Stepping into Durant’s on a warm summer day is entering a nostalgic cool oasis. In 1950, Jack Durant moved from Las Vegas and opened his namesake steakhouse, bringing along with him his colorful past, including associations with Bugsy Siegel and other gangster ties.
Over the years, this renowned steakhouse has entertained such glitterati as Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and John Wayne. Durant’s retains its retro authenticity with red tufted booths, flocked wallpaper, dark mahogany tables and tuxedoed waitstaff.
Step up to the convivial bar that seats 20 and get a feel for where history and cocktails collide. Durant’s Happy Hour runs Monday through Friday with drink specials from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and old school hours of 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Domestic beer is $4.25 and well drinks $4.50, offering spirits such as Bombay for gin, Johnny Walker for scotch, and Jim Beam for bourbon, though you’ll often see patrons straying from the Happy Hour list and the counter lined with steakhouse-sized martinis.
Four Happy Hour food specials are offered from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., including slider-sized “Bar Buns,” for $1.95 each. Choose from mini-burgers with traditional toppings of American cheese, ketchup, mustard, and pickles, or tangy BBQ chicken layered with smoked cheddar and crispy onions. Pastrami sliders are the same price, embellished with spicy atomic mustard, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut on a pretzel roll. A slider trio is the perfect way to wash down some generously poured cocktails… and at only $5.95, what a bargain.
Also on the menu is a dish of juicy, lightly battered fried mushrooms ($4.95) with ranch dipping sauce—an ideal bar snack. My personal favorite is the seafood option, mussels or clams for $8.50. On a recent visit, a bowl of steamed clams was served with a generous basket of bread to sop up the flavorful white wine and herb broth studded with tomatoes dusted with Parmesan. It could be a meal in itself.
For those who want to immerse themselves in Old Phoenix swank and take advantage of Happy Hour prices in an iconic atmosphere, Durant’s is the place for you.
Article by Christina Barrueta, Photos by Rhonni Moffitt