Although I do love Staunton dining, one thing that restaurantours never quite got in the spirit of is Happy Hour. In traveling in other towns and living in Harrisonburg for a couple of months, I know what a great deal and event happy hour can be. Cheap food. Cool drinks. Lots of, well, happiness.
This great sense of deal is usually missing from Staunton’s Happy Hours. However, the big exception is Happy Hour at Mockingbird Restaurant and Music Hall. Available Tuesday through Saturday (4:00-6:00), Mockingbird has the most spirited Happy Hour in town. What makes their Happy Hour so indicative of what is at the heart of this ritual is lots of cheap drink options and tasty food to accompany. Also, just out of pure foodie altruism, there is usually a snack to munch on. One time it was bread sticks, but last time I went it was homemade potato chips that were seasoned with what I think was Old Bay. They were very thin, crunchy, and tasty.
The way Mockingbird’s Happy Hour works is on a three tier system of food and drinks. This line-up is going to change as of July 1st, but currently stands as the following . . .
- $3: Drinks—Well Drinks, Selected Draft Beers, Lionhead Lager (which is actually $2); Food—Sweet Potato Fries or Hand-Cut Potato Fries
- $4: Drinks—Wine by the Glass; Food—Bruschetta, Oyster and Clam Rockascino, Beer-Battered Mushrooms
- $5: Drinks—Cocktail Special; Food—Three Cheese Pizza or White Garlic Pizza
I am a bourbon girl and so the $3 well drink is all I need, although knowing $4 wine is an option means I can be upscale if I want to. I usually would get the Sweet Potato fries because they are the best in town. Not necessarily because the fries are so above par (they are cut thin, which makes them more savory than sweet), but because they come with a peanut dipping sauce for which I would kill to have the recipe. It is amazing! It is creamy, savory, and just slightly peanutie. Delectable.
Last time I went, I decided to experiment with the Oyster and Clam Rockasino. The name is from a combination of Oyster Rockefeller and Clams Casino. The oysters are creamy and cheesy and are topped with spinach and pancetta. Being served this way, the oysters are melt in your mouth. The clams, which were a little chewy, are still prepped in a flavorsome combination of bread crumbs, yellow and red peppers, and cheese. At the center is some spicy arugula and a green I couldn’t identify, so you can have a bit of spicy greens to offset the creamy seafood. And, remember, only $4 . . . $4.
But don’t just come to Mockingbird for Happy Hour. It is has a great trivia night every Tuesday and a Rock’n’Roll trivia once a month (and I wish they would add a film trivia once a month as well). There are tons of really talented bands that come through the music hall as well as a really fun Local Mic Night and a Local Mic Youth Night. Saturday’s and Sunday’s feature a Farmer’s Brunch and there is Sunday Supper that night as well. Some come for Happy Hour and then come back for the rest.