Happy Hour of the Week: Max Gill and Grill

June 23 2010, 3:47 PM
I don't spend much time in seafood restaurants because I'm not exactly a fish enthusiast. But a number of local seafood joints offer enticing happy hours, so I decided to withhold my reservations recently and give it a go. And I'm glad I did. Walking into Max Gill and Grill made me consider re-evaluating my stance for the long term. The spacious Washington Park eatery immediately brings to mind an oceanside seafood shack, with its warm ambience of brick walls, tall ceilings, a half-moon bar, and an oyster bar tucked into the corner. Open windows provide welcome whispers of fresh air. It's the kind of place that could be draped in holiday icicle lights and feel enchanting instead of kitschy. I grabbed a seat at one of the six high-tops in the bar area as I waited for a friend. The affable waiter stopped by quickly to take my order, and I killed some time people-watching, enjoying the view I was afforded from my seat next to a full-length window. Located on the quaint South Gaylord Street, which counts numerous small shops and bustling eateries, the sidewalk is often occupied by strolling families, girlfriends meeting for drinks, and bicyclists making their way to or from the park. My drink---the Snake Bite, a sweet and surprisingly light blend of Guinness and apple cider---arrived just as my friend did, and we immediately put in an order for the baked blue crab dip. (I forego my fish aversion when it comes to shellfish. Odd, I know.) The cheesy spread, with chunks of fresh crab, comes with small, crunchy baguette slices, celery, and carrots. As we lingered over the food (never bothered by the waiter to hurry up or order more), we chatted and enjoyed the breeze, feeling, if only for a few moments, that the ocean was nearby. Happy hour runs Tuesday through Sunday, from 3 to 7 p.m. in the bar (until 6 p.m. in the dining room) and all night on Thursdays. Specials include $3 to $4 draft beers; $2 to $4 cocktails; $3 glasses of house wine; 99-cent oysters; and discounted appetizers. 1052 S. Gaylord St., 303-722-7456