It's winter; now all we need is a wonderland. Might I suggest Beatrice & Woodsley, the venerable purveyor of whimsy on South Broadway? For years, its Nosh & 'Tails cocktail hour, every weekday from 5 to 6:30 p.m., has been a mix of sophisticated soiree and playful bar time. With a new chef on the line, how does this happy-hour standard hold up?
See also: Happy Hour at the BSide: Hot and Cold
The first thing people talk about when they talk about Beatrice & Woodsley is the decor. Whether you love the trees, the lanterns, the chainsaws -- or you hate them -- armies of consultants, designers and architects building restaurants in this town have failed to create a space as arresting and unique as this one, including the most beautiful and esoteric restrooms I've ever visited. Coming in from the cold for a casual happy hour as opposed to a formal dinner feels like a privilege.
The Nosh & 'Tails menu changes weekly, admirably keeping happy-hour crawlers guessing as to what's happening. Seasonality aside, this week's offerings are happy-hour standards: a flatbread pizza here ($7), a mac n' cheese ($5) there. Of course, there's still the B&W touch. The daily restorative ($4) is a rotating stew of whatever comes to the chef's mind. The night I stopped by, it was a silky broth with black-eyed peas, cauliflower, tomatoes, hearty croutons and more. Arriving in a tiny dish, the stew's spice and depth made an impression against the bracing cold. The true restorative, however, was the Iron Constitution cocktail. A concoction of fernet, sweet vermouth, lemon, muddled ginger and a ginger-beer float, it smoldered in the stomach but didn't stress the liver. During happy hour, all of the bar's creative cocktails are $6, with wine selections for $7 and drafts for $4.
Plates of happy-hour fettuccini ($5) were coming left and right around me, and I didn't want to miss the action. As the runner set it down, I was seduced by the unmistakable fragrance of reduced white wine and sauteed garlic. Unfortunately, fragrance was about all it offered; the noodles were without a speck of oil or flavor. Some fresh green beans and a heap of crispy onions outshone the main ingredient. Happy hour had run out just as this course arrived, so I had to look to the regular menu to ensure I didn't go home hungry (see top image).
I had a few quibbles with my cocktail hour -- only one bartender servicing a full rail and a dining room, for one -- but Nosh & 'Tails mostly succeeds because it stays true to the serious/playful spirit of the restaurant. And with a menu that changes every week, I'd be glad to experience this wonderland again and again.
Perfect for: As one of Westword's most romantic restaurants, a happy hour night at B&W shows that you're sophisticated but not stuffy or spendy.
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Don't Miss: Did you miss New Year's Day brunch at Beatrice & Woodsley? Augh! You did, didn't you? But make sure to give their brunch a try at least once in your life, especially the signature crawfish beignets ($11).