McCormick & Schmick's

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The 15 Best Chain Restaurant Happy Hours

Editor
Who doesn’t love a good happy hour? And even at some pricey chains, the bargains are delicious

Ahh, happy hour. That brief, shining window, generally during weekday afternoons and early evenings, when bars roll back drink prices in an effort to lure in customers. But while bars are still great sources of happy hours, plenty of restaurants are offering them, too. And not just on drinks — they're knocking back prices on food as well. In fact, some of the country’s most popular chain restaurants offer little-known menus featuring incredibly inexpensive food and drink specials, usually available only at the bar. We’ve rounded up the top 15.

The 15 Best Chain Restaurant Happy Hours (Slideshow)

Happy hour itself is nothing new. Bars have been offering cheap snacks and discounted drinks to lure in patrons during quieter hours as far back as anyone can remember (or not remember, as the case may be). But chain restaurant happy hours are a slightly newer development, and one that a lot of folks still might not know about.

The main reason a lot of chains are offering these special deals is because overall business in the segment is down, and restaurants need to find more ways to fill the seats. According to USA Today, sales at fast-casual restaurants like Ruby Tuesday fell 5.6 percent in 2009, perhaps not coincidentally the year when many of these happy hours first appeared on menus. "This is what you have to do to get business," Malcolm Knapp, who tracks the industry, told the newspaper. "People don't have enough money to eat out."  

So exactly how good are these savings? While each state has its own happy hour laws (and some ban it outright), most chains have been able to find a way to work in a special deal, offering drinks and appetizers at the bar for less than $10. Not every single outpost of these restaurants offers these deals, so you’ll still want to call ahead to make sure that your favorite location is on board. But we have a good feeling that after reading through our list you’ll have found a place to visit the next time you get out of work early.

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