Few antidotes to a long day at the office hit home quite like happy hour. While finding a place to drink after work is seldom a problem, why not mix things up with some stellar deals, new to Houston’s happy hour scene?
Hit up the restaurants and bars below — some recently-open and some familiar faves with newly revamped menus — for discounted food and drinks, and still be home by 8 pm. Read on for eight new happy hour specials worth the Uber (or Lyft) ride.
The Pastry War
An easy vibe and festive Mexican decor, including a skull-laden ceiling mural, make downtown's The Pastry War the perfect setting to throw back a little salt and lime ... with tequila, of course. During happy hour, every tequila — and mezcal — in the house can be yours for half price. What more could you ask for? How about free aqua frescas and games of pool. Score. (Daily; 4-6:30 pm)
310 Main St.; 713-225-3310
Spring Branch bar The Branch brings a curated selection of 26 craft beers on tap, mostly from Texas, to the neighborhood ($2 off apiece during happy hour). Select wines by the glass ($2 off), plus beers by the can, house margaritas, and well drinks ($1 off) share the happy hour menu. (Weekdays; 3-6 pm)
7710 Long Point Rd.; 832-623-6725
A host greets you at the door at downtown’s Tongue-Cut Sparrow, accessible by a rear stairway inside The Pastry War. Kick back to an all-jazz soundtrack and mingle amid cozy furniture and a large fireplace while sipping the carefully crafted drinks. Options include 16 classic and four creative cocktails, along with beer and wine. Sample the bar's signature Japanese highball, a blend of Japanese whisky and soda, available during happy hour for 50 percent off.
Half the seating at the intimate bar, with space enough for 25, is available by reservation with the other half on a first-come, first-served basis. If you're going to leave it to luck, happy hour is the best time to score an empty seat.
310 Main St.; 713-321-8242
Beers are just $3 during happy hour at Wooster's Garden in Midtown. What’s more, wines by the glass and a roster of expertly-crafted cocktails are half-off. We recommend the The Friend Zone ($4.50), stirred with sherry, raspberry liqueur, muddled black cherries, and lemon and lime juices. (Monday-Saturday from 4-6 pm; Sunday from 2-4 pm)
3315 Milam; 713-520-0015
Axis Lounge at the Royal Sonesta Hotel
Houston is packed with hotel bars, but when it comes to a dynamic atmosphere and delicious fare by executive chef Robert Graham, formerly of New York’s Tavern on the Green, Axis Lounge at the Galleria-area’s Royal Sonesta takes the cake. Happy hour is tops here, too. Offerings include $3 draft beers, $5 wines by the glass, and $7 cocktails from a cucumber grapefruit mojito to the Hibiscus Lemon Drop, made with citron vodka, orange liqueur, fresh lemon juice, and hibiscus tea syrup. (Monday-Thursday; 5-7 pm).
2222 West Loop S.; 713-627-7600
Ship and Shield
If you've ever wished you could live like a Scandinavian seafaring warrior, now you can—at least for a few hours. Viking-themed restaurant Ship and Shield, complete with a bar decked out like a ship, has landed in Montrose. Fill up on hearty smorrebrod ($8 each), a traditional Scandinavian open-faced sandwich, with options from pulled pork with pressed cottage cheese, tomatoes, and cranberry jam to smoked salmon with scrambled egg, radish, red onions, and dill. Wash it all down with house-made mead ($6), Lone Star by the can ($2.50), and draft beers ($1 off). (Weekdays; 3-7 pm)
403 West Gray; 346-701-0555
Mosey up to the 40-foot bar at The Galleria outpost of South African restaurant Peli Peli and enjoy a discount on bites (think stuffed mushrooms, $8, and sauteed calamari, $10), and libations with select beers, wines by the glass, and specialty cocktails all priced at 50 percent off. Don’t skip the Breede River Tonic, a house take on a gin and tonic, mixed with saffron-infused gin, grapefruit liqueur, lemon juice, and elderflower tonic, and finished with a spritz of aromatic lemon-lavender mist. (Weekdays; 2-7 pm)
5085 Westheimer Rd.; 281-257-9500
Hotel Ylem, a former Holiday Inn Express near NRG Park, gets an upgrade not only by way of design, now an eclectic mix of contemporary and traditional decor, but also by way of a standout beverage program led by top barman about town Hal Brock (Boheme, Hearsay, Anvil). Happy hour drinks at the hotel's low-key bar Esperanto (priced at $4-$7), include select beers and wines by the glass. But it’s the delicious cocktails, like the Journeyman’s Punch, a blend of cognac, Jamaican rum, lime juice, allspice berry liqueur, and ginger beer, that have us coming back for more. Drink for a good cause: Nine percent of drink proceeds go to nonprofit, Charity: Water. (Weekdays; 5-8 pm)
8080 Main St.; 713-665-4439