By Dr. Ink
Rarely does this drink “doctor” gravitate to chain restaurants to imbibe. The crowds, the rug rats and the cramped bar lounges filled oftentimes with standing consumers waiting to dine are a buzzkill.
But I take exception to Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, located in the hectic Westfield Mission Valley shopping plaza.
The Orange County-based chain has only one location in San Diego, which offers a bar area that is spacious and comfortably separated from the main dining room. Granted, the place attracts hordes of fans for lunch and dinner. Although if you get there for its second happy hour of the day (9 p.m. to midnight), Lazy Dog’s ski-lodge atmosphere feels highly conducive for throwing down a few libations. The shoppers have all gone home by then. And the kiddie birthday parties have come to a halt.
The food and drink deals are neatly organized and available when sitting on any of the red-leather stools or chairs throughout the bar area. In both categories, a number of options are available for $3, $4, $5 and $6.
Drinks at the top rung cater to the cocktail set. They include decent concoctions like cucumber-mint martinis, strawberry margaritas and Stoli Vodka on the rocks. In a past visit, I tried the pomegranate martini, which to my liking tasted tart and boozy rather than candy-sweet.
At the low end are 16-ounce commercial drafts featuring your usual Coors and Bud lights. Yet for only a buck more, the $4 house beers served in the same quantity, such as blonde ale, stout, Hefeweizen and IPA, are inarguably the way to go.
Lazy Dog’s craft beer recipes are executed by Golden Road Brewing, an eco-conscious company considered one of the largest craft breweries in Los Angeles. The blonde ale I tried recently offered a judicial hint of fruitiness with a tinge of dryness and fresh malt extracts. It’s an engaging choice even if you’re partial to darker beers.
Imported drafts, lemon drops and rum and Cokes occupy the $5 category.
From the happy-hour food menu, I combined my blonde ale with the $5 “late night burger” — and without any up-charge for melted jack cheese on it. I’ve also tried the Buffalo chicken nuggets ($4) served over a bed of blue cheese coleslaw. Both dishes were commendable, and I came away each time shortly before the clock struck midnight with a bellyful of booze and sustenance for under $10.