Happy Hour Scene: Americas - River Oaks

The Place:

Americas -- River Oaks

2040 West Gray



The Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m - 7 p.m.

The Deals: Beers are $3 and wines (by the glass) are $2 cheaper than normal, starting at $4.

The Scene: About an hour before happy hour at Americas ended on Thursday night, waiters started bringing out trays of different appetizers and setting them down on a bar table that had been reserved for a party of some sort. One plate was stacked with nachos that we swear was a foot from top to bottom.

It looked amazing and smelled even better. After trying to order our own plate, however, the bartender told us the tragic tale of Americas' nachos.

Back in the day, Americas -- the original Galleria location -- had a great happy hour with appetizers that everyone loved, and the centerpiece -- the jewel of the list -- was the nachos. But about two or so years ago, the nachos, along with a varitey of wing that was a favorite, were zapped from the app menu.

And to this day, the bartender told us, people show up from all over asking for an order of the nachos that no longer exist. (The dish made a reappearance during our happy hour because it was specially ordered for the party.)

We went to Americas because we wanted to check out the newish -- open since September -- location at Shepherd and Gray, across the street from the River Oaks Theatre.

The bar scene at the new place is decent. Everything is candlelit and edgy, dark woods and steel. There's modern art on the walls and light fixtures that look like the suburbs on acid.

At 6 o'clock last night, there was one free seat at the bar. The crowd was about half and half, men and women -- perhaps a slight lean to the women -- who seemed to be mostly in their 40s and 50s. A couple of businessmen in suits ditched the bar to take their drinks to a banquet room.

The happy hour menu is small. The best special was the $3 draft beers, but the list is short, primarily because the bar only serves beer from Mexico, Central and South America. The bonus was trying a new beer, Brazilian Xingu, which we haven't seen, or maybe just haven't noticed, anywhere else.

You also get an order of plantain chips and three fancy dips at the bar, but that's an appetizer we can do without. If only there were nachos.

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