The term “happy hour” seems to have been used originally to describe a weekly opportunity for sailors in the U.S. Navy to relax and let off steam during World War I. There may have been alcohol involved at first, but the Navy soon issued an order banning drinking on shipboard, so instead, these periods were spent listening to music, watching movies, and otherwise laying back.
Happy hour in the sense we know it today developed in the years after World War II, and by the 1970s, had become a widespread phenomenon. This was a way for bars and restaurants to boost their early-evening sales, luring customers with discounts on alcohol and often food and possibly subtly inveigling them into sticking around for a proper dinner (or at least some regular-price drinking) afterwards.
One thing is sure: Happy hours – most of which last longer than an hour – are extremely popular today. However, at least in part because they are believed to encourage binge drinking, they are currently banned in eight states – Alaska, Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont. In most of these places, there have been movements to end the bans, but they have been unsuccessful so far.
To assemble a list of the best happy hour in (almost) every state, 24/7 Tempo consulted reviews and scores on Yelp and Tripadvisor and listings on regional and local websites, as well as the individual sites of more than 250 bars and restaurants. Our final choices were made editorially, based on these sources. We favored places with the most interesting and/or most extensive happy hour specials and the most appealing prices, with a focus on those establishments known for the quality of their food and/or drinks when possible. (They may not all offer happy hours, but here’s a list of the best bar in every state.)
It might be noted that our list is substantially different from the version of this story we published in 2019, both because numerous establishments in that version closed permanently during the pandemic while several others, perhaps responding to staff shortages or the changing drinking habits of consumers, have eliminated their happy hours.
While all the bars and restaurants on our list offer drinks, and usually food, at discounted prices during their happy hour, the selections they offer and the way they price them vary greatly. Some offer across-the-board discounts on everything they serve, while others tag specific beers, wines, liquors, and/or cocktails with a bargain price. Food selections range from the non-existent or minimal to the equivalent of full meals. Not surprisingly, classic bar food like dips, sliders, and wings are prevalent. (If you’re a fan of the last of these, you’ll be interested in this list of the best chicken wings in America.)
Alabama: Carrigan’s Public House
> Location: Birmingham
The happy hour specials at this brick-walled indoor-outdoor 21-and-older gastropub in downtown Birmingham run from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The offerings include $10 pizza, beer, and well drinks on Mondays, $5 Old Fashioneds on Tuesdays, $5 glasses of wine on Wednesday, and $4 select beers on “Thrifty Thursdays.”
Arizona: Hula’s Modern Tiki
> Location: Phoenix and Scottsdale
Your lucky number will be “7” during happy hour at this colorful nouveau-tiki bar and restaurant (with three locations in Phoenix and Scottsdale): A wide range of tropical cocktails and appropriate bar snacks (assorted sliders, Thai fish cakes, pork tacos, etc.) are offered for $7 each. On Wednesdays, happy hour runs from 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Other weeknights, the cut-off is at 6 p.m., while on Saturday and Sunday, the hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. – but on those days the bargain price applies to drinks only.
Arkansas: Table 28
> Location: Little Rock
The food is serious at this restaurant and bar in the Burgundy Hotel, so it’s no surprise that the happy hour menu – offered Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. – goes beyond the usual drinking-time fare with such items as duck wings with white BBQ sauce and tuna tacos with gochujang and ginger slaw, priced from $6 to $15. Classic cocktails are $7, well drinks and wine are $5, and beer is $3.
California: The Morrison
> Location: Los Angeles and Burbank
Happy hour at this purveyor of beer, burgers, and Scottish-style pub food (now with two locations) is a daytime affair, running from noon to 6 p.m. every day but Sunday, when it starts at 2 p.m. LA Weekly once named it the best happy hour in town. The particulars? They change often, but there’s lots of food involved. The proprietors suggest checking the restaurant’s social media pages for updates.
