The Return of Happy Hour

Cheap eats and door-buster drink specials return

happyhour.jpgIt had to happen. Rough economic times equal a goldmine for bargain hunters — especially when it comes to food and beverages. Looking to pack the house, restaurants are resorting to an age-old ploy to get you in the door: Happy Hour.

Once the sole refuge of sports bars and low-brow eateries, Happy Hour has gone mainstream. Seeking the afterwork cocktail crowd, higher end restaurants are dreaming up fantabulous cheap eats between 4 and 6pm (and sometimes beyond) to whet your appetite…and your thirst. Some are even starting reverse happy hours between 8 and 9:30 to grab late-nighters.

Read on for some of our faves, and add your own.

Healdsburg’s “Just don’t call it Happy Hour” hour

According to Barndiva’s Jil Hale, the local cocktail cops aren’t too hot on restaurants hosting “official” happy hours, so they’ve gotten around the issue by calling it the Mellow Hour. Which is appropriate considering the level of grand mixololgy happening at this Slow Food-inspired eatery. From Wed-Friday, Barndiva offers up its specialty cocktails for $8. During Sunday Brunch, in addition to their infamous ‘bartenders breakfast’ (Bloody Marys) lead bartender Spencer will make any cocktail you see in the Sunday papers for $8. Hale says the Times is the read of choice, but they’re open to anything. But here’s the real insider tip: On Wednesdays, Spencer previews his new cocktails and if you’re willing to be a guinea pig, he’ll knock down the price a bit for ya. Tell him BiteClub sent you.
231 Center St, Healdsburg, (707) 431-0100

Also in Healdsburg: Healdsburg Bar and Grill: 3:30 to 5:30pm M-Thurs, draft beer and cocktail specials. 245 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, (707) 433-3333

Santa Rosa Happy Hours

Crepes and cocktails
Bistro 29 will debut their new Happy Hour special, $5 crepes (including duck confit, ratatouille and ham & egg) starting April 7. In addition to their top-notch buckwheat crepes, they’ll offer $10 off any bottle of wine and champagne cocktails. 620 5th Street, Santa Rosa, (707) 546-2929.

Stout Brothers offers up $2 off all appetizers (including it’s fried green beans and beer-battered onion rings) from 4-6 pm, along with $4 imperial pints and $3 well drinks.527 4th Street: Santa Rosa, CA : (707) 636-0240

Stark’s Steakhouse
Until the Dow reaches 10,000, Stark’s Steakhouse is offering $2 and $3 apps (including their sliders) and their house brew between 3 and 6pm Mon-Friday. 521 Adams, Santa Rosa.

Two dollar Tuesdays are packing ’em into the revamped Fountaingrove Bar. Chef Jeff Reilly does killer carnitas, garlic fries and is adding new items like lettuce wraps. The bar does a reverse happy hour Monday-Thursday from 9:30pm-10:30pm.101 Fountaingrove Pkwy, Santa Rosa.

Russian River Brewing
Beer bites and Pliny! Happy hour M-F from 4-6:30pm and all day Sunday. 725 4th Street, Santa Rosa

Mary’s Pizza Shack
Monday through Friday from 4-6pm, Mary’s Pizza Shack will offer ½ off appetizers, $2.50 well drinks and $2.50 draft beer at the Fourth St. location in downtown SR.

Vintner’s Inn/Frontroom bar and lounge
Martini Mondays 5-7pm, Sip n Snack thursday from 5-7pm featuring wine and appetizer for $10. 4350 Barnes Rd, Santa Rosa.

Legends at Bennett Valley Golf Club
M-Sun, 3-6pm’ Quesadilla, nachos, sliders Thai wings, lettuce wraps, $3.50 to $4.50 plus drink specials.3330 Yulupa Ave, Santa Rosa.

Third Street Aleworks
Hoppy Hour, $2.75 pints on weekdays from 4 – 6 PM

The Belvedere
Happy hour daily between 4-6pm, $2 Bud, Coors and Miller and well drinks are $2.50. Wash it all down with one of their tasty burgers when the kitchen opens at 5pm. 727 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa.

The Classic
Ausiello’s has been doing Happy Hour for 27 years. Check in from 5 to 6:30pm daily when they offer up .25 wings, breadsticks and discouts on appetizers along with $2 Budweiser pints. Also doing a reverse HH daily from 8:30 to 9pm. 609 5th St, Santa Rosa.

Margarita Madness: Las Guitarras
Friday night Happy Hour from 4 to 6pm with hot wings, beans & chorizo along with top-shelf margaritas and tequila specials ranging from $5.75 to $7.50.7384 Commerce Blvd, Cotati – (707) 792-4380

Penngrove Bar Bites
Humble Pie’s sharing the grub love with next door neighbor, The Black Cat Bar. While you’re downing a pint, grab hold of a housemade beer pretzel with spicy mustard, foccaccia pizza with fresh veggies, a BLT sandwich or cupcakes. Most items are $5 or less (except the BLT, which is $10 and includes a salad.) 0056 Main Street Penngrove California. 707-664-8779.

Join the Happy Hour Roll Call in the BiteClub forums.

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35 thoughts on “The Return of Happy Hour

  1. Half Price Happy Hour at Jack and Tony’s weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m.
    and Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m.
    Well drinks, beers and wine by the glass all half price.
    Check it out…

  2. Quirky Girl et al – There is a great witty review on Equus’ $2 Tuesdays and Thursdays via North Bay The blogger said the food, drinks and service was great.. I went and have to whole-heartedly AGREE!! EQUUS $2 TUESDAYS & THURSDAYS is the BOMB!
    Marilyn – I also noticed that North Bay Barfly has some music reviews. Looks like a fun site to get info local nightclub venues, bars and an occasional recipe.

