Casual dates: a tasty snack at Dinette.

HOURS: 4-6pm Tues-Sat
PRICES: Food specials $3-$7; Sangria $3, house wines/well drinks $3.50, well martinis $6, Stella Artois $3, Margaritas/Bloody Marys $5

Dinette’s happy hour features a dish of dates ($5)—stuffed with goat cheese, drizzled with balsamic syrup—that come four to an order. They are gooey and earthy-rich and the salt from the cheese and the balsamic balance that cloying quality that dates can have. Shared with a cocktail-hour companion, they are a satisfying, yet noncommittal, snack.

Noncommittal is the name of the game with tapas and small plates, but there are degrees of noncommittal, my happy-hour minded friends. The Dinette dates are very noncommittal, they remind me of tapas in Spain more than the dishes we call tapas here in the States. Here, tapas are, more often than not, just smaller servings of dinner—so you can eat two or three dishes for supper instead of one. There—in Sevilla and Barcelona and Madrid and Granada—tapas are more like nonmeals, fun bites to wash down your drinks and hold you over between the massive lunch you’ve already digested and the light dinner you won’t be eating for another four hours or so. Dinette’s tiny platter ($5) of manchego, olives, and fried almonds makes for similarly casual consumption, my friend and I each nibble on a couple of squares of cheese, chuck a few almonds and olives down the hatch, and it’s all over. This is food to snack on alongside sangria, which is housemade and costs $3 a glass.

As diminutive as the HH plates, Dinette’s bar—added on to the restaurant just a few months back—is very sweet. The bottle-lined shelves behind it are robin’s egg blue with gold accents, there are antiquey serving dishes with curly-cued edges adhered to the wall. The happy hour menu is posted on a chalkboard in an ornate gilded frame. Are there Glassybabies? Well of course there are Glassybabies!

How do I explain this to you if you haven’t been? (I’m trying to refrain from using the expression shabby chic.) Let’s say this: aesthetically, Dinette is everything that the retail chain Anthropologie wishes it could be. And let’s go to happy hour there again soon, as soon as we can.

Find previous happy hours of the week here.

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