Happiest Hours

The Happiest Hours: Gingerman

the happiest hours


Beer flows from over 80 taps covering the entire wall behind the long bar; it’s hard to find a better selection. They have darts and pool, and all the furniture is comfortable, arranged into conversation snugs throughout the bar. If you’re with a large group it might be difficult to find a place to sit all together. Your best bet would likely be in the spacious beer garden out back, but even then, it’s iffy.

Sunday: Happy hour prices for all service industry workers. Monday: Logo pint nights featuring a different beer each Monday. Buy the beer and keep the glass. Tuesday: All Texas beers are $3 after 5pm. Thursday: All pints are $3 from 6pm–6:30pm.

304 W 4th Street • 473-8801

The Happiest Hours: The Jackalope

the happiest hours

The Jackalope

A kind of oasis on 6th Street, the Jackalope has a decadent lounge feel – dimly lit booths and velvet paintings line the walls around the padded horseshoe-shaped bar. Horror movies play on the various televisions. Out back there’s an outdoor bar, La Cucaracha, where you can smoke cigarettes and nod your head to the loud music or just gaze at the fire sculpture. The staff is hip, the clientele diverse, and you can always drink for cheap.

Tuesday is half-priced chicken wings, Wednesday is 2-for-1 burger night, and on Thursday all pints are $2 (amazing deal).

Warning: NSFW

512-Go!» The Jackalope
404 E 6th St • 469-5801

The Happiest Hours: Mars

the happiest hours

Mars Restaurant & Bar

This happy hour is for folks who still don’t mind spending a little money, but it’s a good deal when you consider you’re saving about three bucks per specialty drink. They also discount seven items off the appetizer menu, including spring rolls, pot stickers, and hummus. Very upscale feel, romantic. There’s a sprawling patio shaded by a huge live oak, too.

3pm–7pm weekdays. 3pm–5pm Saturday and Sunday.

Mars Restaurant & Bar
1400 S Congress Ave • 472-3901

The Happiest Hours: Opal Divine’s

the happiest hours

Opal Divine’s

Opal Divine’s has tons of drink specials during happy hour, and their food is great. Definitely an ideal place to go to just relax and enjoy the outdoor patio.

Wednesday through Saturday 3pm–7pm, all day on Sunday.

The Happiest Hours: Sullivan’s Ringside Bar

the happiest hours

Sullivan’s Ringside Bar

Sullivan’s Ringside Bar is upscale, live jazz plays many nights of the week, and they make a hell of a martini. Seating is limited, but the crowd fluctuates – sometimes you can just walk right in and sit down, other times you have to wait a while. Worst case scenario is you walk into a bunch of Greek kids who heard about the special in one of their meetings. But this is only a real danger on Sundays. Typically, it’s fun and a very good deal. Perfect for two people.

The Happiest Hours: Polvos

the happiest hours


Polvos epitomizes the South 1st Mexican Food Experience. It’s the best place to eat on that strip. You definitely want to sit outside, where the ambiance is strongest. It’s always full of eclectic people – music animates everything illuminated by the gigantic neon sign and strings of light bulbs. Waiting is part of the experience here, so come when you’re in a mood to take it easy. Wear what you want – you’re down south. You can drink in the parking lot if you want to pop your tailgate. The fish tacos do not disappoint. Even folks who are not into fish tacos should try the fish tacos here. Make reservations if you have a particularly large group – it’s a fun place for parties.

Polvos has happy hour Monday through Friday from 4pm to 7pm, offering $.50 off all house margaritas and beers.

2004 S 1st • 441-5446

The Happiest Hours: Shady Grove

the happiest hours

Shady Grove

photo / Chad Hanna Shady Grove 

Nestled among the Live Oaks, Shady Grove used to be an RV park. They pay homage to this with an Airstream decorated with Christmas lights and a clothesline parked next to the entrance. This is one of the most expansive patios in Austin. Though it may be hot outside, the trees provide plenty of shade. Coupled with oscillating fans and an outdoor bar, the patio is a pleasant place to eat. But outside or inside, this is a fun place – 1930s Texas architecture lends Shady Grove a down-home feel, and the crowd is fun. The queso-topped catfish is famous, but the menu is suited to carnivores and vegetarians alike. They have a fully stocked bar with Austin beers on tap as well as a fine selection of bottled beer, wine, and liquor. KGSR regularly broadcasts live shows from the outdoor stage.

