True, Barbaresco looks like a resort hotel lobby and the food could use some work, but happy hours here click along fine, stretching out luxuriously from 2-9 p.m. (inside and on the patio). Drink snacks are all $5, and they include the knee-jerk calamari fritti, a carpaccio, portobellos alla gorgonzola, and Italian chicken wings arrabbiata. The wings, trimmed to a user-friendly lollipop shape, are a little timid in their seasoning, but are meaty, generous, easy to eat, and a far cry from the gloppy appendages served at many places around town.
And there are some surprises in the drink department, including the Lynchburg Maracuyá ($9). It’s a blend of Jack Daniel’s, passion fruit nectar, lemon juice, and Angostura bitters, and as mixed by Elizabeth is as “surprisingly tasty” as the menu promises. The 16-ounce happy-hour margarita ($5) differs from the standard model in that it’s made with triple sec, not Cointreau, but does include Cuervo Gold, fresh lime juice and, if you ask for it “skinny,” agave nectar. Quite good if not for the fragility of the lime juice: fresh-squeezed would keep it from tasting oxidized.
Mojitos (yawn) are also $5 on the Early Menu, domestic beers are $2.50, imports $3, and house wines $5. All well drinks are $3.50.