Top 10 Happy Hours | Sonoma County

Upscale Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sebastopol and Healdsburg restaurants find new audiences with tasty happy hours

When the going gets tough, the tough start a happy hour.

Once the sole refuge of sports bars and low-brow eateries, Happy Hour has gone mainstream. Looking to draw in diners, higher end restaurants are embracing the idea of offering up deep discounts on food and cocktails between 3 and 6pm, then hoping you’ll stick around for dinner later.

It’s an age-old ploy to get you in the door, but many upscale eateries suffering from continued economic doldrums are getting a much-needed boost from the early evening crowd. Because whether you’re a bargain-hunter looking for a right-priced meal or just an after-worker hanging with friends, these top-notch happy hours are tasty treats for wallet and palate.

Stark’s Steakhouse: There’s no denying that Stark’s is the Grand Pubah when it comes to Santa Rosa’s happy hour scene. Packed to the gills most nights, It’s the perfect storm of top-notch bites well under $5, well crafted drinks and a clubby, steakhouse atmosphere. Rather than trotting out nuked chicken strips and Bud lights, they roll out inspired tapas and sides from their steakhouse menu — tuna tartar taco, meatloaf sliders and truffle fries for $1.50; trio tip banh mi, $2; potato skin fondue, sweet chili chicken wings and buttermilk onion rings for $3.50. Plus a $2 Beefeater martini (Wed/Thurs/Sat), $2.50 Stark’s Pale ale, $4 selected wines, and a couple of $5 cocktails. Chances are you’ll move on to undeniable sippers like the $10 Starkarita, but hey, think of all the money you saved at Happy Hour. Monday through Saturday 3-6pm. 521 Adams St., Santa Rosa, 546-5100.

New!  Rendez Vous Bistro: Happy Hour is Twice as Nice during the Deju Vu Happy Hour Times Two, a twice daily reason to celebrate. One of the few spots for late night eats, the bar bites menu features truffled pommes fries, a petite tuna tartar, crisp polenta fries, battered lobster borchettes, shimp coctail and chef’s sliders. House champagne is $4, well cocktails $3 and beers on tap for $3. Plus, a nifty specialty cocktail menu with gimlets, mojitos, bourbon drinks, dessert cocktails and margaritas from $7 to $9. Sunday through Thursday 3-6pm and 9-12am; Friday and Saturday, 3-6pm, 10pm to 2am. 614 4th Street, Santa Rosa, 526-7700.

Front Room at John Ash & Co: Sink into a leather seat and nibble on tasty small plates while kicking back well-crafted cocktails. Here, you can steer clear of the Jersey shore crowd, rubbing elbows with the hotel’s chic clientele, politicos and pinstriped professionals. Wednesdays’s “Crush the Rush” includes complimentary appetizers from 5:30-6:30pm along with $2 off all cocktails, $4 wine/beer/weekly cocktail and their tasty happy hour bites menu (many under $5). Friday’s smoked prime rib and Sunday you can build your own burger and fries for $10. 4-6pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; until 6:30pm Wednesday and from 3-6pm Friday through Sunday. 4330 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa, 527-7687.

Jackson’s Bar and Oven: Happy hour stretches from 3-6pm Monday through Friday and on weekends from noon to 6pm with $2 Jacksons Pale Ale, $4 on selected wines, $5 well drinks and their specialty cocktail, orange fennel drops (a new take on the cosmo). Half off buffalo wings and truffle parmesan or chipotle fries. $5 sliders or tacos on weekdays. On the weekend, $6 Bloody Marys. 135 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 545-6900.

Jack and Tony’s: Daily from 4-6pm, half off tap & well, plus half off all full-sized appetizers, including dishes like three cheese mac, shrimp ceviche tostada, deviled eggs and chilled oysters on the half-shell. 115 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 523-0492.

Chinois Asian Bistro: This pan-Asian sleeper in Windsor has amazing $5 Asian tapas from 5-6;30pm MOnday through Friday including crispy taro and sweet potato fries with Japanese mayo, Panko prawns, tori prata (Indian bread with curry sauce), spring rolls, lumpia, pork she mai and coconut prawns. Soju cocktails are also just $5 and along with $4 beers.8710 Old Redwood Hwy, Windsor, 838-4667.

Tasting Tuesdays at Willi’s Wine Bar: Not to be confused with Rohnert Park’s Tasty Tuesday food truck lineup, Willi’s Winebar is offering Tasting Tuesdays from 4-5pm. It’s a stellar deal: Top notch local winemakers pour several tastes of their wine and the kitchen whips up small bites from the menu for just $10. Plus, you get first dibs on the coveted outdoor patio. So, there’s that. Reservations are a good idea, since word has gotten out. Upcoming winemakers include Ramey, Benovia and Jus Soli. 4404 Old Redwood Highway, Santa Rosa, 526-3096.

Central Market: An amazing deal from one of Sonoma County’s best chefs, Tony Najiola. But it’s literally an hour, so you can’t dawdle. And chances are you’ll want to stay for dinner. $1 oysters, $5 wines, $3 beers and free pizza at bar Monday through Thursday from 5:30 to 6:30pm, Sunday 5-6pm. 42 Petaluma Blvd., Petaluma, 778-9900.

