Happy Hour at El Arepazo

{by alexis}–There’s no shortage of great places in German Village to celebrate the happiest of hours, but I’m always more than thrilled to try the new one. It was this spirit of adventure that brought Joe and I to the new El Arepazo location for happy hour late last week.

We both found ourselves home a touch earlier than usual and quickly headed out to enjoy a sunny, late summer (yes it was too still summer!) happy hour. El Arepazo only opened early last month, so it was our first trip to the restaurant.

The first thing we noticed was the sheer size of the place. There seems to be room after room, and every wall is covered in bright, unique art. There’s a pool table in one of the spaces to encourage socializing and maybe even a few friendly wagers. Toward the back there is a ceviche bar that allows customers to order a quick bite while waiting for carry out.

IMG_20140922_194025 IMG_20140922_194010 IMG_20140922_194054The space is hip, clean, and welcoming. Happy hour lasts from 4:30 to 6:30, but only at the bar. Naturally, we found ourselves sliding into the tall chairs.

el arepazoThere were a number of tvs around the bar space, which makes this a comfortable place to watch a game or two. Joe’s obsession with college football helps me notice this type of thing.

Because I’m in denial regarding the season change, I went for the Corona on tap. Joe chose a Cuca Fresca. I mean, it had chili pepper on the rim. Like moth to a flame.

el arepazoWe also ordered a couple of tapas: the chorizo al vino, the Peruvian ceviche, the champinones rellenos, and the croquetas off of the regular menu.

IMG_20140922_193414 IMG_20140922_193502 IMG_20140922_193553 IMG_20140922_193832To be honest, I’m not super into chorizo (or sausage in general — save for Bahama Mamas), so the first dish wasn’t my favorite. The ceviche, on the other hand, was the winner of the evening. It was packed with flavor, and was perfect served up on the tostadas. The happy hour dish is slightly smaller than the regular menu’s full-price listing, so you may want to consider sizing up on this delicious bad boy. The mushrooms, like the chorizo, paled in comparison to the ceviche, though you can’t go wrong with anything stuffed with cheese. Which leads us nicely into the croquetas — our second favorite plate. The chicken and ham inside these was molten and gooey and just what you expect. The spicy cilantro sauce was a wonderful topper, and if you fall in love, you can even buy a bottle! I gave Joe my puppy dog eyes in the hope that he would let me spear the last croqueta, but I guess he’s immune to my charms after all.

So we were full, yes, but not too full for more drinks! That’s the point of tapas, right? I ordered another beer, but Joe went for the happy hour margarita. This is the star of the happy hour menu, and the best value. Outside of happy hour, this behemoth goes for $9, but between 4:30 and 6:30, you can practically steal it for $5. Let me tell you, this thing should be more than $5.

el arepazo margaritaLook at it dwarfing my beer! It is huge! Joe gave it two, giant thumbs up.

After the margarita it was time for dessert. And I ordered my favorite!

red stripeThis beer takes me back to white sand and impossibly blue water. Can’t a girl get a direct flight from CMH to MBJ? Get on it, airlines.

I’d definitely head back to El Arepazo for happy hour. Great drink prices and delicious snack foods make it a great place to relax and unwind after work. And now I’ll know where to go in February when I’m snowed in and missing that hot, bright sun.

El Arepazo Tapas Bar Grille is located at 515 S. High Street. M-Th 11am-2pm, 4:30pm-10pm; Fri 11am-2pm, 4:30-11pm; Sat 11am-11pm; closed Sunday.

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