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A Genuinely Good Happy Hour Deal

A Genuinely Good Happy Hour Deal

Michael Schwartz's top-ranking restaurant gives you another reason to love it with a happy hour that includes $5 "snacks" and cocktails, wine, and beer for half the usual price. Favorites include the savory Caballero (made with Patron reposado, fresh lime, roasted poblano agave, red bell pepper, and cilantro), the Passionfruit Caipirinha, or the aromatic Sonny Rollins (made with bourbon, lavender/green/black teas, orange blossom honey, soda, orange bitters, and lemon).

You can totally ball out on a budget at Applebee's. Try one of their many half off apps, like quesadillas, spinach and artichoke dip, and chicken wonton tacos along with a $4 margarita or a $3.25 beer. The best part is that they have two happy hours: one from 3 pm to 6 pm and another from 9 pm to midnight. Late night munchies, anyone? But Applebee's also some healthier options, so keep those in mind while ordering.

Hibachi is a fan favorite for sure, but can be pricey. So try dining at Benihana between the hours of 4 pm and 7 pm to snag $6 specialty sushi rolls, $4 Nigiri, and $3 edamame. Or try a Punch Bowl (with a friend) for $15. And did I mention that specialty cocktails, beer, wine, and premium alcohol are all under $7? You can thank me later. You can also thank New York for creating Benihana at all.

Let’s Make Our Own Damn Bitters And Remember The Great Happy Hours Of The Before Times

I spent my 30s enjoying cocktail bars and good cocktails, and then I spent the last 14 months stuck at home in rural Virginia, acutely, painfully missing the experience of sitting at a good bar, surrounded by happy people, and trusting a good bartender to make me a really fucking good cocktail. I’ve tried, often, to approximate the experience by making cocktails at home, but you will quite simply never make yourself a genuinely excellent cocktail by following the basic recipes of cocktail manuals and so forth, or even the official IBA versions. Never for as long as you live.

The larger part of this is because more is going on at a good cocktail bar than just the booze in the glass, and no cocktail slurped down in your kitchen is going to transport you to a place where murmured after-work gossip, the clinking of glassware, a sudden twinkling laugh, the cool zinc under your elbows, and the bustle of a living environment do some not-insignificant part of the intoxicating. I miss being in a lively bar so intensely! I think I would hack off my left pinky finger at this very moment if by doing so I could get one good happy hour at a not-too-crowded cocktail bar without this damn pandemic quite literally breathing down on me. Fuck!

The other reason homemade cocktails come up short is because really good bartenders at really good bars often will not settle for just pumping out the IBA Negroni. They’ve got their favorite vermouths, they’re adding a splash of amaro, or doing little cutie-pie tricks with wood smoke or leather aging. Or, most commonly, they’re adding a little splash of some house-made bitters or syrups they’ve got stashed in little bottles along the bar. Not necessarily because—or not only because—their bar menu has to be distinguishable from 300 other bars in town while also at least gesturing at the only 15 drinks anyone ever orders anywhere on earth, ever, but also because really good bartenders enjoy booze and enjoy cocktails and, like really good chefs, they thrive on taking something ordinary and making it special. Their best moves are the sorts of things that’ll go overlooked at home simply because most of us are not bartenders, and therefore are not doing the mixology shit that makes elevating a cocktail at home a real option.

So we’re going to make some bitters we can sock away with the booze in our liquor cabinets or along our countertop or in our bedside tables. No, our bitters will not come close to transporting us fully to the great bar scenes of yore, but our bitters will be delicious and homemade and very special. Also it will be bitter as hell. Screw it, man! We are grown people with adventurous palates, and by God we can punch up a cocktail with some assertive, bracing bitterness without suddenly becoming the cocktail equivalent of vile IPA fanboys. And when you make a cocktail at home with your very own bitters, and it comes out delicious (which it will), you really will experience a rush of that excitement of feeling like this cocktail, this one right here, this is one of the special cocktails of my life.

You will need some booze, for this is a booze thing we are making. You will need some bitter things, for it is also a bitter thing. And you will need some flavor things, so that it will taste good, in addition to being bitter and boozy.

Selecting and tracking down your bitter ingredients will be fun. Lots of things are bitter, but not too many of them will pack the wallop necessary to transform a cocktail with just a couple dashes. In fact, the kinds of things we want for this recipe are generally not treated as food in standard American cuisine, precisely because they are so intensely bitter. Lots of folks do not get much closer to real dank bitterness than, say, radicchio, which is bitter and tasty but which is baby stuff compared to what we’re after. What we want is real alchemist shit, stuff that witches stir around in big cauldrons and later use to turn wayward travelers into toads. Stuff like gentian root and burdock root and quassia chips, the sort of stuff where if you popped a handful of it into your mouth and took a chew your head would implode.

