Merienda Hour at Bazaar Mar Puts a Spanish (And Boozy) Spin on Happy Hour

Spaniards really have life figured out. They have daily siesta, eat dinner at 10 p.m. (which usually involves some type of wine or vermouth), go to the market for fresh fish or produce (on the regular), and always (always) have merienda. 

What’s merienda, you ask? 

It’s that meal period to hold you over between lunch and dinner. In other words, a snack, or as us Americans like to call it, happy hour. And since any excuse to go to Bazaar Mar is a good excuse, especially one that involves not dropping $100 (at least) per person, we were the first to raise our hands to sample and savor their newly-launched snack and sip merienda! 

The happiest of hours at Bazaar Mar takes place Monday-Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., during which you can nosh on some of James Beard winner, cheflebrity, and all around culinary rockstar Jose Andres’ world-renowned tapas. If you’ve yet to pay Bazaar Mar a visit and tried his Croquetas De Bacalao or ‘Ferran Adria’ liquid Spherified Olives (literally an olive explosion in your mouth), it’s time to take your palate on a walk through happyville. 

Nothing on the merienda menu exceeds $8, which will make your wallet happy, too. Croquetas (be it codfish or Maine lobster) bring a trio per order, as do Jose Andres’ Neptune’s Pillow—an oceanic rendition of his famous Philly Sandwich air bread, only in this case spicy tuna air bread is stuffed with spicy rococo mayo and sea lettuce powder and topped with tuna sashimi. Tuna lovers will not be disappointed. Rather than sea urchin cones, Hamachi Cones grace the merienda menu with yuzu-sesame mayo and radish wrapped around a brick cone. Puntillitas Fritas (baby squid and pickled peppers) are simply fried, just as they are in the south of Spain. Of course if you want to feel and eat like a true Spaniard, order the Pan Con Tomate, which brushes toasted and crispy slices of ethereal bread with fresh tomato and finishes it off with EVOO. Mussels in Escabeche deliver even more of a lip smacking sensation. 

Puntillitas Fritas

And because no happy hour is complete without cocktails, Bazaar Mar has plenty of libations to get you flying high. No, you can’t get the L2O Caipirinha, or the Ultimate Gin & Tonic, or even the Key Lime Daiquiri, but turn that frown upside down, because for $8 you can booze on Cava & Sherry Sangria spiked with manzanilla sherry for good Spanish measure; Red Sangria; and merienda only bevies like the Spanish Aperol Spritz with cava and olives for a nice brine; Don Quixote, a twist on the classic mule but with Lustau manzanilla sherry and a PX sherry floater; the Clara with Mahou beer and house-made lemon soda; Bellota Old Fashioned with Bellota (Spanish ham) infused bourbon, BBQ bitters, and smoked Demerara; and Sevillana with spiced vodka, watermelon, lemon, mint, and salt air.

Cheers (or rather salud!) to that.

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