Best Happy Hours Now: Come for the Drinks, Stay for the Food

Xin Chao

IT’S 5’OCLOCK, AND we’re all getting hungry, thirsty and tempted by glorious spring weather to get outside. The happiest of happy hours can magically transport you from frenzied workday to relaxing evening while staying gentle on the wallet. Here are nine new menus to try.


Loro's boozy slushees

LORO ASIAN SMOKEHOUSE & BARHappy hour (weekdays 2-6pm) at this hopping newcomer from two James Beard-winning chefs is worth skipping lunch for. While basking on the sunlit patio, start with signature slushee cocktails and segue to the crispy smoked chicken sandwich with slaw ($8). Anticipate smoked salmon deviled eggs, brisket tostados and more deliciousness, as well as deeply discounted wine, beer and sake. Weekdays, 2-6pm

Xin Chao's smash burger

XIN CHAOThere’s a newly expanded patio at chef Christine Ha’s place, with a new happy hour menu, too. The drinks are a steal and $5-$6 bar bites will stave off the hangries (try the beef skewer or eggrolls). In the mood for a big juicy smash burger with a little Asian flair? Wednesday is burger day! Sun.-Thurs., 5-6:30pm

Monkey's Tail patio

MONKEY’S TAILBring Fido along, as two large patios await; they’re dog-friendly and kid-welcoming until 8pm. Here, happy hour means $6 viejitas cocktails — try the Mexican Firing Squad, Pepino Sour or impressive margaritas.Weekdays, 4-7pm

Bourbon Improved at Doris Metropolitan / photo by Kirsten Gilliam

DORIS METROPOLITAN Doris Metropolitan specializes in fine steaks, and during early evenings, it’s easy to taste beef for less dough. The Doris Burger with smoked gouda and truffle fries is a happy hour signature or opt for tuna tartare, beef kabobs or artisanal cheeses ($6-$22). Wines ($8) are on special along with cocktails ($9) – think Bourbon Improved and Chill Paloma. Mon.-Sat., 5-7pm

Focaccia at Cafe Leonelli / photo by Emily Chan

CAFÉ LEONELLIAfter checking out a new exhibition at the MFAH, stop by this artfully decorated café for $5 wines by the glass and $5 assorted fresh focaccia. Snag a seat on the patio if possible. Wed.-Fri., 4-6pm

Just Beet It at Heartbeat / photo by Julie Soefer

HEARTBEETVegans relish this new spot for its modern plant-based menu and invigorating drinks and cocktails. Refreshing happy hour faves include the Just Beet It and Vodka Ginger Turmeric Tonic cocktails ($9). Shareables like citrus marinated “ceviche” and spinach-artichoke dip are ready when you are ($6-$12).

Tiny Champions pizza

TINY CHAMPIONSDuring “golden hour,” this EaDo favorite offers winning food and drinks at tiny prices. The northeast oysters are a bargain and where else can you find stellar pizzas for half-off? The “green” pizza is so good you should order two. Cocktails are $5, wine by glass is half-off, and beers are $3. Tues.-Thurs., 5-6pm

Hungry's spicy pineapple margarita

HUNGRY’SPizzas ($11) are fired up in the wood-stone oven during happy hour, and the treetop terrace in Rice Village is the place to be. Starters also come at a bargain: homemade hummus; baked goat cheese; blue crab cakes, and more. Wines by the glass are $7 (Texas Becker Vineyards chardonnay, thank you) and the spicy pineapple margarita hit the spot. Order up – inflation is here for a while! Daily, 3-6pm

Badolina breads

BADOLINA BAKERYYes, bakery happy hour is a thing: Load up on carbs at a discount from 4-5pm daily, when all breads and pastries are half off. At this Rice Village gem, “pastry genius” Michal Michaeli bakes a variety including modern Middle Eastern and Israeli baked goods, sweet and savory pastries and custom desserts.

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