With summer winding down, most people are back at work. More people working means more traffic and longer commutes.
While one way to survive a long drive is to listen to a podcast or a sports radio show, finding a place to grab a drink while traffic dies down works, too. Thankfully, many of this summer's most-exciting new bars and restaurants have started offering happy hours that are sure to fit any budget.
This article always seeks out places that offer food and drink specials, but sometimes a drinks-only option is so compelling it sneaks in, too. Either option is better than sitting in traffic.
The global sushi juggernaut is as well known for its high prices as its innovative cuisine and stylish decor, which makes its daily happy hour a welcome option. Available daily from 5 pm to 6 pm in the bar and on the patio, Nobu’s Tanoishi Hour offers lots of choices. Food options include signature dishes like the yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño, salmon with dry miso, black cod lettuce wraps, and four different sushi rolls ($8 to $16). Pair that with one of four cocktails ($12 to $15), two wines by the glass, two beers, or two sakes. 5115 Westheimer Rd.; 832-987-2599
Chris Shepherd’s new restaurant celebrates “snack time” from 5 pm to 6:30 pm Tuesday through Saturday. Get half off the bar’s signature tiki bowl cocktails or opt for one of the selected beers, wines by-the-glass, or classic cocktails ($3 to $7). Nosh on boudain siu mai, za’atar-spiced chicharrones, garlic cucumbers, and more for only $5 or $6 per plate. 1609 Westheimer Rd.; 346-406-5923
Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry are giving diners two chances to enjoy happy hour at their new CityCentre restaurant; it’s available Monday through Friday from both 4 pm to 6 pm and 9 pm to close. Choose from bites like oysters on the half shell or a daily bao bun or opt for something heartier like the Tokyo-style karaage or Cuban pulled pork sandwich. Get a real taste of the restaurant’s specialities with rib and barbecue oyster pairings (quarter rack and three oysters for $15 or a half rack and six oysters for $28).
Beverage options include a glass of red or white wine ($6), beer of the day ($5), house punch ($8), or one of three pickle back shots ($8). 800 Sorella Ct. #940; 713-714-0126
The Israeli-inspired steakhouse may be known for its dry-aged meats, but a new happy hour menu provides diners with the opportunity to eat well for less money. Available Monday through Friday from 5 pm to 6:30 pm, the menu features bites like a bread plate ($6) and tomato salad ($8) as well as meal-worthy dishes like the Doris burger ($16) — served on a stunning-looking black brioche bun — as well as a beef kebab ($16) and a daily skewer ($18). Match them with select cocktails ($7) or wines ($7 to $9). 2815 S. Shepherd Dr.; 713-485-0466
Relish Restaurant & Bar
This River Oaks restaurant offers lots of affordable options on its happy hour menu. Served Monday through Saturday from 3 pm to 6 pm, choose from shareable bites like deviled eggs ($1), grilled dijon chicken wings ($6), or cheese and charcuterie boards ($18) or opt for individual items like chilled tomato gazpacho ($4), kale salad ($5), or a cheeseburger and fries ($7). The companion drink specials, including half-price cocktails, half-price draft beers, and select wines for $6, run from 11 am to 6 pm. 2810 Westheimer Rd.; 713-599-1960
Weights + Measures
The Midtown staple (and CultureMap Tastemaker Awards winner) just rolled out a new happy hour menu full of enticing offers. Available Monday through Friday from 2 pm to 6:30 pm in the bar, lounge, or patio, choose from snacks like blue cheese chips or Tuscan kale salad ($5 each) or get the signature roasted carrot pizza for just $10. Drink options are extensive: $5 classic cocktail, $5 draft beers, $8 house cocktails, or wines for as little as $7 per glass or $21 per bottle.
Looking to splurge a little? Get a bottle of Delamotte champagne for only $49. 2808 Caroline St.; 713-654-1970
Pitch 25 Beer Park
With the World Cup over, now is the perfect time to try this new soccer-themed bar and beer garden that unites the Kirby Group (Holman Draft Hall, Heights Bier Garten, Wooster’s Garden) with Dynamo legend Brian Ching. Available Monday through Friday from 3 pm to 6 pm, get $3 select draft beers, half-off wines, and half-off frozen cocktails. Food options include salads, sandwiches, seven wing sauces, and loaded fries.
Worried about parking? Use code Pitch25 to get up to $10 off two Uber rides that begin or end at the bar. 2120 Walker St.; 713-814-8157
Might as Well Lounge and Boozenasium
The Spring Branch drinking den from a number of partners including Houston bar legend Brad Moore (Big Star Bar, Grand Prize, etc) keeps things simple during happy hour. Available Monday through Friday from 4 pm to 7 pm, choose from $4 wells, $5 draft beers, $5 frozen cocktails, or $5 glasses of cava. 8518 Long Point Rd.