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25 Great Happy Hours

It’s cocktail season, and we’re celebrating with a guide to cheap(er) imbibing.


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Foodie Spots to Savor

Banker's Hill Bar and Restaurant

The spot: Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant

The hood: Bankers Hill
The deal: Mon.-Fri. 4:30-6:30p.m. $1 off cocktails, $5 beers and  wine, discounted apps
Why we love it: Because grown-ups need a neighborhood bar, too. And they’ve got serious discounts on serious slow food. Heirloom tomato and smoked mozzarella salad, deviled farmers market eggs, and pulled pork sliders are all just $3.

The spot: BICE

The hood: Gaslamp
The deal: $5 food and drink specials daily from 5-7 p.m., and Thurs.-Sat. 9 p.m.-midnight.
Why we love it: Nothing on the menu is off-limits. While you may be scarfing tacos or chicken tenders elsewhere, at BICE you’re eating lobster pizza and beef carpaccio on a salt rock for just five bucks. 

The spot: Whistle Stop 

The hood: South Park
The deal: $1 off cocktails and drafts with purchase from MIHO Gastrotruck, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Fridays
Why we love it: Because there’s no cheaper way to impress your food-obsessed date than with MIHO’s drippy, best-in-town burger (made with grass-fed beef on a local brioche bun) washed down with a Stone IPA or Airdale Horizon hefeweizen.

The spot: R-Gang Eatery 

The hood: Hillcrest
The deal: $3/$4/$5 drink deals and $4 tots, Tuesdays 3 p.m.-close
Why we love it: Leave your diet at home! We dig Tot Tuesday, when chef Rich Sweeney’s gourmet tater tots—in combos like cheddar-and-chive with chipotle ranch or blue-cheese-and-bacon with garlic-Buffalo dipping sauce—are just $4 all night long.

Sips and Bites

West Steak and Seafood in Carlsbad just launched their combo special: $14.95 for a drink and two mini appetizers. Example: Ginger Rosemary Lemon Drop served with a grilled peach and gorgonzola wrapped in prosciutto, plus poached pear, avocado, and lobster with riesling sauce.

The spot: Extraordinary Desserts Little Italy

The hood: Little Italy
The deal: Gourmet cheese bar $12/person, Wednesdays 5-8 p.m. (plus discounts on beer, wine, and apps, daily 4-7 p.m.)
Why we love it: Because the serve-yourself spread of domestic and imported fancy cheeses, condiments, and spreads at E.D.’s hip Little Italy location is as good-looking as it is delish. And because no one will judge us for going back for seconds. And thirds. And fourths. 

The spot: Whisknladle 

The hood: La Jolla
The deal: $3.50 tapas, $20 sangria pitchers, 25 percent off all bottles of wine daily 5-7 p.m.
Why we love it: Because it makes us feel very Euro-chic to nibble on marcona almonds, patatas bravas, and marinated olives like a true Spaniard while congregating around Whisknladle’s lively bar. (Note: tapas menu changes daily.)

Craft Beer 101

You walk into one of San Diego’s many bars and restaurants featuring wide arrays of local craft beer. Hoppy, malty, golden, jet black, fruity, roasty, chocolatey—the flavor profiles seem endless. What’s a beer novice to do? Check out our interactive guide.

MIHO Gastrotruck burger

The spot: Cucina Urbana 

The hood: Bankers Hill
The deal: Rotating daily food specials 5-6 p.m. (plus $5 well drinks and sangria, and $3 beers at the bar, daily 5-7 p.m.)
Why we love it: Because it’s different every day: half-price meatballs and meatball pizza on Mondays, $14 burger-and-beer combos on Wednesdays, $5 infused drinks plus Twitter freebies on Saturdays. Plus it gets you in the door before the place gets too crazy-packed.

How to order a drink

Name brand or type of liquor + type of cocktail + garnish or ice situation
Ex.: Grey Goose martini stirred with a twist of lemon*
*With a little help from Matt at Starlite

The spot: Flavor

The hood: Del Mar
The deal: $5 well drinks and house wines, $3 select beers, $6 specialty cocktails, 2:30-6:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat., all day Sunday
Why we love it: You mean besides the view? We dig the grown-up twists on childhood classics, like the spiked root beer float ($6) and fancy polenta “tots,” made with three kinds of gourmet cheese ($4).

The spot: The Office 

The hood: North Park
The deal: 2-for-1 happy hour, daily 4-7 p.m. 
Why we love it: Food-truck Fridays. In addition to the regular daily happy hour, The Office invites The Gooch food truck to cater its Friday nights; a drink token from the bar gets you a buck off your order. 

Crafty Cocktails and Brews

The spot: Craft & Commerce 

The hood: Little Italy
The deal: Buy-one-get-one-free local brews and $30 punch bowls, Mon.-Fri. 4-7 p.m.
Why we love it: The retro-chic punch bowls—filled with enough spiked champagne cocktails to get two to five people thoroughly soused, then ladled into charming vintage glasses—let us channel our inner Betty Draper.

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