Happy hours, as we all know, are deader than dead. Or not.
At Aroma kitchen and wine bar in Manhattan, owners Alexandra Degiorgio and Vito Polosa have developed a sophisticated twist on the tired old chicken wings and 50 cent draft idea. Guests get healthy tastes of three selected wines and can help themselves to an array of antipasti - sliced cured meats, cheese, crostini, olives; all perfect pairs with the Italian wines Aroma specializes in, from all over the country, not just the leading varietals and producers, but reasonably priced gems, like an aglianico del vulture D’Angelo Sacravite from Basilicata and an obscure foja tonda Armani from the Veneto.
Wines and dishes change daily in this three hour evening opener called "Aperitivo," which gives regular guests the sort of changes in a menu that builds loyalty. At $15 a pop, it's a steal, but it also encourages lingering and makes it easy for customers to run up the sort of tab that pays a small bar and restaurant owner's mortgage.