Bistango's Happy Hour isn't the kind of Happy Hour you can ever be late for. On weekdays, it starts at 4 p.m. and lasts until it closes. On Saturdays, it goes from 5:30 p.m. to closing. During this time, the parking becomes free and plentiful, the food is discounted all night, and the booze is slashed to about half off the regular prices. How it can do this and why it does this can be answered in three words: because it can. In restaurant years, Bistango is a senior citizen and it hasn't lasted 28 years in the same spot tucked in between tech, bio, and financial firms without knowing who its core audience is and what they want.
This year, the restaurant went through a facelift and hired a new chef, but the Happy Hour seems pretty much unchanged. The lounge always has live musicians playing jazz nightly and they're usually so familiar with the regulars they spend their entire break time chatting with them. The crowd does tend to the older set, the kind of folks who'd tell you sports bars have gotten too crass and too loud. As such, Bistango's Happy Hour isn't where you should settle for just beer and hot wings. What you want are the scallops with risotto, and to drink: classic cocktails like the Lemon Drop, which happens to pair quite well with the shellfish.
It's a standard-tasting Lemon Drop using Grey Goose Le Citron, Dr. Swami & Bone, and Day's Sweet & Sour. But for every sip you take from the sugar-rimmed martini glass you discreetly tongued earlier, you realize how sophisticated this simple drink is, even if it is essentially alcoholic lemonade.