Drinks at Absent 9.

Absent 9 offers an elegant happy hour

Sometimes, you just need to unwind with a $5 glass of wine and some half-off appetizers. With our Happy Hour reviews, we’ll tell you where to go when the Happy Hour itch strikes, and how to take care of it.

It’s above Orange Street, but feels like a world away.

The Absent 9 lounge is on the second floor of Greensleeves Steakhouse, and is intimate without being confining. There are a comfortable chairs scattered throughout, as well as a few tall tables and about five or so seats at the bar. 

The bar menu is substantial, with appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, and burgers, along with a long list of cocktails, wine, and beer. During Happy Hour — which runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and all. day Monday — there are several specials, including: well drinks for $5, $2 off beer and $3 off martinis, $6 mojitos, and $7 bartender’s choice.

Shrimp cocktail

During a recent visit with a friend, we shared an order of truffle fries (normally $8, Happy Hour price $5), an artisan cheese plate (normally $16, Happy Hour price $10), and a shrimp cocktail (normally $13, Happy Hour price $8). For cocktails, I started with The Dove (normally $12, Happy Hour price $9) and ended with a mojito ($6), while my friend chose the Manhattan Mule (normally $9, Happy Hour price $6) and also tried a mojito. Our server was also the bartender, and he was very friendly and efficient and happy to answer our questions about the drinks.

The fries came in a heaping pile in a large bowl, dusted with salt and pepper with a light layer of truffle oil. The truffle flavor was strong but not overpowering, and the fries were hot and crisp. The artisan cheese plate was substantial, with four cheeses, honeycomb, candied walnuts, and crostini. There was no explanation as to what cheeses were on the board, and while we knew one was a blue cheese and another brie, we weren’t certain about the others. Maybe there could be a sign up on the bar saying what the day’s cheese offerings are, or it could be shared when the plate is dropped off? The cheese was satisfying and the addition of honey was tasty.

Cheese plate

The shrimp cocktail came with house-made cocktail sauce, which was zesty and had a delicious bite. There were six large shrimp, perfectly chilled on a bed of ice. This was a definite winner. Our drinks were also hits. The Dove has mezcal, Aperol, muddled strawberry, grapefruit shrub, lime juice, agave nectar, and grapefruit bitters, with a salted rim. The smokiness of the mezcal shines, and is elevated by the fruit flavors. The mojito was strong and refreshing.

Absent 9 is an inviting space for a few friends or couples to congregate for delicious food and libations after work — or, if it’s Monday, any time. —Catherine

Posted: Dec. 26, 2018

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