  3. Quirky Girl et al – There is a great witty review on Equus’ $2 Tuesdays and Thursdays via North Bay The blogger said the food, drinks and service was great.. I went and have to whole-heartedly AGREE!! EQUUS $2 TUESDAYS & THURSDAYS is the BOMB!
    Marilyn – I also noticed that North Bay Barfly has some music reviews. Looks like a fun site to get info local nightclub venues, bars and an occasional recipe.

  4. My friend, Husband and I were looking for a good happy hour a few weeks ago and decided on Langley’s. The bartender was super nice and we got great price on our drinks. The problem? The mini Pulled Pork sandwiches were awful….no flavor at all, the Sweet Potato Fries were good but the sauce was terrible. When we were having some small talk with the bartender I told her we were going to go to Vintner’s Inn but decided Langley’s based upon the comments Sara Langley had left. I asked the bartender to let her know that her comments really do make a difference. Not one time did Sara, who was busy behind the bar and right in front of me several times, say thank you for coming or any type of comments to us at all. I was very surprised by this. In this economy I believe when you are an owner and you see people spending money at your establishment you should say SOMETHING. We will be back but now I know what to expect.

  5. Langley’s on the Green in Windsor. Sorry, I was replying to someone ad I thought it would show the website and it didn’t. Anyways, my husband and I have opened the restaurant almost 6 years ago and have recently made some changes to add a lounge area. Happy Hour has become very popular with the locals. We have just addena new cocktail list for Spring. I love the Happy Gilmore and the Cucumber Mojitos!

  6. Sara Langley… WHAT resturaunt are you blogging about? I’m assuming it’s Langley’s (Windsor) but no where do you mention the name of this establishment…minor detail, I think LOL

  7. We have exactly what you are looking for! We have added a huge romantic lounge with leather love seats and coffee tables and serve small plates! We serve Happy Hour every night from 5-7pm everywhere in the restaurant. We are known for our mini burgers, pulled pork sandwiches and pot stickers.Most people come to drink and share food. The Lemon Drops,Cosmos and Raspberry Lemon Drops are fabulous! The lounge has become very popular! There are conversation areas that seat between 4-6 and we can also push the couches together for large groups up to 14. We host a lot of “Mommy Nights Out” groups. We are hoping people will start coming to the lounge late and hang our after they go to a movie or want to meet with their friends. Please come try us out. We made these changes because of the economy and we had to expand our bar somehow,so the cozy lounge was a perfect fit for our neighborhood restaurant!

  8. annadel…It was the other Mark that made the comment about Sylvia, not me. As far as me recommending the onion rings, chicken wings and fries at Mondo, don’t be such a snob! By the way, they’re buttermilk-panko onion rings and they’re delicious!

  9. Thanks Quirky Girl for your comments…we take customer feeback very seriously. Tuesday’s are very popular because of our promotion and we have taken every step to ensure that our guests enjoy their time! Come back and give us another try

  10. Bacchus Restaurant inside the Doubletree in Rohnert Park has a great happy hour that is 7days a week with $2 beers, $3 Happy-Tinis and Appetizer Specials. 4:30 to 6:30pm.

  11. Don’t, I repeat DON’T go to Equus for $2 Tuesday’s unless you bring your own. They have not “ramped up” the staff in the Bar at all, but are promoting it all over town. Lack of planning. There are far better choices out there.

  12. What did I rave about? But yes, chicken wings rule…I still gotta find these mysterious “onion wings” you speak of however…”enuf said”

  13. Snarky Mark… I think Syliva wanted to go out later, not earlier.
    but then again, you’re raving about chicken wings, onion wings and such… enuf said

  14. Does Brasserie @ the hilton in SR still have the late night happy hour? Something like 8-10pm? For Syvia…Mark you weren’t paying attention…she was looking for something LATER.

  15. Sylvia W. you seem to have a problem with most places….I’m sure Oakmont has an early bird special for you and your silver hawk friends =)

  16. Off subect but curious
    What happened to Elmo’s steakhouse and is Stella’s coming back? I loved Stella’s and I certainly hope so.

  17. “STIR” is so relaxing and comfortable. The designer drinks really are good. Congratulations to the owners and bartenders for such a great place.

  18. Mondo in Sonoma has a great Hpy Hr! Tues-Sun (closed Mon)from 3-6 they have pints (20+ choices, incl. Pliny the Elder) for $3. Also $1 off selected appetizers, incl. great chicken wings, onion rings, and french fries.

  19. I didn’t see mention anywhere of music. romantic, blues, jzazzz, piano bars,NOT Kareoke, with real pianists, and singers. Why not go first class? friendship and romance bloom with music, not just booze.

  20. Dang! ONLY ONE place does a reverse happy hour and it’s only Mon-Thurs????
    What about all of us who labor into the evening but want to celebrate the end of the work week, say around 9:30 on a Friday evening?
    Recently our little hoping-to-become-merry-quickly band hit the Cantina where we had fun but were not impressed with the margaritas…..and the Belvedere where the extreme noise and dense second hand smoke sent us scurrying upstairs….
    Okay so none of us are in our 20’s – or even our 30’s – any longer but we still crave a venue with great drinks and affordable munch-upons and we are – at our best – a small crowd….
    Any restaurateurs or bar-keeps out there interested in hosting us? Ideas from other readers in similar circumstances?
    Thx, Heather, for a great list otherwise…

  21. Chinois in Windosr has a great happy hour from 5-6:30. Small dishes are five dollars each. Five dollar cocktails and $5 wines btg–the Leth Gruner Veltliner is perfect with most of the dishes!

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