by Steven Doyle
We set out an a tour of Texas that had us smiling for more reasons than you can imagine. The brightest moments came from happy hour, and we found some terrific ones that had great bites, slurpy good cocktails and a fine mix of entertaining people. What more could you need besides an olive to garnish off the night with style. Look for a fresh Happy Hour list very regularly on Crave Texas.
Austin has a spirited nightlife that begins when the five o’clock whistle blows.
Contigo is all about the delicious, and the happy hour follows suit with dollar fried chicken on Thursday (while it lasts). Catch $2 local Austin beers on Tuesday, and $6 frozens on Monday. You do realize that margaritas are frozen, right? Think tangerine and lime. The craft cocktails will leave you excited, as will the bar bites that are bargained priced Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7pm.
La Condesa is modern Mexican that has an extremely good bar program which is half price during happy hour. Sample the Paloma which is spicy and tart with grapefruit, or the Margarita Condessa made with fresh pineapple and lime, then garnished with a rim of cactus-lemongrass salt. There is also a splendid selection of mezcals and tequilas to quench that desire.
Drink.Well is a neighborhood cocktail bar with built-in intimacy. As their name would suggest, they make drinks very well. They also have a limited food menu that is half vegan friendly, and half pure carnivore hot action. Allow us to tempt with a spicy kimchi Reuben, or housemade Twinkies. The drinks are $6 at Happy Hour from 4 to 6 Tuesday to Friday. We recommend one called Sage Against the Machine.
Dallas The bright lights of Dallas are definitely big and bright with genteel bartenders mixing up potions to ease you out of the stress from the nine to five monotony.
Parliament has this blind-eye speakeasy feel about it, featuring some of the best bartenders in the city mixing up the classics. This classically equipped nightspot goes into high gear starting with happy hour featuring half-priced cocktails. This gives the casual drinker an opportunity to get to know his barman, and to try out the unique drinks. Start with a classic Ramo Gin Fizz like none other in town. The hours are great with the special running from 5 to 8pm, and rainy days and Monday.
Quarter Bar gives you the look and feel of NOLA without all the humidity and dog-sized mosquitos. The drink specials weekdays are more than fair at two and a half bucks for wells and domestic beer. There are also daily specials on a variety of food and drinks. The food served is pretty, pretty good, as is the view of the downtown skyline. If you are just in town for a visit, catch the trolley which buzzes by at fast paced intervals.
Uchi Dallas has a great happy hour, albeit short. If you are looking for a beautiful atmosphere with a fast pace, great food specials, and have a keen palate for sake, Uchi is your happy hour. Serving just beer, wine and sake, Uchi gets creative with such specials as the takara nigori ($3) and a 16 ounce draft of Sapporo ($4). Great sushi specials from $3 to $8 with the sweet spot at $6. Catch the action from 5 to 6:30 daily.
Houston hosts a fantastic nightlife with plenty of talent behind the bar.
Etoile Cuisine is one of our picks in Houston because we suffer without their $7 cocktails Think champagne and absinthe called Death in the Afternoon, or the Starry Night served with St. Germain and Gin. Enjoy a slew of special bites at even more special prices.
Reserve 101 is a fantastic to start your evening very early with a spirit-launched Happy Hour from 2 to 6pm Monday through Saturday. Think $5 premium cocktails, half-priced drafts and a selection of wine by the bottle for $20. The whiskey offering is unparalleled in size and grandeur.
Wooster’s Garden is our newest, bestest playmate. Especially for Happy Hour when they offer half-priced insanely good cocktails, $3 beers and a buck off the food. Check in between 4 and 6pm Monday through Saturday (we love a Saturday Happy Hour). Tear into their crazy good burger or Pastor Venison Tacos for a satisfying bite.
San Antonio is a beautiful city with a sexy bit of history. One of the best things about San Antonio is that there is always a party and a mariachi.
Esquire Tavern is where the bartenders meet and greet when they need a cocktail. The drinks are serious as is the food. The patio offers a river-side view off the shotgun bar. Enjoy $3 off cocktails and, and $3 appetizers that will thrill you. Think Green Eggs and Ham Nachos, and Curried Chicken Wings to satisfy. Happy Hour is 3 to 7pm Monday to Friday.
Liberty Bar features local fare and great cocktails. The crowd is very local and the setting is in this beautiful repurposed convent set in the King William District. Get down on half-priced appetizers, two bucks off drafts and four dollar wells and wine. Enjoy a reverse happy hour from 10 to midnight with half-priced pizzas. Come back Sunday for a splendid brunch.
Lüke San Antonio River Walk is the sister restaurant to the wonderful John Besh New Orleans hot spot. The draw to the San Antonio location is to be seen, enjoy 50 cent oysters (a buck if the are grilled), and $2 Pearl and Lonestar brews. Happy Hour is from 3 to 6pm (8pm on Tuesday). Stick around for dinner and get down on one of our favorite seafood towers.