But one does not simply knock on a witch’s door and ask for a handful of gentian root, not without risking an immediate toadening. Unless you have some sort of apothecary nearby you may need to order this stuff online. Here is a good place to find all kinds of cool herbs and roots and so forth. You will find bitters recipes that use gentian root, quassia chips, burdock root, cinchona bark, chicory leaves, rhubarb, or even just a huge quantity of citrus peel. The only ingredient I’m going to insist upon for this particular bitters project is a small bag of gentian root. Gentian root reigns supreme as the single most bitter thing in nature that is also edible, and you will recognize the taste from things like Campari and Aperol. For adventure’s sake I am going to recommend adding a second bitter ingredient, a dealer’s choice that will make your bitters a little more complex and fun. Burdock root is mildly bitter and tasty, and I recommend it in combination with gentian root, which will do most of the heavy lifting. Quassia is another familiar flavor, from tonic water. Rhubarb is delightful. Pick something and get a small quantity, a pinch or two.

Gentian root will make your bitters bitter. You’ll also want to make it aromatic and tasty, and for this we can use some common kitchen type stuff. Citrus peel will go a long way and is a natural fit. Spices from your cupboard will do great, things like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, allspice, and star anise. It’s fine and immensely rewarding to come up with more exciting combinations, too—dried cherries and vanilla bean, or cherry bark, or walnut leaves, or sumac or juniper berries, or coffee or tonka beans, or ginger, or lavender, or raisins. Almost anything that tastes good and can be steeped can be used in bitters. Dried hot peppers? Currants? Lemongrass? Yes, dammit, yes! If you want a perfectly excellent bitters that will not require much hunting around for exotic ingredients, get three navel oranges, two big grapefruits, some little spice bottles of star anise, cloves, and allspice, and a bag of sumac berries. A few of those spices you probably have in your spice rack today. Sumac berries are reasonably common, but you can also order some when you order your roots.

Finally, you will need booze. For the most part your bitters will be used to punch up whiskey cocktails, and so we will want to steep our ingredients in whiskey. Since the alcohol is being used for steeping, and since we will want the end product to last for a long time, ideally you will use a higher-proof whiskey, something 100-proof or higher. But it will be fine to use any whiskey you happen to have around, or whatever is your favorite, or whatever is cheap. You’ll be doling out your bitters a few tiny dashes at a time, and it will be heavily altered by the bittering, so probably I would not use any extremely high-end, expensive stuff for this. Whatever you choose, you will need three cups of whiskey. And you are going to need at least three sealable jars, preferably of the standard mason jar size.

Get your citrus out onto your counter and grab a peeler or a zester and get going. You are going to peel or zest all three oranges and both grapefruits, and then you are going to deposit all the peels or zest onto a sheet of tinfoil or a clean baking dish. Unlike with limoncello, it will not be quite so important that you avoid all pith, so you can peel a little bit more aggressively. On the other hand, the less pith you use, the better your citrus flavor will be, so if you have the stamina to peel and scrape, by all means peel and scrape. When you’ve got all your citrus peel or zest on the foil or baking sheet or whatever, sock it in the oven, turn the oven on the lowest temperature, and let it sit in there for … a while. The goal is to gently dry out the citrus peel without burning it. Zest will dry much more quickly than peels, especially if you spread it around in a thin layer. Don’t worry about being too fine with this—check on it after 10 minutes, and then every 5 or 10 minutes. Pull it out of the oven, sift it around, give it a sniff. Once it is observably drier than it was before and you have had enough of this shit, call it a job well done and get it out of there.

We are going to steep this citrus stuff in its own separate batch of booze. Drop all the citrus action into one of your jars and pour a cup of whiskey over it. Use a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula or whatever to kind of smash the citrus action down into the booze, then screw the lid onto the jar and put it in one of your kitchen cabinets or your pantry or whatever. It is going to sit there for 10 days, with a nice vigorous daily shake or swirl to tumble the citrus. The peels will soften and break down and leave a lot of orange color in the booze, and it will start to smell intensely citrus-y and wonderful within hours. Fun!

Back to Day 1: You’ve got gentian root and hopefully one other bitter ingredient to work with. Take a half a tablespoon or so of each of your bitter ingredients, drop them into your second jar, and pour a cup of booze down over them. You can go heavier on the bitter stuff if you want, but please do not go lighter, or you will be known the world over as a big baby. Screw the lid on this jar, give it a good shake, and sock it in the cabinet or pantry next to the citrus jar. This, too, will steep for 10 days, with a good shake every day to move things along.

Also on Day 1: Take one star anise … star, two or three cloves, a couple little allspice berries, and a little pinch of sumac berries, drop them into the third jar, and pour a cup of whiskey over them. As with the bitter jar, you can juke the quantities as much as you like. Go crazy! Screw the lid on this jar, shake it up, and put it with its fellow mason jars for The Long Steep. Give it a nice daily shake. It’s fine and advisable to pop these jars open every day and sniff around, if for no other reason than because cool things are happening in there and the contents of the jars will smell better and better every day. But resist mixing them or using them for a full 10 days, so that you can have maximum oomph on your bitters when this project is finished.

