Jade Bar one of the prettiest Paradise Valley happy hours

You’ll find one of the prettiest views in the Valley at Jade Bar, the recently remodeled lounge at Sanctuary Camelback that overlooks Camelback Mountain. At night, the houses dot the mountain with lights, creating a beautiful backdrop to the chic Jade Bar décor. I can only imagine a sunset view is breathtaking.

Jade Bar exterior

Thanks to Jan Bracamonte of J. Lauren PR for inviting me to try some menu items and some cocktails. There’s always something fun happening at Jade Bar. Every day from 4-6 p.m., it hosts “The Pour” happy hour, with draft beer for $5, wine for $6, and specialty cocktails for $8. There’s live music Friday nights from 7-10 p.m., and Saturday’s at 1 p.m., there’s a Mixology 101 course ($30), limited to 10 people that features how to make some of Jade Bar’s signature cocktails.

Jade Bar cocktails

Considering all the signature cocktails are usually $14 apiece, head to happy hour to try them for nearly half-off. My favorite was the Pepper Smash #2 (center above), with mint, Krogstad Aquavit, fresh lime juice, fresh yellow bell pepper juice, and maple syrup. I don’t think I’ve ever had a drink with fresh yellow bell pepper juice, and this cocktail had a nice spicy kick I loved. Sweet and spicy cocktails are some of my favorites, and this one was garden fresh and tasty.

I also tried the Botticelli (right above), with vodka, bitters, fresh lime juice, fresh grapefruit juice, and champagne. This was light and fruity and refreshing, like a dressed-up version of champagne.

I was lucky enough to try several of the vegetarian food offerings, too, by chef Beau MacMillan, who hosted Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America. Not surprisingly, considering how fancy Jade Bar’s sister restaurant elements is, this was the most upscale bar food I’ve tried – even the chips and onion dip ($8) had a chic twist, with caramelized onions that gave the dip a sweet flavor I’ve never tasted in onion dip.

Jade Bar chips

The black bean and eggplant hummus and pita bread ($9) was great. The pita bread is baked freshly in-house, and the appetizer also came with a veggie “bento box” full of an array of fresh veggies. Some of the veggies didn’t really make sense for hummus dipping to me (an onion, a cabbage leaf), but the veggies were a cute touch that certainly brightened up the plate.

Jade Bar hummus

I also tried the edamame ($5), which, like the chips, was a generous portion. The edamame was as good as any I’ve tried at a sushi restaurant.

Jade Bar edamame

But the biggest draw at Jade Bar is the ambiance and those views. Jade Bar is full of comfortable seating, with cushy chairs and couches anchored by marble, candlelit tables.

Jade Bar interior

The actual bar is huge and also had a big crowd congregating at it. Whether you want to have a romantic date or are in the mood to meet new people, Jade Bar’s warm and bustling atmosphere seemed conducive to either, and the service was outstanding.

Jade Bar interior

On New Year’s Eve, Jade Bar will be bringing regular dining tables into the lounge to serve a four-course dinner. Diners with table reservations also get a bottle of Cristal at midnight, and a DJ spins all night with a dance floor. Table reservations start at $1,000 for four people, but Jade Bar is also open to the public New Year’s Eve, no reservations required, and with no cover charge.

To reserve a spot at Mixology 101, call (480) 607-2300, and for New Year’s Eve reservations, call (480) 948-2100. Head to www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com for more details.