Happy hour lovers, rejoice. All the recent restaurant openings — along with updated options at some old favorite haunts — means a whole new crop of happy hours to try.
From a popular lounge with a killer rooftop view to the newest eatery from a five-time James Beard award finalist, the 12 hotspots below are offering up newly-launched, must-try happy hour specials, with several starting as early as 3 pm, giving you a reason to sneak out of the office early. Because all work and no play would be pretty dull.
Adventurous drinkers can sample a host of Mexican spirits ($6 per one-ounce pour) via the Oaxacan Lending Library on the happy hour menu (Monday-Friday, 3-6:30 pm; Saturday, 11 am-5 pm) at downtown’s Xochi.
The deal at the latest concept from James Beard award finalist Hugo Ortega (Hugo's, Backstreet Cafe, Caracol) doesn't end there. Save on select beers ($3.50-$4) and wines ($6 by the glass; $22 by the bottle), plus house-made red wine sangria ($6) and thirst-quenching cocktails ($6-$7) like The Houstonian mixed with bourbon, praline, vermouth, and Mexican spice syrup.
Hungry? Load up on a duo of specialty oysters on the half shell ($7 half dozen; $13 dozen) like The Ostiones Asados, wood-roasted and topped with mole amarillo, cotija cheese, and breadcrumbs, and the Ostiones en su Concha served with a tomatillo mignonette (1777 Walker Street, Suite A; 713-400-3330).
Eloise Nichols has already earned acclaim for its standout American fare showcasing locally-sourced ingredients, but the charming eatery also offers a can’t-miss happy hour special (daily; 3-6 pm). Score $1 off all beers and wines by the glass, or choose a $7 cocktails like the Apply Ever After, made with apple brandy, bourbon, allspice flavored liqueur, aromatic bitters, and cinnamon or the Spirit Animal, stirred with vodka, and pineapple and lime juices). Snack away on offerings from oysters on the half shell ($1 each) to a burger ($5) presented on a sweet sourdough bun (2400 Mid Lane No. 100; 713-554-0136).
Have a rockin’ good time at Nobie’s where tunes from classic rock to hip hop, played on vintage equipment, get the party started. Oysters by the half dozen ($9), and select beers and wines by the glass ($5 each) are all available during happy hour here (Tuesday-Thursday; 5-7 pm). The quaint Montrose restaurant goes that extra boozy mile, adding a beer-shot combo ($5) of either a pale lager or Milwaukee’s finest, along with a shooter of well liquor (2048 Colquitt St.; 346-319-5919).
Five bucks will get you any of five bites during the “Five for Five” deal (Monday-Friday, 3 -6 pm) at State Fare, the Texas comfort food restaurant nestled in the Gateway Memorial City complex. Dig into items like jalapeno poppers and short rib poutine, which features a stack of hand-cut fries topped with white cheddar and braised short ribs drenched in a savory brown gravy.
Chill out with a specially-priced draft brew ($4) or glass of wine ($6), or heat things up with the Bartenders Pick ($6), a 16-ounce beer paired with a shot of "Fire & Damnation," aka house made Fireball (947 Gessner, Ste. B190; 832-831-0950).
There’s no shortage of specials at Kitchen 713 (Tuesday-Friday; 3-7 pm), where the globally-inspired list of delicious eats includes boudin croquettes ($6) with pickled chili and house-made mustard, smoked lamb sliders ($9), and jerk ribs ($9) with black mustard seeds and house-made blue cheese dressing.
Expect well drinks ($6), wines by the glass ($6), beers on tap ($5) and creative cocktails ($9-$10) like the Beauty and Brains, a blend of gin, ruby port, vermouth, pomegranate, ginger, and lemon, on the drink roster.
The daily rotating deal offers even more options for keeping things fresh. On Tuesdays, the casual spot offers $5 margaritas and $2 off tequila drinks. On Wednesdays, take 30 percent off all bottles of wine. Imbibe $7 caipirinha cocktails (Brazilian white rum, lemon juice, sugar) on Thursdays and $7 Forbidden cocktails (saffron bitters, quince, cognac, rosewater, lemon juice) on Fridays (4601 Washington Ave. #130; 713- 842-7114).
With a view of the bustling intersection of Westheimer and Montrose, the rooftop patio at Rosemont offers a perch high above the noisy street below. The bar and lounge runs a deal (Tuesday-Friday; 5-8 pm) complete with bar bites, from house-made kettle chips ($3) to Wagyu beef sliders ($9), and sips including beer ($3-$4), wines by the glass ($5) and specialty cocktails ($6-$8) such as the Spicy Mexican Mule made with passion fruit juice, cucumber chili tequila, lime, and ginger (2750 Grant Street; 713- 231-0712).
SideBar at The Westin at The Woodlands
Located steps from the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion concert amphitheater, you never know which A-list musician you might run into at this posh hotel. The recently-launched happy hour menu (Sunday-Friday; 4-7 pm) at SideBar boasts more than 25 craft beers for just $5 each. Hummus, chips and truffle fries are also $5 apiece, while heartier fare like burgers, quesadillas, a cheese plate, and chicken wings are all priced at 30-percent off (2 Waterway Square Place, The Woodlands; 281-419-4300).
Weights + Measures
You can’t go wrong with half-price drinks (Monday-Friday; 3:30-6:30 pm) at Midtown’s Weights + Measures, including wines by the glass, draft beers, and cocktails such as the Purple Rain made with silver tequila, crème de violette, blackberry, and lemon, and Becky with the Good Hair, which marries vodka with lemon juice, honey, and limoncello. Fill up on the smoked Scamorza (mild white Italian cheese) stack with calabrian tomato sauce and chives ($7), salmon and bacon sliders ($10), and more (2808 Caroline; 713-654-1970).
Field & Tides
During happy hour (Monday-Friday; 3-6 pm) at cozy Heights neighborhood spot Field & Tides, the kitchen offers a dozen Gulf oysters for $6, while the bar serves up premium drinks and wines by the glass for $2 off each. You can also expect to save on beers by the can and by the bottle ($1 off), draft beers ($5 each), and craft cocktails like the El Vaquero ($9) with mezcal, lime juice, agave, and frothy egg whites (705 East 11th St.; 713-861-6143).
Grotto Ristorante Downtown
Social hour (Monday-Friday: 3-7 pm) at the downtown outpost of Italian ristorante Grotto features draft beer ($4) and wines by the glass ($6). Cocktails from The Fix, a combination of bourbon, bitter orange Italian aperitif, Italian bitter digestif, and lemon and orange juices, to the Tuscan sangria with Chianti wine, vanilla liqueur, vermouth, house-made lemoncello, orange juice, lime juice, and simple syrup, can be yours for $7 apiece (1001 Avenida de las Americas, Suite A; 713-658-0752).
Delectable bites ($5-$9) including a trio of house-made chutneys and spinach-feta stuffed naan, as well as sinfully-good cocktails ($10-$14) like the Japanese whisky and spiced pear liqueur based Toki Samay, make happy hour (Monday-Friday; 4-7 pm) at upscale Indian restaurant Kiran’s near Upper Kirby a no-brainer (2925 Richmond Ave. Houston, 713-960-8472).
Local Foods Downtown
The downtown locale of Local Foods features a standout happy hour special (daily; 4-7 pm). Count on $4 draft beers, $5 sangria, $4 house wines, and $6 wells. Several specialty cocktails (we recommend the Lemon Basil Gimlet; $6) and fare like the Gulf cioppino with blue crab, shrimp, kale, Italian salsa verde, and ciabatta ($18), and snapper ceviche ($9) are also a part of the deal (420 Main St.; 713-227-0531).