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Because the Night

Last week the Westin St. Francis  implemented a really great idea: a more civilized version of happy hour. Just like its predecessors, this happy hour occurs between 5 and 7 p.m. (Tuesdays through Saturdays) and is a good deal for the money. But this one takes place in Caruso’s, the St. Francis’ refined lobby bar, instead of a noisy pub, and features delicate amuses-bouche instead of buffalo wings—plus a touch of wine education.

It’s called “The Unwind Hour” (well, you didn’t expect them to call it Happy Hour, did you?), and for a mere $10 you get a flight of three wines paired with three little appetizers—or you can enjoy two full flights/pairings for $20. Last night I tried a lovely trio of Sauvignon Blancs paired with roasted shrimp, Parma ham with melon and dollop of chicken salad topped with an almond. The Chardonnay flight was paired with Dungeness crab salad–topped cucumber, roast-beef-and-onion crostini and a slice of Asian pear with Camembert.


The Chardonnay trio of appetizers.

Can you say yum? The wines change each night to reflect various Napa winemakers, and what with the plush leather seats, soft music and lighting, and beautiful people walking through the lobby on their way to Union Square or Michael Mina, it’s got to be one of the most pleasant ways to end the work day.