Friday Happy Hour Bar Review: Tripped Up By Inadequate Cocktail Specials, Market Grille In Manchester Falls Well Short Of Stand Out Rating.

September 25, 2018

When I set out to review a Friday Happy Hour, I really want to like the bar and give it a good rating. At the same time, I also must be honest in my evaluations or the review becomes meaningless to my readers. So even though I may give a bar my highest rating, I will still call out minor things that I think could be improved. Unfortunately, my biggest fault with Market Grillein Manchester was not a minor one.

A Disappointing Start
Makes A Stellar Finish Difficult

Readily apparent from the start, this transgression immediately dropped the bar from consideration for my highest rating. What could have been so terrible? It was their absolutely ridiculous notion that one Bartender’s Featured Cocktail for $5.50 was sufficient for a Happy Hour offering. As a mixologist, I found it a very sad way to start a Happy Hour.

Note that the only mixed drink is the Bartender’s Featured Cocktail! Surely they could offer more than one!

While it is true that a number of bars offer a limited selection of cocktail specials, I had not experienced any that limited it to one. I like to have at least a few mixed drink options. So, Market Grille was starting out behind the proverbial eight-ball in my review.

Service Rose To The Occasion
And Kept The Bar From Dropping More

Ty and Emily (not pictured) took excellent care of me and made service the one positive standout.

In many cases, good service can compensate for a multitude of sins. Both Ty, my primary bartender, and Emily, one of the other bartenders, took good care of me during my visit. Tygreeted me promptly after I sat down at the bar, explained the Bartender’s Featured Cocktailin satisfying detail and kept good track of needs throughout. And if he missed anything, Emilyhad it covered. Both were friendly and efficient. In addition, the folks who brought my Happy Hour food orders out were very polite.

While Tyand Emilycouldn’t pull Market Grilleout of the deep hole the lack of drink selection put it in, they did manage to halt the descent.

The Drinks Weren’t Bad,
Which Is Another Way Of Criticizing The Limited Selection

The Apple Ginger Tea was the Bartender’s Special Cocktail. While not bad, it wasn’t something to get excited about.

The Bartender’s Specialwas an Apple Ginger Tea, which I tried. I’m always interested in trying new mixed drinks and this one was decent with a nice blend of apple and ginger flavors without too much sweetness (thankfully they use unsweetened tea). At the same time, it just didn’t resonate with me as anything special worth ordering again.

The Ruby Red Pinot Noir Sangria! They poured a full glass and it was good by my sangria standards, but I would have preferred something else. Sadly, I had no other options for Happy Hour.

For my second drink, I opted for the $6.50Ruby Red Pinot Noir Sangriamore out of desperation than choice, since I can’t drink beer and I didn’t feel like wine. It was a generous serving and not bad, which is actually a compliment since I’m not a huge sangria fan.

There was nothing really wrong with either drink except that they are probably not what I would have ordered if I had other cocktail options from which to choose.

The Food Was More Satisfying,
Though Hardly Rave Worthy

While the Happy Hour food options were certainly more numerous than the drink choices, the menu felt somewhat uninspired by my standards. Nothing jumped out as a really unique or signature offering. For my first selection, I picked the $4 Lobster Salad Slider, which was good, but a bit on the bland side.

The very generous serving of perfectly fried Crisp Rhode Island Clam Strips was a good deal at $5.

Next, I ordered the $5 Crisp Rhode Island Clam Strips. What I got was a seemingly bottomless bucket of delicious, perfectly fried clam strips with a quite tasty tartar sauce. I can definitely say I enjoyed the clam strips with no caveats.

The Ambiance Was Friendly,
But Not Necessarily Inviting

Although it is apparently a popular spot for Friday Happy Hour, judging by the crowd, the Market Grille’sbar area lacks a definitive identity. The dark wood décor is attractive, and upscale, but lacks a certain warmth. In fact, it comes across as nice place, but nothing extraordinary.

And under pet peeves, I hate that their bar stools have no backs, especially when there are no hooks under the bar to hang your purse on.

***RECOMMENDED WITH CAVEATS***

While I was impressed with the service I received and the prices, the food and drinks generally failed to rise above the ordinary while the availability of only one mixed drink special was unacceptable if you prefer mixed drinks for your Happy Hour libations as I do. At the same time, if wine and beer are your adult beverages of choice, then you may find it to your liking. As a result, I can only give Market Grillea rating of ***RECOMMENDED WITH CAVEATS***.

Check them out for yourself online at marketgrillct.com for more information.

As always, we invite your comments and suggestions.