The other night before taking in Carmen at the Opera, Kevin and I had dinner at The Cricket Lounge, which is the bar in The Cincinnatian attached to The Palace. The new Happier Hour has replaced the Burgers and Beers specials from a month or so ago.
The Happier Hour runs from 4–7 pm and is, for the most part, a really good deal. Our bill was higher than expected, but I’ll get to that in a minute. The Cricket has a pretty good menu and shares a kitchen (as well as Chefs Jose and Summer) with The Palace. You can order half-price Snacks and Appetizers from the bar menu during Happier Hour. Additionally there are daily specials, which often include pretzels and cheese (tasty!) and a burger special, amongst other things. I ordered some tasty BBQ sliders (3 per plate) that were more than filling, and Kevin had the burger. No complaints from us on the food!
Desserts are not included in the Happier Hour. Of course I ordered dessert anyway. In fact, I ordered the Flight of Cupcakes that I love so much, but Summer informed me that I wanted something else. She brought out a trio of chocolate goodies that included a malted mouse (I think) shot with a zebra straw, a mini fudge cake with giant merengue-y chips (I could have lived on those alone), and am amazing ice cream pop, covered in chocolate. Alright, so desserts at The Cincinnatian in general just rock.
Drink specials are the tricky part. Kevin ordered the draft beer (Moerlein) included in the Happier Hour special of 1/2 price draft beers. Also included in the Happier Hour are “$5 Speciality Cocktails.” This is where you need to be careful and where we were unhappy with our price. Bear in mind, it’s the first time I’ve been unhappy with anything at The Cincinnatian, but I paid $23.50 for my two Manhattans when I expected to pay $11.50. I opened up the bar menu and followed the procedure I used for ordering food. With food, Snacks and Appetizers are clearly listed in the bar menu and you order from those sections to get the 1/2 Happier Hour deal. Applying that logic, I opened the bar menu to Specialty Cocktails and ordered a Manhattan. Midway through dinner, I ordered a second Manhattan, mistakenly believing the drinks were $5.75.
We asked our server when we got our check and were informed that Manhattans aren’t part of the Speciality Cocktail list for Happier Hour. You have to ask for a special list of Specialty Cocktails. Yes, the Specialty Cocktails in the menu apparently aren’t special enough.
So, I recommend the Happier Hour as the food and beer prices are great. (House wine is also half price.) But before you order a Specialty Cocktail, specifically ask your server which cocktails are really on special.
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