2115 J Street | Sacramento
Midtown Sacramento has a plethora of happy hour deals, but I’ve found that the offerings can sometimes be a little predictable and uninspired. With this in mind, I took on the challenge of searching out a local happy hour menu with options that stray from the usual taco, slider and nacho deals.
After hearing about their great food and impeccable service, I turned to Kasbah Lounge, which is right in the heart of Midtown near J and 22nd, to satisfy my craving.
While researching the menu, I quickly realized the vast amount of happy hour items I could order for under $20 was more than enough for two people, so I called in backup to help me consume the upcoming finger food feast.
Walking in to Kasbah Lounge after a long day was very soothing. The atmosphere inside the restaurant is comfortable and inviting. Dim lighting and Middle Eastern music set the mood, which worked perfectly with the soft pillows that were sprinkled along recessed, cushioned bench seating. My friend wanted to partake in the happy hour hookah special, which is only $10, so we ended up seated outside in the cozy courtyard. As the sun pounded the sidewalks of midtown, we were tucked away under a string of lights, flanked by green plants and felt a sense of cooled calm.
I started with a pint of sangria ($4) that was surprisingly balanced and refreshing. Sangria can easily be cloyingly sweet, but Kasbah’s mix of red wine, brandy, cinnamon, orange juice and apple juice was just right. From there we jumped into the food portion of the menu head first, ordering hummus with pita ($3), assorted marinated olives ($3), falafel with green tahini sauce ($4) and harissa with chili chicken wings ($4).
The house-made hummus with pita came out first. Excited about the prospect of great tasting hummus, I instinctively fashioned a piece of pita into a makeshift bulldozer, scooping the fresh tasting mixtures of chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini and jalapeños into my mouth. I was not disappointed. I found the hummus and pita to be an energizing way to satisfy my happy hour “chips and dip” craving.
The assorted marinated olives came out next. Immersed in harissa paste and lemon peel, I found the olives to be the perfect snack while smoking hookah, carrying on a conversation, and sipping sangria. The addictive briny bites complemented the sweetness of the sangria perfectly.
Like a one-two punch, out came the falafel with green tahini sauce and the harissa with chili chicken wings. The falafel arrived at the table with said green tahini sauce, as well as a generous dollop of labneh (Lebanese yogurt) which was mixed with Moroccan preserved lemon peel, mint and a drizzle of olive oil. At first glance the falafel looked overcooked, but after my first bite I took back all assumptions. Bursting with the flavor of a garden of fresh herbs, the falafel’s looks were deceiving, and enhanced even more with a schmear of labneh or gingerly dipped into the bright citrus tahini sauce, which was bursting with parsley, garlic and lemon zest.
Rubbing our stomachs in a circular motion—clearly displaying the signs of being “tanked up”—we knew we had one more dish to try: the harissa with chili chicken wings. This was our most traditional “happy hour” choice, but after I glanced at a handful of Yelp reviews raving about the wings, I couldn’t pass them up. Promising to be a bit spicy, the wings were deep fried and tossed in a mixture of sriracha, harissa and honey, then topped with sesame seeds. I eagerly dug in. The wings were spicy, but the heat wasn’t overwhelming due to the honey in the glaze. The garlic aioli that came with the wings was tasty but not needed. I preferred the wings as they were and, even though I was filled to the brim, had no trouble leaving only bones on my plate.
Kasbah Lounge is a great happy hour destination for those looking for a refreshing alternative. Don’t expect TVs showing sports, or the people next to you throwing back well shots. Expect a classy, casual place to unwind; a perfect place to grab a drink with a date, meet up with a friend for hookah or enjoy some alone time. I definitely see myself heading back soon.
Kasbah Lounge is located at 2115 J Street. They open every night at 5 p.m. (closed Monday’s). Happy hour runs everyday from 5 – 7 p.m. Late night happy hour (drinks only) is from 10 p.m. to close Sunday through Thursday. For more info, including online menus, go to Kasbahlounge.com or call (916) 442-4388.