After 10 full days, grab the jar with the bitter ingredients and the jar with the spices, plus a fine mesh strainer or a coffee filter or some cheese cloth. You are going to strain the bitter booze and the spice booze into the jar with the citrus booze, and then you are going to screw the lid back on there, give it a good shake, and set it back on the shelf for another damn week of your life. This is the price of greatness! Spend the week dreaming up (or looking up) all the tasty cocktails you will make once you have your final, most special ingredient of all bottled and ready.

When the final week of steeping in the big jar is over, your bitters is ready for action. Simply strain it into an old whiskey bottle or a series of tiny dropper bottles or, hell, a 24-ounce soda bottle. I went the extra mile and got some fancy bar bottles with little dasher tips, so my bitters looks extremely tempting sitting on a shelf in my dining room. Behold!

Credit: Chris Thompson Look at this fancy stuff.

But we did not make bitters so that we could look at it in ornate little bottles. We made it so we can punch up a dang cocktail! First things first, you must dash some onto a spoon or dip a chopstick down in there or whatever, and taste it straight. Bitter as hell! Yes. Sorry. It’s extremely fucking bitter. But also strongly, pleasantly citrus-y, with unmistakable spicy stuff going on underneath, and though your mouth is recoiling from the intense gentian bitterness, there can be no doubt that a dash or two of this in, say, a Boulevardier, or a Manhattan, or a Negroni, or even an Aperol spritz, will jazz it up into something lively and special. Try just two fingers of good rye, a splash of water or club soda, and several big dashes of your homemade bitters. Delightful! Genuinely an excellent beverage for sipping your way to deep inebriation, the better to remember happier times. Get going.

The Dark Diva’s Holiday Social & Survival Guide Part 1: Make The Season More Fun Without The Stress

(Note: We’re actually a day ahead of our usual Tuesday posting for a change. Can’t guarantee it will happen again anytime soon. Haha)

Wow! It’s hard to believe that next Thursday is Thanksgiving already! How is it that the holiday season seems to take us by surprise every year? I think there are a couple of dynamics involved starting with the fact that Christmas gets promoted earlier and earlier to the point that we try to ignore it out of contempt until it’s suddenly upon us and we go into panic mode. At the same time, our lives are so busy we can’t seem to find the time to prepare too far in advance for anything beyond getting through tomorrow.

Whatever the case, it doesn’t really matter how we got here, since we are here. The key is how to cope with the holidays and make the most of them. And the first step is to rethink your expectations.

#1) The Holidays Are Perfectly Enjoyable When You Don’t Strive For Perfection

Still life of large blue Christmas ornaments and strings of red beads.

Say what? Think about it. We spend so much time trying to create perfect holiday moments that we’re too stressed out to enjoy ourselves. In fact, we can end up making the holiday memorable for all the wrong reasons. So, change your mantra to “let’s have fun without obsessing about it” this year. And part of that is recognizing that there are limits on your time, your budget and your mental/emotional stamina. The first two are fairly obvious, but also remember that we all have limits to how much we can plan, prep and socialize before we start to overload. And we all have different limits. The key is to plan fewer things and enjoy each one more or plan more things while making them all simpler.

Watching your budget is pretty important, because it is ridiculously easy to

Christmas wreath on door.

overspend on social events during the holidays. And that can lead to a holiday financial hangover as well as relationship issues. Allow yourself one social event “splurge” without going overboard. This will make staying within budget feel less constraining. Plus, follow my tips for having more affordable holiday fun.

The same idea applies to not overscheduling your time. Allow for one or two major parties/events, while spreading out other events over the whole season and making them smaller and simpler.

#2) Celebrate Holiday Happy Hours As An Alternative To Parties/Dinners

Bistro on Main in Manchester captures the spirit of French bistro — warmly intimate atmosphere and some very tasty treats.

Meeting friends or co-workers at Happy Hour during the holidays is a good way to socialize and celebrate the season without spending a lot of time or money. If you stick with the Happy Hour food and drink specials, you can get by for an average of $15 – $30 per person (before tip) for 2 drinks and 1 – 2 food items from the Happy Hour Menu.

Compared to dinner out with friends, Happy Hour allows you to explore different venues and try more interesting cocktails and foods for l

The Lamb Cigars ($2 each) at Zohara Mediterranean Kitchen in West Hartford offer a deliciously fresh perspective on Happy hour foods!

ess money without having to worry about making reservations (which can be difficult to get in the first place) around schedule conflicts and having to cancel/re-schedule reservations due to last-minute emergencies. Plus, you have time to shop afterwards or go home and just relax.

