Happy Hour: De-Novo Bistro & Bar

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From the June 28, 2012 edition

There’s a lot to like about De-Novo Bistro & Bar. The classy interior features a relaxed atmosphere and modern-art eye candy. The uber-soft barstools invite you to stay for a few drinks. And the Columbus Commons-adjacent location offers a nice landscape that’s only a short walk for Downtown office workers. With all that said, the happy hour is one of the best things about the restaurant.

The booze:

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beer, wine or cocktail drinker; De-Novo is sure to have something to please. With a range of drink options this wide, the hardest part is trying to choose just one.

The long list of bottled beers — half-off during happy hour — includes domestic lagers ($1.50), imports ($2) and crafts ($2-$3) that couldn’t be easier on the pocket. The most expensive beer is a Duvel Belgian ($3.75), and even it’s a steal (and it earns bonus points for coming in the proper glass).

Two red wines (cabernet and merlot) and two whites (chardonnay and moscato) are $5 specials during happy hour. If those aren’t your style, it’s only a couple of bucks more to order from the wine menu. More than a dozen other reds and whites are $7-$9 per glass.

There’s also a daily cocktail special ($5) chosen by the bartender, but I’d order the Kentucky Mule ($9) almost every time. The refreshing combination of bourbon, lime juice and ginger beer is ideal during the sweltering summer months.

The food:

Happy hour is also a good opportunity to try De-Novo’s fine contemporary American menu. The Smoked Chicken BBQ Flatbread ($5.50) is an ideal combination of sweet and savory. The chicken is coated in a passion fruit barbecue sauce and pairs nicely with the white cheddar, red onion and crispy shallots and scallions.

Some other options on the happy hour menu include crab cakes, a Crispy Chicken Club sandwich and Asian BBQ Wings (each $6), and Spiced Lamb Sliders ($8.50). The Cheesy-Nutty Salad ($9) is a meal in itself, and the Summer Chop ($4.50) could serve as a side.

If you feel like ordering off the happy hour menu, you must try the Kobe Chorizo Burger ($11) served on a pretzel bun with a side of truffle parmesan frites.

Photos by Tessa Berg