Colorado: Angelo’s Taverna
> Location: Denver and Littleton
At Angelo’s, which calls itself “Denver’s original pizza and oyster bar” (now with a second location in Littleton), happy hour is a double-barreled affair, extending daily from 3p.m. to 6 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. until closing (10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday). The Denver menu includes $1 oysters ($2 if they’re chargrilled), $3 sliders (meatball, sausage, or caprese), $6 toasted ravioli with marinara, $5 well drinks, $2 off wines on tap, and more. Littleton is much the same, but oysters are $1.25 and $2.50, respectively, and well drinks are $6.
Connecticut: Rooftop 120
> Location: Glastonbury
The setting is the star at this all-year rooftop bar and restaurant – even the outdoor patio, equipped with firepits and space heaters, is open 12 months a year. (There’s a dining room, too, called Nosh 120.) City views and often gorgeous sunsets make the place something special. Happy hour food includes onion rings, coconut shrimp, and BBQ pork sliders ($7-$8), and cocktails and house wines are $8. The bad news? This happy hour runs only three nights a week, Tuesday-Thursday (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.).
Delaware: Skipjack Dining
> Location: Newark
A casual restaurant specializing in seafood in “the other Newark,” Skipjack features $5 small plates from a rotating selection for its happy hour, daily from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. It also offers $1 off draft beers, wines by the glass, and cocktails (the Bloody Marys won a Best of Delaware Award). There’s a small additional discount for members of the military.
Florida: Beaker & Gray
> Location: Miami
With an eclectic menu and an imaginative cocktail program, Beaker & Gray fuels its happy hour – Sunday through Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The offerings include $8 cocktails (including a Suntory Toki Highball, described as “a perfect serve from our toki high all machine”), $6 beers, $7 wines, and a few “bites” like crispy kale with pomegranate ponzu ($5) and shrimp salad with avocado cream ($9).
Georgia: The Ordinary Pub
> Location: Savannah
The “reimagined pub fare” at the Ordinary extends to such unusual happy hour dishes as jerk honey hot wings and pork belly donut sliders ($12-$13). To drink, there are $8 and $9 cocktails and $6 draft beers. Hours are 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Hawaii: Merriman’s Honolulu
> Location: Honolulu
Famed Hawaiian chef Peter Merriman’s Oahu outpost (he has restaurants on four of the islands) runs daily from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (excluding holidays), and offers $2 off house cocktails, draft beers, and most wines by the glass. There’s also a daily “farm to table cocktail” ($9) and a range of good things to eat, from $4 oysters with Champagne black pepper mignonette to Pacific shrimp and chips ($13).
Idaho: Bittercreek Alehouse
> Location: Boise
Hailing its “authentic passion for craft beer” and its support for “local, regional, and independent breweries from the Pacific Northwest,” Bittercreek stakes a claim to having “one of the largest and most unique craft beer selections in Idaho.” It’s not surprising, then, that the focus of its happy hour (Monday-Friday, 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.) is a good choice of $4 local craft beers (“except the really expensive ones”). In addition, there are a few $6 wine choices and a small choice of “farm food” like chips and salsa with drunken black beans and cotija ($3) and classic poutine ($7.50).
Illinois: Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba
> Location: Chicago
There’s always a festive air at this lively Spanish place – Chicago’s original tapas bar – but it somehow seems even more like a party during the daily happy hour (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.). A good choice of tapas is served, including gazpacho, patatas bravas, and ibérico ham croquettes with sherry allioli. Spain’s favorite beer, Estrella Damm, is $4 a bottle, and there are pitchers of classic red sangria for $20.
Iowa: Pullman Bar & Diner
> Location: Iowa City
Instead of an afternoon happy hour, the Pullman, known for its elevated diner food, stages a “Last Stop” late night community hour from 9 p.m. until closing Tuesday through Saturday. Expect $10 burgers and chicken sandwiches, $8 “kitchen fries” (with cheddar, bacon jam, 1000 Island dressing, and scallions), and a range of classic cocktails for $6.
Kansas: O’Malley’s Irish Pub
> Location: Wichita
O’Malley’s is known for its huge selections of Irish whiskey and beer and its 19 large-screen TVs, but also for its popular happy hour, every day from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. All drinks and shots and appetizers and pizzas are half price, and there’s $1 off their more than 230 brews.