Compared to hosting parties, there’s no cleanup (before or after) when you meet friends at a

The “too much thyme” cocktail at The Cook and The Bear in West Hartford is a deliciously surprising blend of tequila, thyme, blackberry and lemon!

Happy Hour. You also don’t have to plan a menu and drink options, worry about spending for a lot of food that will go to waste, or deal with intoxicated guests or guests who won’t leave. You can show up for Happy Hour, share some holiday cheer and leave when you’re ready. (Also, most Happy Hours only last 2 to 3 hours, so that’s always a great excuse to leave.)

For those of you in the greater Hartford area of Connecticut, the following Happy Hour venues have earned my highest rating of ***UNIQUELY RECOMMENDED***!.

Click on the name to read my review, which also includes a link to the location’s web site:

South Windsor

West Hartford

Another nice thing about the Holiday Happy Hours is you can get started right now with your get-togethers!

Hope you’ve found Part 1 of our Holiday Social & Survival Guide to be helpful in making it easier to enjoy the season this year. Coming up in Part 2 on Friday, I’ll offer recommendations for stocking your holiday bar as well as some general drink recommendations to make entertaining easier. And in Part 3 next week, we’ll present some gift ideas for those in your life who appreciate spirits with a twist!

Be Safe, Happy and Relaxed This Holiday Season!

Uchi Dallas

At Uchi, happy hour runs every day from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. A short time frame, but well worth it for great deals on sake, wine & beer, sushi, maki, and cool & hot tastings. For $4 to $10, cold and hot sakes are available, a Sapporo beer costs $4, and wine by the glass is $7 with a bottle $27.

Get some sushi for $2 to $6, maki for $6 to $10, or tempura, pork rib, wagyu tartare, and more for $6 to $10. There’s also a mango okashi dessert on the menu for $6.

The Best Happy Hours in Austin

Olive & June's happy hour runs from 5 to 6:30 everyday except Sunday, offering all antipasti, Italian inspired cocktails, and draught beers at half off. If you head there on a Monday, their piccoli piatti menu is also 50% off all night so it's a real steal.

Their piccoli piatti change up by the season. Pictured here are the peach marmellata, basil ricotta
roasted corn, and white anchovy on crostinis ($1.13 each). A bowl of grilled shishito peppers with paprika almonds, oregano, and shaved pecorino romano makes for good finger food ($3).

They stir up a legit Negroni, using Farmer's organic gin ($6). The Aperol Spritz is a simple and thirst quenching concoction of Aperol, Prosecco, and lemon juice ($4.50). For something with a Texas twist, try the Westside Lemonade, made with Dickey rye whiskey, creme de cocoa, strawberry purée and limonata ($4).

The office clock is slowly ticking towards the end of day and happy hour options are circling your mind. Austin, Texas has no shortage of great happy hour specials, from deals at fancy hotel lounges to the neighborhood Tex Mex joint. Safe bets include veterans like Parkside and La Condesa (and their offerings are great) but sometimes you want to change it up. Presenting: our guide to great Austin happy hours that you may not have visited yet.

The rules: a good happy hour must be wallet friendly, and the food can't be dumbed down or skimpy because of the discounted deal. Drinks should be cheap but also good: we're seeking out more than syrupy frozen margaritas or buckets of Bud.

Below, you'll find a whole set of happy hours to add to your post-work calendar. Got more recommendations to add to the list? Let us know in the comments.

The Bonneville

The Bonneville is easy to miss among the many awnings along Cesar Chavez. Once inside, however, the open space with cool robin's-egg blue walls will help you clear your mind from a hard day's work. To make matters even better, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., the entire craft cocktail list is $3 off (drinks are regularly $9 or $10).

Offerings include Texas-inspired sips like The Bonneville, made with Espolon Silver Tequila, fresh Texas grapefruit juice, and cinnamon syrup) and the Peach & Blackberry Cobbler, made with fresh peaches and blackberries, TX Blended Whiskey from Fort Worth, and Licor 43. You also find a variation on the classic Bee's Knees, made with Death's Door gin and fennel-infused honey syrup.

Three different $5 appetizers are available during happy hour, including the popular red coconut steamed mussels, and two grilled pizzas each day for $7. My personal favorite snack on the list: creamy salt cod fritters made with whipped potatoes.

The Bonneville: 202 W Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78701 (map) 512-428-4643 website


Full disclosure: chef Kristine Kittrell catered my wedding. But anyone who has tasted her food will back me up: she's the real deal. Mulberry is tucked away in a cul de sac downtown, offering a hidden gem happy hour that runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weeknights.

Happy hour snacks include Devils on Horseback ($5), coppa drizzled with honey on gorgonzola crostini ($5), and meatballs in a white wine and lemon broth ($8). There are discounted wines by the glass, and bottles are 20% off. Draft beers, such as local blonde ale Fireman's #4 from Real Ale Brewing Company, are $4.

