In most of my memories involving the Hunt Club, I'm 22 years old and there are men, about four times that age, circling the bars' tables as female patrons try to avoid making eye contact with them. It's located in the Viagra Triangle, a neighborhood that didn't earn its moniker because it's full of medical advertising. For those who don't know, the VT is sort of like the Bermuda Triangle, only with a lot more skeezy old men and fewer missing airplanes and boats.
But now, the revamped HC (formerly the Hunt Club) goes for a more upscale, less sketchy vibe, with fancier food—think tomato and mozzarella salad and fruit plates—and girly martinis, though you can still get bar food like nachos and chicken wings.
I'm sure weekends are crazier, but on a Wednesday night, my two friends and I had no problem getting a table, and I actually enjoyed most of the music that was playing, a mix of a little Pink, songs from the late '90s and tunes from that guy whose first or last name is Daughtry. Still, I was disappointed when the waitress told us that HC's Wednesday special, which used to involve half-price wine bottles, had been discontinued.
We weren't sure if our livers wanted to commit to the new special—half-price bottles of alcohol—and I wasn't ready to commit my wallet to it either, since the menu didn't list bottle prices. Instead, we ordered individual drinks and appetizers, a tasty, crisp cheese quesadilla and a spinach dip that needed a bit more of a kick.
But after round one (and for one thirsty friend, round two), I had almost convinced the table to spring for a bottle (after all, this would be a pretty uninformative column if I wrote 500 words about the full-price beer I ordered). I asked the waitress how much a bottle would go for since I honestly had no idea. She wasn't sure and went to ask someone about prices, returning to tell us that the wine special was actually still valid.
I was thrilled. She still didn't know about bottle prices, and all I could think about was one of the few nights I went to a club, when I was excited to discover which glamorous, exotic vodka sold for $150 per bottle. I lifted it from ice bucket to find…it was Grey Goose, which retails for around $30. My friend who had already downed two by-the-glass servings of wine wasn't as pleased to learn the bottle deal was back. But, she warmed up to the idea after the waitress offered to give her the two glasses at "street price," which I was relieved to learn meant taking $1-off the price instead of bringing the bottle outside and taking a survey.
The menu doesn't list wine bottle prices either, but with a little legwork, we uncovered a bottle of delicious pinot grigio that would run us just $12.50. Sold!
Once the deal dilemma was worked out, I was able to focus on the atmosphere, which on a weeknight almost felt neighborhood-y. And that $12.50 price tag was mighty reasonable for a wine that had just the right balance of not-too-sweet and dry. My only advice for the refurbished HC? Scrape that lamination off the menus and add some dollar signs! The weekend crowd may be big spenders, but we Wednesday patrons want to know how much we're investing in our happy hour.
Erin Brereton is our resident urban cowgirl on a bi-weekly search for life on the cheap. If you know of the mythic happy hour that she missed, do clue her in.