go for you to bring you these updates! I swear it’s a tough job!

We decided to step it up and get all dressed up in our big girl clothes for this week’s Happy Hour at Mabel’s on Main and may I say we are a sharp dressed crew! We were looking good against the dark wood interior, studded leather chairs and fine crystal chandeliers. Did we mention that there is even a library bookcase here behind which is a secret room that seats 20 for those special occasions. Think boardroom or gentlemen’s club and you will have an idea of the luxurious surroundings of Mabel’s. If you haven’t been to Mabel’s yet, it is modeled after the Speakeasy’s of the past and definitely evokes a sense of that era so leave your flip-flops at home. Lots of booths, couches and ample bar seating allow you to be comfortable, sit back and enjoy great cocktails, great food and great company.

Let us start by saying that Mabel’s does Happy Hour daily from Tues – Sun (they are closed Monday) from 5 pm – 9pm, so no need to rush to get here before Happy Hour ends. In addition Mabel’s features Wine Down Wednesday’s from 7pm – close where selected bottles of premium wine are just $20. In case you haven’t heard Mabel’s is well known for their hand crafted cocktails and you can find some interesting ones on the Happy Hour menu. We were eager to try some of the hand crafted cocktails and they didn’t disappoint. If you have never tasted a Moscow Mule it is comprised of vodka, fresh lime and ginger beer, which came served in a traditional ice cold copper mug. Very refreshing on a hot afternoon and it is as good as it looks!

Another specialty drink was the Pims featuring Pims liqueur, a gin based spirit with the flavor of fruit and spice. A complete list of the hand crafted cocktails offered by Mabel’s can be found here. If cocktails are not your thing, rest easy, Mabel’s offers a great selection of wine as well, the Malbec was excellent!

Not to be outdone by the selection of cocktails, Mabel’s also offers great food and matinee items to accompany your drink. We selected a sampling from both the matinee and regular menu to give you a better idea of what is available to you. We assure you, nothing here disappoints and everything is designed to be a visible and edible experience, the food really is as good as it looks, really! The hard part was deciding what to try, thank god we have a good crew that is up to the challenge!

Selected off the regular menu, we just HAD to try the Bites of Filet! Small, juicy and full of flavor, they did not disappoint (unlike some of our dates, but that is another story). Grilled to perfection, they are definitely a must try item and very shareable. The bites are served with a horseradish cream sauce if you want to bump the flavor up a notch or two.

If seafood is more to your liking, the Steamer Clams were equally delicious. They were not overcooked and were served in a simple garlic broth with shallots.

It used to be that no self-respecting restaurant would have Mac & Cheese on the menu unless it was a kids meal. No more, Mac & Cheese has become respectable again and Mabel’s has their own version. The noodles are not the traditional elbow macaroni but have been replaced here with a Mostaccioli noodle which is a nice touch. Garlic breadcrumbs are also added for a more upscale Mac & Cheese than your mom used to make.

A favorite of everyone was the Soft Pretzels with a mustard dipping sauce. As you can see, the pretzels are ginormous (yep, Webster has included this word in the dictionary now) and not a twist to be found. No fancy fondue pot and small forks here, just use your fingers and have fun!

Lollipop, lollipop Oh lolli lolli lolli. How about Chicken Lollipops with a ranch dipping sauce? Why not? Coated in a spicy buffalo sauce lollipops are not as messy as wings but still just as tasty. Good thing too, because who wants to wear their appetizer? The chicken was meaty and tender, and the sauce had enough of a kick to please those that liked their food a bit spicy but not too much for us wimps! Hard to please everyone, but these found a nice middle ground.

An unexpected treat was the House Cured Olives. Now I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of olives but I would certainly try these again. The olives are marinated with orange, rosemary and thyme and come in a variety of sizes and colors. Try them all, each has a unique taste and the serving dish makes it easy to pick out your favorites!

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Mabel's On Main Cheeseburger

By Sandy Wasserman, June 8th, 2012

Mabel’s on Main isn’t your typical restaurant, probably not a restaurant at all but more of a lounge or speak easy of days gone by with its dark wood interior, big leather chairs and emphasis on cocktails. That does not mean that don’t serve food, they do but not a full menu, mostly smaller plates meant for sharing along with 2 burgers at $9 & $14.

I opted for the Angus Cheeseburger ($9) as the mixed in deviled egg on the other one did not do it for me. It’s a no frills kind of cheeseburger with just the basic of toppings that include Bibb lettuce, tomato slices and melted cheese. The only unique part of this is it’s served on a lightly toasted English muffin which I found to be nice touch, and is stabbed with an olive as garnish. Satisfactorily prepared to my request and satisfying my desire for a burger it was good. A generous portion of Kennebeck fries take up more than half the plate and were dark in color and tasted good. This burger can be found on the “matinee” a.k.a Happy Hour, page of the menu and is served from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.

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Mad Men Party at Mabel's

By Megan Finnerty, July 20th, 2010

Pour yourself a drink.

Then get dressed.

You have a party to go to Sunday night.

Mabel's on Main invites you to get dapper like Don Draper and his better half, Betty, and watch the premier of Mad Men's fourth season at the swanky Scottsdale bar.

