By Dr. Ink | SDUN Columnist
As countless fellow drinkers lay in bed New Year’s Day with bottles of Ibuprofen within arm’s reach, Dr. Ink and friends chucked the pharmaceuticals and formed our own hangover clinic inside True North’s bright and airy atmosphere, where happy hour runs generously from noon to 7 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.
Equilibrium was restored in two phases. First, with a round of Blue Moon drafts priced at $4 apiece. The customary orange slices afloat in each tall glass were chunkier than normal, as if the bartenders knew that most patrons on this day could benefit from a few extra milligrams of vitamin C after sabotaging their immune systems the night before. We welcomed the nutritional replenishment, which readied our shaky intestines for some serious remedy food.
With the exception of $2 tacos on Wednesdays (offered after happy hour ends) there are no discounts
on menu items. We didn’t care. An order of crispy chicken wings ($9) coated in Buffalo sauce and speckled with fresh parsley further awakened our brains.
“I love it when wings are small like these because they’re a lot tastier,” said one of my tablemates as dozens of high-definition flat screens projected the Rose Bowl game at a compassionate volume. According to our foggy bone count, the wings came 16 to an order, and they washed down like potato chips with our Blue Moons.
Other drinks on special were Coors Light and Miller Lite for $3 each, and specialty margaritas for $5. I feared the latter would counteract with the residual champagne bubbles still lurking in my veins from copious toasts made 14 hours prior, but then again, jalapeno-infused tequila garnished with pickled green beans in the “bloody Maria” is reportedly so effective at curing hangovers that we should have given it medical review.
Before the richness of the beer threw us into nap mode, we encroached on a few additional eats, all made in the kitchen of adjoining Urban Solace. The seven-ounce house burger topped with white cheddar and “special sauce” was worthy of streamers and noisemakers, given its juicy mouth feel and charry flavor. A Tijuana-style hot dog with garlic mayo and salsa fresca was a more ambitious choice for regaining balance; the person in our group who ordered it stopped short of hitting the finishing line. Sandwiches and burgers come with Tater Tots—and plenty of them to provide an immediate carb boost when needed.
By day, True North is a mixed bag of neighborhood folks taking advantage of the bar’s anything-goes vibe, as we witnessed when an elderly, white-haired woman began shooting a mean game of pool with a 20-something male. The spacious interior offers ample seating that extends to a central bar and a tidy, smoke-friendly back patio. Toss in fast, cheerful service and the result is a happy hour tailor made for easing into a new decade or for burying those long, sober workdays.
Craft drafts mix with standard domestic beers, and specialty margaritas (discounted on Saturdays) feature six different types made with Espolon tequila.
The menu is more diverse than most bars and taverns, thanks to Urban Solace next door, which prepares for True North’s patrons everything from wings and burgers to meatballs subs, pulled pork sandwiches and sushi-grade ahi.
Single-dollar savings on beer, wine and specialty margaritas seem skimpy on paper, but the fact that you can imbibe for $5 or less per drink keeps us happy.
Despite its spacious layout and healthy volume of customers, we remained in capable hands from the moment we grabbed a table. No mix-ups, no bad attitudes.
True North’s happy hour kicks into gear several hours before other bars, and six days a week to boot!