The Happiest Hours: Shoal Creek Saloon

the happiest hours

Shoal Creek Saloon

The huge Saints helmet perched atop the front awning gives away the fact that the place serves New Orleans style food. The vast porch out back gives you a close view of Shoal Creek. The bar is actually divided into two halves: Shoal Creek Saloon and The Last Lift Lounge. You can smoke inside the latter, where there’s often live music. This is also a good place to catch sporting events, with several screens inside as well as a big screen out on the porch. They have a full bar with Fat Tire, Miller Lite, Lone Star, and Dos Equis on tap along with a wide variety of bottled beer and liquor. But it’s their food specials that draw the crowds.

The Happiest Hours: Club De Ville

the happiest hours

Club De Ville

photo / Jeremy Keith Club De Ville 

Club De Ville is an Austin mainstay, where the liquor drinks are poured with a heavy hand and the beers come in 20-ounce pint glasses. This place has a shabby-chic ambiance with low red lighting, and eclectic conversation snugs arranged around the inside of the bar, which is not very big. The main seating is outside, enclosed by a high, natural limestone cliff wall. Bands sometimes play outside, and throughout the year several fashion events are held here. The bartenders have a great music database on the computer behind the bar, so live music or not, the tunes are always good. Despite one bar inside and one out back, the place inevitably gets very crowded. So go early or expect to wait a little while for your drinks, especially near last call. This is one of the coolest places to drink in downtown Austin.

The Happiest Hours: The Draught House

the happiest hours

The Draught House

Designed in the style of an old-world European pub, the Draught (Queen’s English) House is interesting in that they allow their patrons to drink in the parking lot. There are a few picnic tables off to one side, but mostly people bring camping chairs and their dogs to sit around in the sun, drink beer, and listen to music on their car stereos (at a reasonable volume). Inside the place is all thick white plaster, heavy dark-wood furniture with graffiti carved into it, and dim lighting. The patrons vary wildly in age, and that can be interesting. You can play a game of regulation darts if you want. But it’s really a sit-down-and-talk bar with a good jukebox. The in-house draft selection is superior, and coupled with the guest beers, their selection is one of the best in Austin. To see a list of their in-house and guest beers, check out their list online. Remember, these are only their beers on tap – they have bottles, too.

The Happiest Hours: The Belmont

the happiest hours

The Belmont

With a style transported from the Las Vegas hey-day of the early ’60s, this bar attracts an upscale crowd. So dress nice, or at least dress like you’re trying to get laid. Depending on the time you show up, you could face quite a crowd – especially later at night on the weekends – but this is a good place to come for drinks any night of the week. For lunch they feature soups, appetizers, sandwiches, and burgers. They step up the menu and the prices for dinner with cuisine food and rich desserts. Prince (no shit – the unpronounceable symbol, Prince ) once played six songs here for $1 million to entertain a rich man’s wife on her birthday.

Every day from 3pm–7pm The Belmont offers appetizers at half-price and $1 off of well drinks. They serve Lone Star for $2 all the time.

The Happiest Hours: The Old Alligator Grill

the happiest hours

The Old Alligator Grill

This is a New Orleans-style bar and grill. It’s a large place with plenty of seating, several TVs for watching sports (including one massive projector screen), and a stage where bands play from time to time. They have classic arcade games and pool. The outdoor seating draws many people who come to eat or drink under the shade of an enormous Live Oak. They don’t have any beers on draft, but they do have a vast selection of wine and bottled beer, plus a full liquor bar.

Every day from 3pm–7pm and 11pm–1am (the latter on weekends only) Alligator Grill serves $.10 shrimp, $.25 oysters, and $.35 hot wings, along with other varying specials. They also have $3 shots during the day.