If you need something more than just a light snack, go with Mulberry's killer grilled gouda with apple chutney on brioche, served with fresh chips ($6). Their heirloom tomato salad with goat cheese fritters is a fine pairing ($6).

Mulberry: 360 Nueces Street #20, Austin, TX 78701 (map) 512-320-0297 website

Olive & June

Olive & June's happy hour runs from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every day—all antipasti, Italian-inspired cocktails, and draft beers are half off. Start with their legit Negroni, made with Farmer's Organic Gin ($6), or whet your appetite with the simple, thirst-quenching Aperol Spritz, made with Aperol, Prosecco, and a touch of lemon ($4.50). For a fruitier twist, try the Westside Lemonade, made with Dickel rye whiskey, creme de cacao, strawberry purée, and limonata ($4). We also liked the earthy Blessed Italian ($6), made with Caol Ila 12-year Scotch, Cardamaro, honey syrup, and lime.

If beer is more your thing, drafts are only $2.50, featuring Austin favorites: 512 Porter, Austin Amber, ABW Fire Eagle IPA, Firemans #4 Blonde Ale, and Circle Blur. (They also have Peroni on tap.)

If you can't hit an early happy hour, head to Olive & June on Mondays: the piccoli piatti menu is half off all night, as well as their list of Italian wines by the glass. The piccoli piatti change seasonally: start with crostini with peach marmellata, basil ricotta roasted corn, and white anchovy ($1.13 each). A bowl of grilled shishito peppers with paprika almonds, oregano, and shaved pecorino romano makes for good finger food ($3).

The scallop crudo with watermelon and basil on aged balsamic is one of the best deals on the menu ($5). For a heartier bite, try their pillowy fried ravioli stuffed with goat cheese, served on cannellini beans ($1.25). But the succulent grilled quail ($7) is my favorite because it's garnished with two ingredients that I adore: fresh figs and pine nuts.

Olive & June: 3411 Glenview Avenue, Austin, TX 78703 (map) 512-467-9898 website


Top Chef's Brian Malarkey's first restaurant in Austin is the newish kid on the block. The space is huge and they have a lot of seats to fill, so from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, they drop their appetizer prices down to $5 to $7, and the portions are all surprisingly generous.

They have $3 draft beers to pair with the bar style snacks like the squid "sweat heat" (fried squid in a sweet chili sauce) and blistered shishito peppers tossed in lemon and its zest. Their beer selection is a mix of locals (Thirsty Planet Amber, Shiner Bock, ABW Fire Eagle IPA, Pedernales Wheat) and a few other options, including Stone Cali Belgique and easy-drinking Trumer Pilsner.

Their house white (Stellina Di Notte Pinot Grigio) and red (Uppercut Cabernet from Napa Valley) wines are $5 a glass. Those pair nicely with meatier dishes like the beef tartare with a quail egg and taro chips ($5!) and their super rich beer braised short rib on mash with horseradish and fried onions ($7).

During happy hour, all of Searsucker's seasonal infused liquors are $5. The current line up includes a citrus vodka, mixed berry vodka, cucumber gin, cinnamon bourbon, and ruby red tequila. You can order them with a mixer or combined into a cocktail: try the ruby red tequila in a margarita and the bourbon mixed with ginger beer, lime, and bitters. The infusions can be served with any mixer of choice or as selected cocktails. These palate-cleansing drinks can cut through fattier dishes like bone marrow served with a sticky sweet onion jam ($5), and poached egg and pork belly on brioche ($7).

Searsucker: 415 Colorado Street, Austin, TX 78701 (map) 512-394-8000 website


Happy hour at Drink.Well runs from Tuesday to Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., with an ever-changing list of six classic cocktails for $6. Craft beer on draft is $1 off and cans from Austin Beerworks and Hops & Grain are $2.50. Their American-centric wine list is $2 off for a glass and $8 off by the bottle.

It's no secret that you can get a properly crafted cocktail at Drink.Well, but not everyone knows how good their food is. During happy hour, try the Ball & Biscuit ($5), mini meatballs tossed in spicy marinara on crumbly herb biscuits. Their Ratatouille on Rye ($8), chock-full of roasted vegetables and goat cheese, is a meal in itself.

Drink.Well: 207 E 53rd Street, Austin, TX 78751 (map) 512-614-6683 website


The food menu at Uchi and Uchiko's Sake Socials (every day from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.) has expanded, so you don't need to save Uchiko for a special occasion anymore. Start with a Takara Nigori ($3) and a bottle of Asahi Dry ($3), then dive into the food. (There are also wines by the glass for $7.) The sake social is only served in the bar area and spaces fill up quickly.

Raw seafood shines here: there's an exceptionally fresh diver scallop ceviche with tomatillo, kalamata olives, and black lime ($6), and an equally gorgeous Atlantic salmon sashimi dish tossed with crispy kale, pear, and blueberry. ($6) The Hamachi Melon Roll ($6) is wrapped in a stretchy rice sheet in place of nori.