Kentucky: Dragon King’s Daughter
> Location: Louisville
Here’s a different take on happy hour: Daily from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., about 20 of this Asian fusion establishment’s sushi offerings (including vegetable options and rolls involving cooked seafood) are offered at discount prices, ranging from $5 to $12. In addition, there’s $10 off wines by the bottle, $1 off all beers, and special prices for sake. (There’s a second location, across the Ohio River in New Albany, Indiana.)
Louisiana: Seafood Sally’s
> Location: New Orleans
New Orleans, one of the world’s great bar cities, has no shortage of happy hours. Here’s one for oyster lovers: Daily from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Area 3 Louisiana Gulf oysters are $1 each by the half or full dozen. If you’re not an oyster-lover, there are also fried pickles and cornmeal fried onion rings ($5 a serving). House wines, including a sparkling choice, are $5, and sangria and selected cocktails are $5-$6.
Maine: The East Ender
> Location: Portland
Reviewers cite the happy hour at this local favorite “street food” spot and karaoke bar as having great vibes. Its “Hideaway happy hour” runs only Thursday through Saturday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the upstairs Hideaway Bar, but is worth planning for the $1.50 oysters and half-priced bottles of wine.
> Location: Baltimore
At this family-owned taquería and mezcalería, happy hour runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, with $4 off what Food Network has called “their killer house margaritas” and “beyond-inhalable queso fundido.” One Yelp reviewer confessed, “We had a party of 5 and ended up ordering 4(!) queso fundidos during happy hour because we could not stop.”
Michigan: Butcher’s Union
> Location: Grand Rapids
Butcher’s Union’s “happy hour is the best of any joint in the area,” one local customer wrote on Yelp. Food specials are hearty (fingerling nachos for $7.50, cheeseburgers for $9), and there are $6 wines and variously discounted beers, sangria pitchers, and cocktails.
Minnesota: Brunson’s Pub
> Location: Saint Paul
There are plenty of choices to both eat and drink at this neighborhood watering hole’s happy hours: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, then again from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday. Just for starters, Sobieski Vodka, Trader Vic’s Rum, and Old Overholt Rye are $4.75 a shot; craft draft beers and wines by the glass are $2 off; bar food runs $6 to $10 and includes a cheeseburger, wings, chicken tacos, and cheese curds; and house popcorn and pretzels are only a buck.
Mississippi: Charred: A Steak & Oyster Bar
> Location: Ocean Springs
This Gulf Coast restaurant, just across the bay from Biloxi, runs its happy hour from (3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday), offering $5 Bloody Marys and Margaritas, $3 well drinks and house wines, and $2 domestic beer. In addition, there are nightly food specials.
Missouri: Retreat Gastropub
> Location: Saint Louis
A Yelp reviewer enthuses, “Go for happy hour! Best deals and always space!” It lasts Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Food offerings include mac & cheese ($8), smoked salmon dip ($10), and grilled shrimp ($13). Draft beers are $5, house wines are $8 a glass or $28 a bottle, and classic cocktails (Manhattan, Negroni, Moscow Mule, etc.) are $9.
> Location: Missoula
This contemporary wine bar proposes such unusual happy hour dishes (priced $8 to $22) as sardines with saltines, baked house-made ricotta with pita, and pork steam buns, as well as a cheese board and a ploughman’s platter of charcuterie and artisanal cheeses. Selected cocktails are $8 to $10 and wines are $7 to $10. The hours are 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 10.30 p.m. to midnight Thursday-Saturday. The same hours apply but the menu is different at Plonk’s second location, in Bozeman.
Nebraska: Stirnella Bar & Kitchen
> Location: Omaha
A gastropub serving “internationally inspired dishes with Omaha flavor,” Stirnella has a happy hour menu featuring selected cocktails for $6, wine for $4 a glass, $2 off all draft brews, and $4 off all canned and bottled beers. The food ranges from $4 house fries to $12 roasted brussels sprouts with oyster mushrooms and ricotta, with a $6 grilled cheese sandwich and a $10 wagyu beef quesadilla (among other things) in between. Hours are 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.