Chef Aaron May says he's watching previous episodes for gastronomic inspiration for the night, looking to add to a menu of culinary classics that already includes throwback dishes such as chicken Kiev, oysters Rockefeller and deviled eggs.

However, drinks have more of a starring role on the show than dishes. As such, while there's no new drinks menu for Sunday night, I recommend channeling your inner Don by ordering an Old Fashioned or your inner Roger Sterling by knocking back a Stoli martini.

Show up early to make like Duck Phillips and have a few too many. The restaurant and bar will be showing the 7 p.m. feed on DirecTV, so be there in time to get a spot on the couch in the private back room.

Period-appropriate dress is encouraged. Gentlemen, a skinny tie at least. Ladies, red lipstick would be a good place to start.

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By Amanda Ghezzi-Rumone, December 12th, 2011

I have a new favorite spot in town. Although it’s not a new name in Scottsdale nightlife, it has only recently been introduced to my husband and I. And in the past few weeks we have been loving Mabel’s on Main. It’s no surprise; this is one of Aaron May’s spots. Aaron’s restaurant concepts have quickly become the most sought after spots in town.

Upon walking in, I was absolutely amazed. The stunning interior is reminiscent of a vintage speakeasy; something you’d expect to find in New York or Chicago. The deep red leather booths, inner brick walls, dark wood floors, sensual lightening and gorgeous fixtures radiate vibes of sexiness. This lounge location, nestled in the middle of the bustling nightlife district, maintains a very exclusive and intimate feel. The private room, available for parties and bottle service, is hidden by a one-way mirror and secret entrance. Although a trendy spot to be seen, I love that Mabel’s on Main is filled with adults. It’s a place to go if wanting to escape the younger feel commonly associated with the Old-Town Scottsdale party scene.

The bar at Mabel’s serves as a focal point; grande in size and visually remarkable with rows and rows of bottles of liquor waiting to be poured. The mixologists at Mabel’s on Main are amongst the best in town. With ingredients so fresh you’d think they had a garden in back, these pros whip up innovative and delicious drinks, some on the specialty cocktail menu and some are so exclusive they’re only available for one night. I suggest trying the Basil Martini. Words cannot describe the flavor. If it’s not on the menu that night, ask for Greg. This GM is one of the best we’ve ever seen. He runs a flawless location, and is sure to get you the drink you want.

Although a lounge feel, Mabel’s boasts an impressive menu that’s great for dinner or small bites through the night. Being a vegan, I opted for Butter Lettuce Salad and Soft Gourmet Pretzels with Spicy Mustard. Being a more adventurous diner, my husband raved for days about the Tuna Carpaccio, Mabel’s Devil Burger with Kenneback Fries and Chicken “Lollipops” with House Made Ranch.

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January 19th, 2011

For a quiet little speakeasy hidden in the heart of Scottsdale’s art gallery district, Mabel’s on Main sure has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue lately.

Part of it is the timing: Classic cocktails and old-school lounges are hot right now, as seen by Mabel’s hosting a ‘Mad Men’ premier party this Sunday. Part of it is also the names involved: Mabel’s is co-owned by Aaron May, one of the Valley’s hottest chef/restaurateurs (Over Easy, The Lodge, Iruna). And while May is not involved in the day-to-day operations, his stamp can be seen in the delightfully-retro menu, including caviar-topped deviled eggs and filet bites served with house-made horseradish sauce.

However, the main reason this luxe lounge is so scorching hot is that it plays a little hard to get. Unlike most Scottsdale scenes, there are no giant walls of flame announcing the entry, or kitschy gimmicks such as sand-lined beaches patios. Instead, Mabel’s used old fashioned word of mouth (and its own cutesy gimmick: a not-so-secret secret room hidden behind the bookshelf), to transform into the trendiest bar in town.

So here’s our advice, get there early (Mabel’s opens at 5 pm) and you’ll have the place to yourself. Sidle up to the bar and ask Casey (he’s the one with the tattoos, burly beard and pigtails) to make you a real-deal cocktail such as an Old Fashioned or a Sazerac. Made with throwback ingredients such as spicy Rye Whiskey, small-batch bitters and traditional garnishes such as a real aged cherries—-no neon-red maraschino cherries here—-these handcrafted, historic cocktails deserve a little elbow room.

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By Geri Koeppel, Issue: March 2011, Page 88

Chef Aaron May massaged the former dive bar Mabel Murphy’s into this posh incarnation, which consciously evokes a bygone era of a mid-20th century men’s club (though dames are allowed, natch). In fact, Mabel’s offers corporate memberships with concierge service, transportation around Old Town, priority reservations and more. But you don’t need to join to partake: Grab your fedora or other Mad Men garb and high-tail it in anytime for a Sazerac or Old Fashioned. Craving more than a cocktail? May’s menu features retro rations such as caviar-topped deviled eggs, Swedish meatballs and oysters Rockefeller. Take a load off those loafers in one of the studded leather wing chairs while surrounded by more dark wood than a rich uncle’s library. Speaking of libraries, behind that wall of books is a secret 15-seat private room.