If you're craving something warm, order hot sake (a Gekkeikan hot sake set us back a mere $3) and the Kakaige ($3) tempura sweet potato fritters, plus their signature crispy brussel sprouts in lemon and chili ($3) and the dish they call 'bacon' ($6), which features pork belly and crisp apple tossed in a spicy kimchi sauce. Don't miss the grilled beef tongue, topped with yuzu kosho. ($3 for 2 pieces).

Uchiko: 4200 N Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX 78756 (map) 512-916-4808 website

Trace at the W Hotel

It's the rare hotel lounge that turns our heads, but Trace at the W Hotel is an exception—they strive to incorporate Austin's culture into what they do, and we appreciate that. They call their happy hours (daily from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and all day on Monday) S.I.P., or 'social interactive playtime'. On Thursdays you'll find a live band jamming right next to the patio starting at 6 p.m.

During happy hour, all Texas-made liquors are $5. The bartender will mix your choice of spirit (such as Deep Eddy Vodka, Treaty Oak Rum, or Waterloo Gin) with any mixer. To make the most of my $5 liquor, the server recommended that I try his favorite combination: Waterloo gin with muddled basil, ginger beer, and a splash of cranberry juice. If you're not craving a cocktail, American beers are $4, and the house bubbles, red, and white wines are $5.

All "nibbles" are also $5. Chef Lawrence Kocurek's pork belly buns with house fermented kimchi are a new addition to the menu. The "chips for your dips" with crab and truffle dip, curried eggplant, guacamole, and housemade chips works well for sharing.

Trace: 200 Lavaca Street, Austin, TX 78701 (map) 512-542-3660 website

Where do you love to go for happy hour in Austin? Share your recommendations in the comments section below.

5 Best Happy Hours in Nolita, NYC

Not every cocktail at 1534 works with their happy hour deal&mdashonly 4, out of a menu 16 long&mdashbut I'd happily drink 2-for-1 Gold Dusts (rye, lemon, ginger) all night, bringing it down to $6 per stiff cocktail. The bartenders allow you to mix-and-match, so that you can try a different drink on the next round. Best part? This cozy basement lounge has happy hour every night until 9 p.m., meaning that even some of you later workers have time to take advantage of it.

1534: 20 Prince Street, New York NY 10012 (map) 212-966-5073

In my work neighborhood, I need to immediately establish three things: 1. where to get a moderately filling lunch for under $6 2. where to get a great cup of coffee 3. where to go for happy hour. When it's 6:30 p.m. and you're itching to leave the office, a nearby spot with drink deals is a godsend.

Luckily, Serious Eats World Headquarters is nicely located. For cheap lunches, south to Chinatown for good happy hours, north to Nolita.*

* Gripe: I can't stand New York neighborhood names that emerge when we have other, perfectly good names already. Can't Soho encompass south of Houston on the west side, and the Lower East Side the east? And why on earth do we need NoHo when we have East and West Villages? I don't like Nolita, but I'm coming to accept its permanence. NoHo, on the other hand, no thank you.

Phantom Canyon Brewery // Everyday 3-6 p.m., Sunday-Thursday 10 p.m.-close, daily specials. $3 beers, house wines, wells and $12 pitchers.
Featuring thirst-quenching beers, delectable entrées, billiards, a covered patio with firepits and a fun atmosphere, Phantom Canyon Brewery is one place that you don&rsquot want to miss.
We recommend: Soft pretzels and Streamliner IPA.

Snuffer’s Happy-Tizer Happy Hour

Did you know that the Snuffer’s on Lower Greenville is haunted? Well, it sure is. Just ask the servers and they’ll send over one of their staff members that have had a paranormal experience pop by your table and tell you a couple ghost stories. … or they’ll just tell you about the scary good deals they’re now offerings during happy hour on their Happy-Tizer Menu.

Y’all know that I love a good happy hour, so when I was invited in to try out their new options, I didn’t shy away. Monday-Friday, 3-7pm you can now get select mini-apps for as little as $2. That’s right … two buckaroos … a pair of greenbacks … just a couple Washington’s … you get the idea.

As always, the Dallas favorite offers happy hour beers and margs as low as $3 to make your visit truly happy. Think $3 house margaritas (frozen or on the rocks) and drafts (Bud Light, Samuel Adams, & Dos Equis) and $4 house wine and shooters. While I’m not a huge beer drinker, it felt right ordering one to sip … and then a house margarita … and then another beer.

The real excitement as of late is their new happy hour food offering, a.k.a. their Happy-Tizers. Check out the picture below. All that goodness can be yours for $22. And for that price, you can try all of them … and you should. Their fried pickles and mushrooms are legendary* and these small servings are just enough to satisfy your craving but not take over the meal. (Though, really, what’s wrong with a meal of fried pickles and mushrooms?) Their tortilla chips were seasoned just right and the onion rings and buffalo wings were perfectly satisfactory.