Nevada: Downtown Cocktail Room
> Location: Las Vegas
There are fancy happy hours galore in the city’s casinos and hotels, but for serious early-evening imbibing, this old-style, no-nonsense, but opulently comfortable bar – the oldest continually operating one in downtown Vegas – is the place. They style their happy hour, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, “halfy hour” because all beer, wine, and both well and call spirits are half off. There’s also a selection of $10 seasonal cocktails. Food? Not really. Just a choice of nuts, olives, pretzels, or pickles – two for $8. This is a bar, after all.
New Hampshire: The Clipper Tavern
> Location: Portsmouth
On weekdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 10 p.m. till closing (around 1 a.m.), this popular local meeting place offers a happy hour menu that ranges from $2 Narragansett, Miller High Life, and PBR to $4 craft draft beer, as well as a selection of cocktails for $5 and wines for $6. A changing array of selected appetizers are available at various discounted prices.
New Jersey: Horseneck Tavern
> Location: North Caldwell
A popular venue in suburban Essex County, Horseneck Tavern hosts a happy hour Tuesday-Friday from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Offerings include $5 draft beer, $6 house wine, and $10 specialty martinis, and as ballast, at $8 each, servings of mussels, shrimp tempura, mozzarella sticks, and more.
New Mexico: El Farol
> Location: Santa Fe
If you’d like a little history with your happy hour, this is the place. There’s been a cantina on this spot since 1835, though it was only christened El Farol and given its current identity in 1963. The fare is mostly Spanish, with a focus on tapas, so it’s not surprising that the happy hour menu – available from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday (they’re closed Monday and Tuesday) – features croquetas, patatas bravas, and other little bites ($7), as well as $4 sherry, $6 wine, and $5 local draft beer.
New York: Amélie
> Location: New York
Here’s a more refined approach to happy hour than many: From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings, this French-flavored West Village wine bar offers eight different three-wine tasting flights curated by various staff members (themes include Spicy Reds, Dry Whites, and Orange Wines) for $13 each. There is also a selection of $15 cocktails. A few small-plate food specials, beginning at 4 p.m., include pistachio goat cheese or escargots for $10. (The place has three siblings, one on the Upper West Side, and one each in San Francisco and Fairfax, Virginia.)
North Dakota: Beer & Fish Company
> Location: Fargo
Beer, sure, but seafood in the landlocked Upper Midwest? Yes, at the Beer & Fish Company, anyway. For their Monday-Friday “happyest hour” (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), a choice of East Coast oysters is available at $2 apiece. To wash them down, there are $5 mojitos, $5 draft beers and glasses of wine, Summit Twins pounders from Minnesota for $3.50, and Busch Lights for $2.50.
Ohio: The Rowley Inn
> Location: Cleveland
This local institution, featuring “Cleveland style comfort food,” describes itself as “neighborhood bar” and “a place where you can drink at 7 a.m. and not be judged.” Well, happy hour doesn’t start that early – it runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday (holiday weeks and December excepted) – but it’s worth waiting for. Domestic beers are $2.50, the fancy brews are 20% off, well drinks are $3 with selected brands (like Tito’s and Jameson) for $5. But then there’s the grub: $7 appetizers as well as serious meals – chicken tenders, pulled pork sandwich, hummus wrap, etc. – for $9, fries included.
Oregon: The Pope House Bourbon Lounge
> Location: Portland
Here’s one for bourbon lovers. During the daily happy hour (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.), a choice of eight premium bourbons – including Ezra Brooks, Old Crow, and Rebel Yell – may be had for $5, neat, on the rocks, with soda, or with sour mix. Other deals include a selection of $7 cocktails, a buck off all pints, well drinks, and house wine, and a small choice of $7 snacks (hummus plate, Caesar salad, hushpuppies, etc.)