The Old Alligator Grill
3003 S Lamar Blvd • 444-6117

The Happiest Hours: Texas Showdown

the happiest hours

Texas Showdown

Showdown is one of our favorites. But, sadly, they’re closing next month, so enjoy this place as much as you can until it’s gone and you have to cry yourself to sleep every night.

photo / Philip Kromer Creative Commons licensed: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Texas Showdown 

This would be the ideal place to come with a large group. Seating is always available (inside and out), and they have plenty of games as well as a broad selection of reasonably priced draft beer. As for food, they serve chips and salsa, Frito pie, nachos, queso, 1/4 and 1/2 pound burgers. The atmosphere is very laid back.

Every day from 11am to 2pm get a 1/4 lb burger with chips and a pickle wedge for $2.50. Same deal also happens Monday through Friday from 5pm to 7pm.

Texas Showdown
2610 Guadalupe St • 472-2010

The Happiest Hours: El Arroyo

the happiest hours

El Arroyo

All you need to know is that every Thursday between 2pm and 6pm, El Arroyo has $.99 margaritas (bring cash!). And it gets very crowded. But if you’re not into margaritas, their regular happy hour lasts until 7pm, and specials include domestic beer for $1.95 and imported beer for $2.75.

The Happiest Hours: Roaring Fork

the happiest hours

Roaring Fork

Drink specials aren’t a big deal – it’s all about the fancy half-price appetizers that will fill you up, like the Big Ass Burger, freshly made guacamole and warm tortilla chips, New Mexico fondue pot, green chile pork stew, and more. If you’re going out with a group of more than three or four, though, be warned that it’s sometimes pretty tough to find seating in the bar area during happy hour.

4:30pm–7pm. Must sit in the bar area to get the specials.

Roaring Fork
701 Congress Ave • 583-0000

The Happiest Hours: Z’tejas

the happiest hours


Though the drink specials suck, the deal on food is sweet: Get any appetizer for half price. While some places save their best stuff for the entree menu, Z’tejas’ appetizers can easily be considered dinner. Quesadillas, chile pork verde, and tostada bites will keep you satisfied. Grab a seat on the patio and enjoy the nice weather and great service.

Monday through Friday, 4pm to 7pm, with half-price appetizers, $1 off margaritas and mixed drinks, and 50¢ off beer and house wine.

512-Go!» Z’Tejas
1110 W 6th St • 478-5355
9400-A Arboretum Blvd • Austin, TX 78759
10525 W Parmer Ln • Austin, TX 78717

The Happiest Hours: Hickory Street Bar and Grille

the happiest hours

Hickory Street Bar and Grille

Hickory Street has been around since 1983. If you go there once, you’ll go back. Live bands play frequently on the expansive patio. The prices are reasonable, you can dress how you want, the crowd is eclectic, and it’s only a short walk from 6th (yet not so close that parking is impossible). The food is down-home style with a menu that vegetarians can also feel good about.

Hickory Street has happy hour from 4pm to 7pm Monday through Friday. They serve all pints for $3 (at 28 degrees), frozen margaritas are also $3. Additionally they have their bottled beer priced at $2 all the time.

Hickory Street Bar and Grille
800 Congress Ave • 477-8968

More Happiest Hours

The Happiest Hours: Deep Eddy Cabaret

the happiest hours

Deep Eddy Cabaret

Some people think “cabaret” automatically means high-kicking topless girls. But that’s not the case with Deep Eddy Cabaret. The building, built in 1920, originally served as a grocery store. Since 1951 it’s been a bar. This is one of, if not the, cheapest places to drink beer in Austin. Pitchers (glass) range from $5.80 to $8.50. A beer bar, Deep Eddy has Texas beers on tap and a wide selection of bottles. They don’t have a kitchen, but you can buy chips and nuts to munch on. Around the side they have an enclosed patio for smokers. There are a couple of pool tables inside, and they often hold pool tournaments. The jukebox will give you five plays for $1, 11 for $2, and 30 for $5 – everything from Buddy Holly to The Clash. Their happy hour is phenomenally cheap.