If you’re trying to decide what to order on this little menu, skip the burger quesadilla and the queso … save those options for Blue Goose down the street. They’ll get an “E” for effort on those, though.

Stop in and check out the new happy hour serving sizes at any of their locations, but don’t forget the beers and things. Oh … and make sure to order at LEAST the personal-sized Cheddar Fries. (Because it’d be rude to leave without a helping of them. After all, they’ve been around longer than you … if you were born after 1978.)

*at least to me. For nearly my entire college career, when I was in a bad way the day after a good party, I knew Snuffer’s fried pickles and loaded Cheddar Fries were my saving graces. They never failed.

***Snuffer’s invited me in to enjoy selections from their Happy-Tizers free of charge.***

Best happy hour deals in Hong Kong

Doubleshot by Cupping Room

Doubleshot is a cafe and cocktail bar created by the team of specialty coffee roasters, Cupping Room. Located on Hollywood Road, the place makes specialty brews, serves alcoholic beverages, and offers a full dining service at any time of the day. Check out their enticing drink deals to bring you back in the evening.

Happy Hour Deal: Get 50 percent off on cocktails when you pay the bill by 5pm, 40 percent by 6pm, and 30 percent off by 7pm

When: Monday to Friday, 4pm to 7pm

La Rambla

This Spanish eatery at IFC Mall serves up some of the best tapas in the city, but also boasts a generous happy hour deal, suited for the after-work crowd.

Happy Hour Deal: Discounted prices on both food and drink. Selected signature cocktails at $120, with wines and beers on tap starting at $65.

When: Daily, 3pm to 8pm

Ichu Peru

This Peruvian restaurant in H Queen&rsquos serves great dishes and drink deals that can be enjoyed by the terrace.

Happy Hour Deals: They have a great selection of pisco cocktails available at $70 cocktail classics like Negronis, Espresso Martinis, and Aperol Spritzes are priced at $60 per order house wines, beers, and Proseccos are available for $50 per glass. They also offer Peruvian bar snacks at lower prices that go down great with their drinks.

When: Monday to Friday, 3pm to 8pm


Sensu in Jaffe Tower is the third restaurant from the Gosango Group. They have a great line up of menu for all-day dining and afternoon teas, but their drink deals are what catches our eye.

Happy Hour Deal: For $198, patrons can enjoy 90 minutes of free-flow alcohol, which includes their house umeshu, flavoured shochu, and highballs.

When: Daily, 5.30pm to 10pm

Bar at Armoury

An ideal post-work hangout or somewhere to take visitors, Armoury spills out onto Tai Kwun&rsquos charming colonial-era parade ground.

Happy hour deal: Pretend you&rsquore in a European market square with draft beers, wines and cocktails, like Aperol spritz, all $50.

When: Monday to Sunday, 3pm to 8pm


Rubia, the newly opened Spanish restaurant from the team behind neighbourhood favourite Pica Pica, doesn&rsquot only serve excellent tapas in their welcoming venue, they also have some mean happy hour deals.

Happy Hour Deal: Enjoy a two-for-one deal on select drinks at the bar, which include two of their signature cocktails, the Balencia ($85), and the Americano ($75). Select bottles of wine and cava are available at half price for patrons who dine in between 6pm to 7pm.

When: Both deals run daily the two for one runs from 3pm to 7pm.


Meats is strictly for hardcore carnivores, and their happy hour deals make it just another reason for a nighttime rendezvous with friends.

Happy Hour Deal: Drink up on discounted cocktails such as Moscow Mules ($40), mojitos ($50) and Negronis ($60). Beers, wines, and spirits are also available at discounted prices. Bar snacks like Cajun Fries, fried chicken, and beef tartare are all discounted, starting at $40.

When: Monday to Friday, 5pm to 7pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 3pm to 7.30pm

James Suckling Wine Central

Founded by world-famous wine critic James Suckling, this is one of the best wine bars in town. Take advantage of the bar's weekly double happy hour, covering a rotating wine menu that would typically be available at $600 to $950 per bottle.

Happy Hour Deal: $60 per glass on selected bottles catch this week's Bordeaux Happy Hour wine menu which includes Chateau Ferrande Graves Blanc 2017, Chateau Dauzac Margaux 2017, and Château La Dominique Saint-Émilion 2016, among others.

When: Monday to Saturday, 5pm to 6.30pm and 10pm to 11.30pm

The Shady Acres

This free-spirited bar is shaking things up on Peel Street with reasonably-priced food, and a great selection of wines and cocktails.

Happy Hour Deal: The rotating cocktail of the day is $50, and beers are available for $20. Wines by the glass start at $35, and house pour spirits starts at $45. If you&rsquore feeling peckish, you can start the night with their three snack options: the sardine crostinis ($25), vegetable crudites ($25), and calamari ($35).