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Critics' Picks: Best New Bar

May 26th 2010

The name is an homage to former tenant Mabel Murphy's, the Green Bay Packers sports bar that filled the space for decades. But Chef Aaron May and crew have revamped it as a mid-20th-century New York watering hole with red brick, dark-walnut accents, red-velvet curtains and antique furniture. Clever touches include library shelves against one wall (behind which is a secret 15-seat dining room), old-fashioned-style toilets and Art Deco wallpaper in the bathrooms.

The drinks all are Prohibition-era, or should be (don't order a Red Bull and vodka). And May is so confident in his bartenders' cocktail-mixing prowess that he has launched Stump the Chef on Tuesdays, when guests are invited to name their favorite cocktail and see whether Mabel's can make it right.

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By Carey Sweet, Issue: May 2010, Page 149

You could certainly go to Mabel's on Main to eat. Chef/owner Aaron May opened his speakeasy-style restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale early this year for that purpose, creating a menu of continental classics like Rockefeller-style oysters ($12), shrimp cocktail ($9) and tangy Swedish meatballs ($4), alongside more contemporary bites like glazed pork belly ($7) and foie gras torchon ($13).

You'd enjoy your dinner well enough — a mix-and-match grazing experience that might begin with deviled eggs ($8), the whites a bit dry and rubbery but redeemed by their creamy, piped yolk interiors and salty caps of caviar. May knows how to cook — we discovered that with his late, great Sol y Sombra and Autostrada restaurants.

Although you likely would be surrounded by masses of customers — the spot, in the space that was the sports bar Mabel Murphy's, is enormously popular, with lines snaking out the door — you'd probably be eating alone. Because first and foremost, Mabel's is a bar, and May's original plans to establish it as a supper club have dissolved in a sea of Mad Men-esque cocktails (all $11), pulse-pounding music and an eye-candy clientele so delicious to watch that you won't be hungry for anything else.

True, you could get there pre-madhouse, say, before 9 p.m., and enjoy a decent burger and crisp-edged, mealy-hot-inside Kennebec fries ($14). The foie gras torchon is fine, sweetened with blood orange and paired with toasted brioche ($13), while bluefin tuna carpaccio is reliably fresh, zipped with yuzu and a scattering of mache ($12).

You'd also be able to appreciate Mabel's luscious decor, the tiny space positively oozing sex appeal through its weathered brick walls, ornate wallpaper and polished wood wainscoting that cocoons black leather booths, tufted leather wingchairs and Victorian sofas under glittering chandeliers.

Except food isn't the star here after all, not in the dazzling glow of gorgeous night-clubbers knocking back Sazeracs of VS Cognac, Ri(1) Whiskey, simple syrup, and Peychaud's and Angostura bitters. Day boat scallops coated in gremolata ($15) aren't any better or worse than they are anywhere else, and it's the same with ordinary chicken "lollipops" dunked in Maytag blue cheese ($7).

May says he's still tinkering with the tiny menu, which he loftily calls "a contemporary slant on mid-century fare and tasty renditions of seasonal menu items, reflecting the classics of a bygone era."

But the menu is not what really matters at Mabel's. Instead, it's a beautifully put-together space packed with beautifully put-together people sipping beautifully put-together cocktails. And you know? That can be appetizing enough.

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CHOW BELLA: New in Scottsdale

By Michele Laudig, February 3rd 2010

Chef Aaron May says he was "being cat and mouse about it," but his new gastropub Mabel's on Main opened quietly a week ago, in the Old Town Scottsdale space that used to house Mabel Murphy's (7018 E. Main).

Right now, there are a dozen "gourmet bar snacky" menu items -- braised pork belly with homemade cracklings is May's current fave.

He's also doing duck breast with duck confit, a house-ground beef burger with Kennebec fries, oysters Rockefeller, shrimp cocktail, and deviled eggs with caviar. There's no lunch service, but May says he plans to eventually add Saturday and Sunday brunch. Mabel's on Main is open from 5 p.m. until close (lately, 11 p.m.), Tuesday through Saturday.

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944 Picks

by Rosemary Liversedge, January 2010

Experience the cocktail and food culture of the '50s and '60s at Mabel's on Main in Scottsdale — where owner/chef Aaron May has created a place that seems to be a transplant from a time of martini lunches and the cocktail hour. May captures this essence, which he refers to as "old world flair," with hand-selected items such as the century-aged fireplace relocated from a long-standing residence in Phoenix. The speakeasy-style backdoor entrance leads to a vintage dining room of antique furniture, rich leather and woods to complement the classic dishes of the era. "It was a little more special to go out [back then] because people didn't go out everyday. It was more of an event," says May. People took extra care in going out and in turn the dishes and cocktails took a little longer to prepare, he adds. At Mabel's, hard-to-find scotches and aged wines balance classic items such as deviled eggs with caviar, Oysters Rockefeller and Veal Oscar. The restaurant will feature a raw food bar and a private dining room for intimate celebrations complete with a secret entrance and a one-way mirror to view the rest of the dining area. May describes Mabel's as a bit cosmopolitan, where men and women can put their cocktail dresses and retro suits to use, but can still wear whatever is comfortable.

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