There’s something about a chain restaurant that makes sense for happy hour. Maybe that cheerful chain nestled into a strip mall isn’t your first choice for dinner, but when the late afternoon sun is still lingering overhead and you’re searching for a place to enjoy a cheap margarita with the folks from accounting, a chain restaurant does quite nicely. After all, chains serve a variety of beverages to suit a wide range of tastes and generally offer snacks everyone can agree upon.
The Italian chain’s first happy hour goes from 4 to 7 p.m. and is followed by a late-night happy hour from 9 to 11 p.m. They’ve got $3 beer and wine along with $5 cocktails, but they’ve also got something the others don’t: pizza. While they’re ideally made for sharing, any pizza is a personal pizza if you eat it by yourself.
Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., P.F. Chang’s serves up $3.25 dim sum and $3 sake and beer. Wine will only set you back $5 and cocktails are only $6. The only drawback is that 3 p.m. is a little early for an after-work get-together.
TGI Fridays has happy hour all day in the bar area, complete with $4 Long Island iced teas and $6 cosmos. But they also have specials every day. Stop in on Wednesdays for $3 martinis and half-price appetizers, or Tuesdays with Jack for $5 Jack Daniels drinks.
Flemings Prime is usually a special occasion spot, but every day from 5 to 7 p.m., you can get two for $6 IPAs and $6 cocktails. Plus snacks like Fleming’s Prime Burger and pan-seared pork belly are only $6 as well.
If Mexican food is your style, Chevy’s offers $4 margaritas Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. They also offer discounts on beer and well drinks and a few $5 appetizers. Sounds like a perfect after-work plan.
Participating Ruby Tuesdays feature not one, but two happy hours. The first is from 4 to 6 p.m., and the second is from 9 p.m. to closing time. It features a dollar off beer and $5 premium cocktails and select $5 appetizers, so you can grab dinner and a drink for just $10.
From 2 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, you can get $3 Jack Daniels and Absolut mixed drinks and $3 beers. They’ve also got a second happy hour from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. While the snacks are more typical bar fare, mini corn dogs or chips and salsa, they’ll only set you back another $3.
Longhorn is brand new to the happy hour game, but they certainly know what they’re doing. Weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m., they offer $3 beer, $4 wine, and $5 primetime cocktails, which include martinis with blue-cheese-stuffed olives and mojitos. While other places have a bar snack menu that seems like an afterthought, Longhorn serves foods that serve as full meals, like $5 burgers and shrimp tacos.
Houlihan’s has the happiest happy hours around. First off, there are two of them. The first, from 3 to 7 p.m. is one of the longest on this list even without the addition of the second from 9 p.m. to closing time. Then on Sunday, happy hour is all day. You’ll also get a pretty big bang for your buck, since select appetizers are just $3.95 and drinks start at $3.
Ruth’s Chris is a pretty pricey steakhouse, which makes its $8 happy hour even more of a steal. Monday through Friday, choose from cocktails like pomegranate martinis and Ruth’s Manhattan along with a selection of beer and wine, then fill up on crab BLTs and spicy lobster, which are also $8 each.