Through a clandestine entryway in a hidden corner of an office tower parking garage, we enter McCormick and Schmick's Pilner Room. Inside it is dark, space is cramped, and the patrons are loud, but that's just how we like it. This is a bar after all -- a place to tick off another work week gone and celebrate a weekend that's just begun.
Beer is brewed in-house in towering stainless tanks as tall as rocket boosters, but one can choose to imbibe on any number of bacchanial delights here.
As I don't normally drink, and dislike the taste of alcohol, I order a sweaty glass of their lightest ale: the Beach Blonde ($5.10). And it is always particularly refreshing and liberating on a Friday afternoon, especially when paired with bar food from the $1.95 Happy Hour Menu (offered Monday through Friday 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm and 9:30 pm to midnight).
When I'm feeling peckish, and in need of protein, the Cheeseburger -- a half-pound beef patty grilled medium, served with crisp steak fries, leaf lettuce, tomato, red onion, and a dill pickle -- is just the type of thing to fill my belly for the rest of the night. It's man food for manly appetites, and a ridiculous bargain since the same burger will cost $7 at the restaurant upstairs.
There's also jambalaya, shrimp quesadillas, chicken satay, and spicy tuna roll -- all for $1.95 while supplies last.
But on this visit, we settle for some finger food. The Spinach Dip is chockfull of tender artichoke hearts and gooey cheese, while the Buffalo Wings are meaty but dry, served with crudité of carrot and celery. The Ahi Poke, however, contained no ahi at all, just lots of salsa over wonton chips. It was an oversight by the kitchen which I excused since it's Friday after all.
McCormick & Schmick's Pilsner Room
2000 Main St
Irvine, CA 92614
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