Recently, my boyfriend L and I made a pact to never purchase social online coupons (e.g. Groupon). While coupons are a great incentive to try out new restaurants at a discounted price, the expiry dates, specific time slots, and required reservations just making dining out too restrictive for us. That’s why I love happy hour. I mean, what’s not to love? You get to try new dishes and drinks at a cheaper cost, no coupon required. In Calgary, one of my favourite spots for happy hour is Local 510.
Unlike the Ship and Anchor or the National Beer Hall, Local 510 usually has an empty table or two available in the patio section. Happy hour begins at 5:00pm and ends at 7:00pm, which makes it the ideal place to stop by after work. Of the drink specials, I usually choose an ice-cold pint of Grasshopper or a glass of wine (Liberty School, Cabernet Sauvignon). Either beverage cost a paltry $5.10. Though the drinks are cheap, the quality doesn’t suffer for it. The beer is always filled to the brim, and it never tastes flat. The pours of wine are the same quantity as unhappy hour, served in squat glasses.
The food at Local 510 is usually consistent. There is the occasion in which a dish was overly salty or the mussels are less than stellar, but once you factor in happy hour savings, I’ll gladly take my chances. Local 510 also offers a daily special throughout the week. I think Tuesday offers the best value – all appetizers are priced at $7.00. Some of my favourite items include the crispy calamari, curried mussels, and saucy ribs.
One item that the kitchen has almost always nailed is the Cuban panini, which, incidentally, is the largest of the grilled sandwiches (other options include vegetarian, chicken and brie, peanut beef). Cut in half, stacked one on top of the other, the Cuban panini is bliss between bread. It’s a filling entrée too – piled high with pulled pork, ham, Swiss cheese and crunchy pickles. I love how the pickle adds a bit of crunch to the sandwich, and how its juices drip and intermingle with the melted cheese, tender meats and crispy grilled bread. For sides, you have the option of soup, fries or a salad. I can’t resist the mismatched fries – a combination of regular and yam fries. The yam fries are particularly delicious, even better when dipped into the pot of garlic aioli. The house salad is also a good bet – a fresh medley of beets, carrots, greens, and pecans. A little bowl of coleslaw garnishes the plate.
The beef panini is a lighter option than the Cuban panini. The beef is tasty with its peanut satay sauce and crunchy vegetables. Personally, I think this is an excellent pub version of a Vietnamese sub. It’s different from a traditional sub yet familiar, jam packed with julienned carrots, cumbers, onions, cheddar cheese and peanuts. I always ask the kitchen to omit the cilantro –I can’t stand the taste of it.
I like music and ambience of Local 510 – it’s a casual spot for inexpensive food and a good selection of beers. Local 510 offers 8 different types of wines, all by the glass. I’m not a true beer drinker, so I’m delighted there are several fruity beers from which to choose, such as Mill St. Organic, Rickards White, and Strongbow.