Grand Cafe: Chichi Surroundings, Cheap Eats and Drinks
The hours: Mon.-Fri., 3-7 p.m.
The deals: A wide array of snacks and drinks for $3-$7
The digs: Splendidly rococo art nouveaux setting makes you feel like a Parisian boulevardier stopping for an aperitif in some especially ornate brasserie. The towering ceilings, ornate pillars, vertiginous potted palms, and eccentric bronzes by sculptor Albert Guibara are eye-catching indeed, and the leather-and-cherrywood Petit Café near the entrance glows with terra-cotta earth tones and all those colorful bottles catching the late afternoon sunlight. The crowd's friendly, the music jazzy, and the cozy bar makes for a pleasant urbane oasis.
The verdict: The bar's 3-7 Happy Hour features a variety of top-shelf sips and nibbles for $3-$7 from 3-7 p.m. Drinks range from Sierra Nevada ($3) to a Hendriks with chartreuse and bitter lemon ($7), while the tasty edibles include spiced nuts and marinated olives ($3), salmon tartare ($4), shrimp stew ($5), beef brochettes ($7), and half a dozen oysters served glistening and succulent on a bed of crushed ice with lemon, seaweed, and two dipping sauces ($6). This is a fine place for a pre-theater snack as well as a post-work wind-down.
Overall grade: B+