When: Happy hours are from 5pm to 7pm and 11pm to 1am.

Chôm Chôm

This popular Vietnamese restaurant on Peel Street may not serve bia hoi, but it does offer a quasi-authentic experience for fun-seeking drinkers.

Happy hour deal: Enjoy a Phojito pitcher for $148, and add $88 for eight Vietnamese fried chicken wings.

When: Dail y, 5pm to 7pm.

Winstons Coffee

Neighbourhood coffee shop Winstons doesn&rsquot just make one of the best cups in the city, they also offer fun cocktails and have great happy hour deals.

Happy Hour Deal: Tuesdays are gin and tonic day, with their house G&Ts available for $50. Similarly, on Fridays they offer Prosecco for $50 a glass and $200 a bottle. Also, for the first Saturday of each month, Espresso Martinis are $50 each. You can get a free round of drinks on Thursday if you win the single coin toss. Each round, you can flip a coin, and if guessed correctly, the round is on the house. A dangerous but rewarding game.

When: G&T Tuesdays starts at 9am. Prosecco Fridays starts at 9am. Espresso Martini deal runs every first Saturday of each month, starting at 9am. &lsquoToss the Boss&rsquo runs on Thursdays, 5pm to 10pm.

The Envoy

If you think all hotel bars are stuffy, over-priced affairs, visit The Envoy during its daily happy hour to find out how wrong you are.

Happy hour deal: Enjoy 20 percent off s ignature and seasonal cocktails, mocktails, and wine.

When: Monday to Sunday, 12pm to 8pm.


Not just home to great pizzas, Fini is also dishing up a mean happy hour.

Happy hour deal: $109 for all-you-can-eat wings and fries, and all-you-can-drink Asahi beers.

When: Monday to Friday, 5pm to 7pm.

Holy Eats

Holy Eats lives up to its name, blessing us with not only one happy hour deal, but a different food and drink promotion every day of the week!

Happy Hour Deal: Their regular happy hour deal offers all house pours at $35, including beers, wines, and spirits. Craft beers and Aperol Spritzes run at $50 per order. Every day from 9pm onwards, all bottles of wine, Prosecco, and sake are available for half the price. On Mondays, all food items are two for one Tuesdays offer steaks at two for one, oysters for $20 each, and wines run at $50 a glass. Happy hour runs throughout the day on Wednesdays and Sunday, with most drinks discounted, starting at $30. Thursdays feature Prosecco and Aperol Spritzes at $50 all night, and Saturdays feature another two for one steak deal. If that wasn&rsquot enough, from Sunday to Thursday, patrons can have a free-flow of beer, wines, and house spirits for only $200.

When: Their regular happy hour runs daily, 4pm to 8pm. Varied deals changes daily


Hidden behind the facade of an umbrella shop, Foxglove is a posh speakeasy with frequent live music.

Happy hour deal: The Mad Men happy hour includes house wines, craft beers, and spirits, from $60 each. If you&rsquore feeling a bit more flush, try a signature martini or old fashioned for $80, made tableside from the rolling booze cart.

When: Monday to Friday, 5pm to 8pm.

Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge

One of Hong Kong&rsquos best tiki bars, Honi Honi has a straight-forward and very decent happy hour deal.

Happy hour deal: Signature rum cocktails &ndash including mojito, caipirinha, Aperol spritz and frozen or regular daiquiris &ndash as well as wines and prosecco, all $50 each (normally $120!).

When: Tuesday to Saturday, 4pm to 7pm.

208 Duecento Otto

This Sheung Wan favourite serves refined Italian cuisine, but also has great drink deals throughout the week.

Happy Hour Deal: House wines, Peroni, Espresso Martinis, and Aperol Spritzes are available for half the price every day. On top of that, from Sunday to Thursday they offer two hours of unlimited pizza for $298 add $100 for the free-flow beer, wine, spritz, and soft drinks.

When: Daily, 3pm to 6pm unlimited pizza deal runs Sundays to Thursdays, from 6.30 onwards

The Optimist

This Spanish eatery and bar houses an impressive stockpile of gins, either pairing with tonics or using them in an array of refreshing cocktails. You can even eat tapas along with it!

Happy hour deal: Prices range from $48 to $88 with a variety of select beers, wines, and cocktails

When: Daily 3pm to 7.30pm


It&rsquos not every day you get to try certain cocktails from one of Asia&rsquos best bars at a discount &ndash unless you&rsquore talking about Origin.

Happy hour deal: 15 percent off their signature gin and tonics, and specialty cocktails.

When: Daily, 5pm to 9pm.

The Pontiac

Hong Kong&rsquos best rock &rsquon&rsquo roll dive bar has more than just a great playlist it&rsquos got a great happy hour deal too.

Happy hour deal: Take your pick from $30 beers, $40 glasses of red and white wine, and $50 cocktails. They also offer free-flow every Thursday to Saturday, 3 to 5pm for $250