Bang for Your Buck: The Best Happy Hours Nationwide Slideshow
It’s more of an early-bird special than a happy hour because it doesn’t involve drinks, but it’s worth including because the food is cheap, and you don’t need to be sitting at the bar to order it. The offer varies slightly according to location, but this menu from Famous Dave’s BBQ’s Little Rock, Ark., outpost should give you a pretty good idea of what’s available at your local branch. Just $5.99 will get you a baked potato stuffed with BBQ meat, and you can get salads, sandwiches with one side, and combo specials as well, all for between $6.50 and $8.50. The offer is available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
While just about every menu item at this high-roller’s steak house is rather pricey, if you sit at the bar during certain hours from Monday through Friday you can enjoy some top-quality offerings for just seven bucks. Items available include a burger, lobster roll, or sliced filet mignon sandwich with fries, seared ahi tuna, sliders, beef tenderloin skewers (left), or spicy fried lobster, and drinks include select wines and beers, Cosmos, Manhattans, margaritas, Moscow Mules, or pomegranate martinis.
Even this popular-if-pricey chain of hibachi restaurants has a happy hour. While it also varies according to location (call ahead to make sure one is offered at your local branch), in Florida it runs from Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the bar area, and offers half-off beer, sushi, and appetizers.
Morton’s is generally in the "expense account" breed of restaurants, but they have a little-known bar menu with items starting at just $6. Mini prime cheeseburgers, oysters, shrimp cocktail, filet mignon sandwiches, mini crabcake BLTs, and fresh-cut potato chips with blue cheese dressing are all included in the deal. While exact prices and times vary according to location, the location in Baltimore offers the specials from 5 pm. To 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Established in 1926, The Palm is certainly a "special occasion" steakhouse. Every day except for Saturday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., though, they offer a "Half Off Primetime" menu at participating locations. Beers, wines by the glass, and some premium spirits are all half-off during these hours, as well as "Prime Bites" including sliders (in burger, lobster roll, and barbecue chicken meatball varieties), crabcakes, fried shrimp, and lobster and bacon fondue. At the Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, New York (Tribeca), and Philadelphia locations, all Prime Bites are only $5.50.
This chain of steakhouses might be on the expensive end of things, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t offer a solid happy hour at the bar. Their "5 for $6 ‘Til 7" happy hour is nothing short of a steal, with five top-shelf cocktails, five wines by the glass, and five appetizers (including pan-crisped pork belly, sweet chile calamari, beef carpaccio, and barbecue shrimp) all available for just $6 until 7 p.m., seven nights a week. Some locations even offer two Blue Moon seasonals for just six bucks as well.
At most Red Lobster locations, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, select beers are $3, wines are $4, and appetizers are $5. Those appetizers include chile ginger shrimp (left), Southwest chicken pizza, Buffalo chicken bites, fried calamari, and shrimp tacos.
This classy chain of Chinese restaurants offers a true bargain of a happy hour. While prices and hours vary according to location, that info is available if you search for your local outpost online. At the location in White Plains, N.Y., for example, the deal runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Beer starts at just $2.75, wines cost $5, and cocktails $6, and a wide assortment of dim sum and "street fare" sells for as low as $3. The most expensive item, crispy Dynamite shrimp, costs just $7.
Most outposts of McCormick and Schmick’s, the chain best known for its steaks and seafood, offer one of the country’s best happy hour menus. At the location in New York City, for example, their happy hour runs from 3:30 p.m. all the way until 7 p.m., Monday to Friday at the bar area. Beer starts at $4 for domestic drafts, well drinks are also just $4, select wine and cocktails are $6, and flavored martinis are $7. And if that’s not enough to lure you through the door, check out the food menu: bruschetta, hummus, and fries are each just $2.95; a cheeseburger and fries is only $3.95; fried calamari, mussels, and spinach dip are $4.95; and fish tacos, peel-and-eat and firecracker shrimp, and wings are just $5.95. Now that’s a happy hour we can love.
Starting at 4 p.m. at all locations except for those in Manhattan and at airports, Ruby Tuesday offers $5 appetizers and, where permitted, $5 Absolut cocktails, seven nights a week. At the Paramus, N.J., location, for example, food and drink specials are available from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., with food items including crabcakes, wings, spinach and artichoke dip, and shrimp fondue available for five bucks.