It's been just over a year since Beat Street lost its opening chef. Regardless of the circumstance, the eatery plugged away, changing its menu to accommodate more eaters. Sure, there's a new burger menu in the mix, but the addition of a full bar, happy hour and new chef Mark Garcia (who's spent time at Barbaro and The Monterey) is what drove me back for a taste.
Although Beat Street has not changed physically, the general vibe is quite different. The lights have been turned up, a new flat-screen anchors the full bar and there's an alt-rockish soundtrack pulsing through the cozy space.
Regardless, my Happy Hour Hound partner-in-crime and I settled in for a gab sesh along the wooden bar top. Happy hour takes place from 3 to 7 p.m. daily with $2 well drinks, $1 off craft beers and drafts, $2 Pearl and Lone Star, $5 house wines and $1 off starters.
The drink menu, filled with a healthy list of specialty house cocktails, each with some sort of twist, was presented by front-of-house manager Zack McKinney, formerly with Tribeca. There's the Sriracha bloody mary, a basil Moscow mule, a gin paloma and a rosemary/papaya margarita to choose from, but I stuck with something on special that evening, a $6 peach smash with Jack Daniel's, mint, peach and simple syrup. Although a bit on the saccharine side and lacking any sort of a garnish, the drink was fine enough. My companion's French 75 was also missing the usual lemon curl, not a huge oversight, but details matter.
We decided to nosh on an order of sweet potato tots with smoked ketchup and mac 'n' cheese with seemingly all the cheddars, plus bacon, mushrooms and toasted yeast. The tots were made up of pureed sweet potatoes, lightly fried and salted—a half order of these cuties was more than enough to share. If Garcia is going for tasty comfort food, then he's definitely scoring with the creamy penne mac. Again, the order was more than enough for two, and was topped with flavorful sautéed mushrooms and crunchy yeast flakes.
I've never been one to pass on $2 cans of Pearl, and because you can't have a burger (we went with the bleu cheese, bacon, fried Brussels sprouts and black garlic aioli) without a cold beer, I chose that as my next drink. Though the wine list is small and several vinos are scratched off, prices vary to accommodate all levels of drinkers. Glasses range from $7 to $15 and the most expensive bottle, a Ruffino Brunello, comes in at $96.
The happy hour vibe is casual enough, especially considering it's located smack dab in Monte Vista. Beat Street is still getting the hang of what it wants to become, even 18 months after opening, but this might be their safest, and most likely iteration to stick.
2512 N Main, (210) 320-2099, beatstreetcoffee.com
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