Drunk After Work: Memphis at the Santora

The Place: Memphis at the Santora, 201 N. Broadway, Santa Ana; (714) 564-1064.

The Hours:
3:30-6:30 p.m., Wednesday through Friday. Closed at that time Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

The Deal: Various drink specials (listed on the blackboard on the south wall); $5 appetizers.

The Scene: This Santa Ana Artists' Village offspring of the original
Memphis in Costa Mesa is a bright, sunny corner restaurant with some
high walls for privacy and a bar that takes up nearly a quarter of the
available front-of-house square footage. The patrons are the usual Santa
Ana mix we've covered in other reviews of bars in the Artists' Village;
government functionaries, a few normal folks, and the occasional
slightly desperate hipster stuck in Santa Ana.

The Sauce: Some surprising finds (Zaya rum, for example) and a bar staff
who actually care about what they're serving mean that you stand a
better-than-average chance of a great drink. Beer selection isn't swill,
but it isn't filled with craft brews either; stick with the hard liquor
here. Ask questions about what you don't know; you might discover
something wonderful.

The Eats: Damn good. Memphis is known for its meatloaf, which is served
at happy hour as a sandwich on a section of baguette; the crustiness of
the bread is required to keep the mess from the meatloaf contained. Zuni
flatbread with corn, sage pesto and pepperjack is slightly salty, which
just means you'll need to have another of their good drinks.

The Verdict: There's a reason Memphis is the destination for the
Weeklings' happy hour; the service is friendly, it's spacious enough to
bring lots of friends, and when the inevitable pre-dinner munchies hit,
you can order food with confidence.

The Grade: B+. Not an A because happy hour is only available three days a
week, hiss boo.

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