Thirsty Thursdays at Vintner’s Square: Ray D’Argenzio’s “urban winery village” is an evolving vision for a one-stop food food and wine experience within the city of Santa Rosa. Already, he’s brought together his own winery, along with premium micro-wineries Sheldon and MJ Lords along with pinot heavy-weight Krutz Family Cellars. On Thursdays from 4 to 8pm, local food trucks like Street Eatz drop by, $5 per glass wines and live music. 1301 Cleveland Avenue, Santa Rosa.

Spoonbar: This ultra luxe hotel bar isn’t the spot for .99 hot wings or light beer, but you will find some tasty pre-dinner deals. Small bites — spicy lamb meatballs, marinated quail eggs, crispy stuffed olives — come four for $12 on Chef Rudy Mihal’s Mediterranean-inspired menu. Top local winemakers’ wines on tap are a great value, as are mixologist Scott Beattie’s haute Mai Tai, Dark ‘n Stormy and Daiqueri by the pitcher. 219 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 433-7222.

More spots to get your happy hour on…
PizzaVino 707: Happy Hour 4-6pm daily. Bar snacks $3. 6948 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol, 829-9500.
El Coqui: Half off of appetizers and $3 draft beers Monday through Friday from 3-6pm. 400 Mendocino Avenue Santa Rosa,  542-8868.
Bistro 29: Wednesday and Friday from 5 to 6pm with a special menu and $10 any 750ml bottle of wine. 620 5th Street, Santa Rosa, 546-2929.
Legends Benett Valley: Hang with the swingers at Santa Rosa’s chummy golf course bar and grill. $5 happy hour appetizers (taquitos, sliders, nachos, pizza). Drink specials. 3328 Yulupa Valley Ave., Santa Rosa, 523-4111.

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25 thoughts on “Top 10 Happy Hours | Sonoma County

  1. My fav happy hour is Belly on the Left Coast-Taco Tuesday is YUMMACHEAP!!! House sangria. The Villa has an older crowd early but also economical and filling.

  2. Stark’s has the BEST Happy Hour food options for the lowest prices in the county! However, they are very popular. If you don’t show up until after 5, you may not find a place to sit, OR stand! And forget about conversation – you have to YELL to be heard, even if you’re sitting at the bar, just because of the crowd. If you get there early, between 3-4:30, it’s better. After that, it’s everyone for themselves!

  3. Rendez Vous should call it Crappy Hour. Everything we ordered was off of the Happy Hour menu, yet we only saved $1.00 off of the entire $60.00 bill. Their $3.50 sliders are pathetic (ours consisted of a stale bun, TINY piece of meat, and one slice of tomato), “large” oysters would be called small in most restaurants, and were an extra $3.00 to BBQ which wasnt listed on the menu, or told to us by the bartender who had to take our order because the wait staff was so bad.

    The only thing I would recommend from Rendez Vous would be their truffle fries. Those things were amazing. The bartender was also really sweet.

    Everything we had at Rendez Vous is available at Starks, at a MUCH better price, and is fantastic.

    Sorry Rendez Vous. Take a trip to Starks, and see how a Happy Hour should be done.

  4. It seems like everyone is here to promote their Happy Hour!lol Starks’ hands down is the best. friday night bartenders there always are a good time!

  5. Roasters Espresso Bars in Forestville and Sebastopol @ Andy’s produce have Organic Happy Hour M-F 3-6pm. $1.00 Coffees… They serve Sunshine Organic >>>Thats my Blue-Collar special 🙂

  6. superburger in Penngrove has their slider burgers and beer on tap for $3. accross from the old humble pie

  7. Hey All!! I work at Bistro 29 and just need to clarify our Happy Hour deal. It is indeed on Weds & Fri. from 5:00 – 6:00 with a great special menu and we take $10.00 OFF any 750 ml. bottle of wine. Come check us out yo’!!!!!!!!!!

  8. I have to disagree with John! Equus has an excellent Happy Hour, from the drink specials, to the food to the atmosphere and service! Yes, there’s a new chef, but by no means did I personally see a difference in the quality of the food! Very good as usual! And I just heard they are extending their $2 Tuesdays and Thursdays to EVERY day! Can’t beat it and so worth it! Keep us the fabulous work Equus!

  9. Equus is great no matter when you are there happy hour or not. And the new Exec. Chef is fantastic. I have had his food in other locations and he is a great Chef. I just had lunch there recently and it was superb! My favorite place to entertain and relax after work sometimes!

  10. Happy hour at Maya in Sonoma includes a huge plate of fantastic nachos for $5, as well as tacos and more, and the $5 margaritas are worth it alone! Not only are they fantastically tasty and addictive, but you only need one or two to not know what hit you!

  11. We asked the bartender at Starks if he knew who brewed their pale ale. I believe he said it was Firestone.

  12. Equus has $2 happy hour Monday through Friday – home of the very first $2 happy hour in Santa Rosa!

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