Pennsylvania: Tria Cafe Wash West
> Location: Philadelphia
Tria invites people to “Unplug, hang out, and enjoy awesome wine, cheese, beer, and food.” One way to do that is during their happy hour, Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., when this charming establishment offers a choice of two wines, two beers, and one cheese plate for $5 each. (There are two other Philadelphia locations.)
South Carolina: Moe’s Crosstown Tavern
> Location: Charleston
“For those who don’t know,” offers one Yelp reviewer, “Moe’s Crosstown is pretty much an institution around Charleston.” That reputation is probably helped by the $1.75 PBR on tap and the $5 mozzarella sticks, onion rings, black bean dip, pimento cheese, and more, available at happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Also on the menu, $5 shots of Grand Marnier, Jameson, Fireball, Rumplemintz, or Jägermeister, and small discounts on other liquors and beers.
South Dakota: The Thirsty Duck Bar & Grill
> Location: Sioux Falls
This lively establishment – which describes itself as “your go-to place for fun, food and drinks with daily specials, live music and karaoke” (they might also mention darts and pool) – makes it simple. All drinks are half price Monday-Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday all day. There are no food specials directly associated with happy hour here, but on Mondays after 5 p.m., buy a burger and get a second one for half-price, and all day Wednesdays both traditional and boneless wings are 65 cents each.
Tennessee: 55 South
> Location: Franklin
Happy hour at this handsome establishment in a suburb of Nashville, known for its modern Southern cooking, runs Monday-Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., featuring draft beers for $3.50, well drinks and house wine or sangria for $6, fried pickles and “junk chips” for $5, and $5 off a dozen raw Gulf oysters (which brings their price down to about $1.60 each). (There’s a second location in another suburb, Brentwood.)
Texas: El Chingon
> Location: Fort Worth
The Metroplex iteration of this mini-chain (there is one other location, in San Diego, California) is great for taco-lovers. Food specials include shredded beef or chicken rolled tacos or crispy potato tacos for $5 and a five-taco “flight” for $15. To drink: $5 off any house cocktail, $5 house Margaritas, a $5 tequila shot of the month, and Dos XX on draft for $4.
Virginia: 23rd & Main
> Location: Richmond
Visit this Shockoe Bottom hotspot Wednesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for $6 pretzel bites, crispy Brussels sprouts, burger sliders, and pimento dip; select draft beers for $5. Other offerings include select wines for $6 a glass and Margaritas, Moscow Mules, and Old Fashioneds for $6.
Washington: Zig Zag Café
> Location: Seattle
This Pike Place Market hideaway, famous for its cocktails, does one of those rare happy hours that actually lasts just an hour – Tuesday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. A good choice of food is offered, from Cajun-spiced pork rinds ($6) to smoked king salmon rillettes ($14). Martinis, Manhattans, and Old Fashioneds are $11, draft beer is $5, wines by the glass are $2 off, and house drinks are $3 off.
West Virginia: Generations Restaurant & Pub
> Location: Wheeling
This friendly, casual family-owned place (formerly called the Swing Club) celebrates happy hour Monday-Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to close (9 p.m.) with 50% off all draft beers. If you’re hungry, come Wednesdays, any time from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. for 75-cent pierogies and 60-cent boneless wings.
Wisconsin: The Mariner’s Inn
> Location: Madison
This waterside landmark (once known as Jack Burke’s Supper Club), where the Yahara River flows into Lake Mendota, does happy hour Monday-Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., featuring $3 domestic brews, $4 craft beers, $6 white wines, $7 red wines, and $2 off any cocktail – plus a choice of seven different appetizers (including shrimp cocktail, fish fingers, and spinach-stuffed mushrooms) for $7 each, served till 7 p.m.
Wyoming: Suda Izakaya
> Location: Jackson
A change-up from the area’s many steakhouses and upscale dining rooms, this sleek Japanese bar and restaurant hosts happy hour Monday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. (at the bar and on the balcony only), fueled by $4 hand rolls (chef’s choice), $10 poke bowls, and $13 kushiyagi platters (with skewers of chicken, pork, and mushroom). Draft beers, wines by the glass, and well cocktails are all half off.
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