Anyone who has swung by the Short North Marcella's after work has seen the bustling scene at the bar. Even on the rare occasion when tables are open in the dining area, the cocktail lounge is almost always packed. The reason? Well, people really like Cameron Mitchell restaurants, but the sheer number of happy-hour discounts on drinks and good eats is one of the most impressive around.

Anyone who has swung by the Short North Marcella's after work has seen the bustling scene at the bar. Even on the rare occasion when tables are open in the dining area, the cocktail lounge is almost always packed. The reason? Well, people really like Cameron Mitchell restaurants, but the sheer number of happy-hour discounts on drinks and good eats is one of the most impressive around.

The booze:

With discounts on nearly all cocktails, beers and wines during happy hour, you'd be hard-pressed to not find a potable to please your palate.

The specialty cocktail list features a number of drinks that are all half-off their regular $9 price. The Strawberry Balsamic Martini and the Grapefruit Basil Fizz are two of the menu's more fruity and citrusy vodka drinks. If you're looking for a dark-liquor cocktail, there's a Woodford Reserve Manhattan with vanilla syrup, as well as the Whiskey Rosso with Jameson, passion fruit puree, agave nectar and Chianti. Both drinks are slightly sweet.

The wine list at Marcella's is an extensive selection of Italian reds and whites, and all wines by the glass that are $9 or less are half-off at happy hour. The draft beer list at Marcella's is small, but there are a couple available.

The food:

While the drink specials are surely good enough reason to hit up this happy hour, it's the food that is really impressive. Small plates, appetizers, pizzas, and cheese and cured meat plates are half-off.

The best way to take advantage of all the options is to take a group of friends, order a bunch and share. The Beef Carpaccio ($7) and Braised Veal Meatball ($7) are musts, and you might as well get a cheese plate (three for $10, five for $15).

I also recommend the Calamari ($11) and the Sweet Italian Sausage ($7) with roasted red peppers and goat cheese. You just can't go wrong with goat cheese.