It's Five O'clock Somewhere

We scout out happy hour in Houston.

Three ladies sat at a corner of the bar at Sawyer Park, a staple on the Washington Avenue scene since the place opened. The women, all recent college graduates — two from Texas A&M University, the other from Texas Christian University — drank liquor mixed with soda.

Sawyer Park never has trouble packing in people looking to down a high volume of booze after the sunsets, but during the early hours, it's a different story.

Besides the three ladies, there were maybe a dozen other people in the sprawling bar. But, unlike the late-night crowd, these women would avoid paying full price for drinks for another couple hours, because, as all the large signs hanging in the bar proclaim, happy hour runs until 9 p.m.

La Carafe in downtown pulls in the regulars for its happy hour.
La Carafe in downtown pulls in the regulars for its happy hour.
Happy hour is casually upscale at Hearsay Gastro Lounge.
Happy hour is casually upscale at Hearsay Gastro Lounge.
The Mezzanine Lounge gets packed for poker tournaments, and happy hour runs seven days a week.
The Mezzanine Lounge gets packed for poker tournaments, and happy hour runs seven days a week.
Disregard the strip center location, because happy hour at Guava Lamp is almost dangerously cheap.
Disregard the strip center location, because happy hour at Guava Lamp is almost dangerously cheap.
The people-watching is as good as the specials during happy hour at benjy's on Washington Avenue.
The people-watching is as good as the specials during happy hour at benjy's on Washington Avenue.
The Continental Club on Main Street offers a liquid happy hour, as well as an aural one.
The Continental Club on Main Street offers a liquid happy hour, as well as an aural one.
The atmosphere is a big draw on the upstairs patio at Cafe Adobe. Margaritas for $3 help, too.
The atmosphere is a big draw on the upstairs patio at Cafe Adobe. Margaritas for $3 help, too.
With Japanese beer and sushi this cheap, happy hour at Oishii stays packed.
With Japanese beer and sushi this cheap, happy hour at Oishii stays packed.

Sarah Durkee, one of the Aggie grads, said she goes out two or three nights during the workweek. She used to be a regular at the Flying Saucer when she worked downtown.

"We could just walk over right after work for a few drinks," Durkee said. "I liked it because there were always a lot of other young professionals there."

Since moving to a job outside the Loop, however, finding a regular spot for after-work drinks has been tough. Her friend Claire Reichert has the same problem.

"I never came to this bar before," Reichert said, swirling her vodka drink with her straw. "But I just go by hearsay, and people I know like to come here."

And a lot of people in Houston are up against the same issue. With so many options to choose from, finding a bar or restaurant with the perfect mix of price, crowd and location can be a daunting task.

As the summer approaches and the bar season heats up, the Houston Press presents its list of recommended happy hours. This isn't all of them — we'll leave that to our Happy Hour App program (see "We're So App-App-Appy") and our Happy Hour listings page — but these happy hours are the ones that will be listed on our Web site and updated as needed.

From upscale bars to dives, and gay bars to the pick-up scene, we've grouped the places in categories to help you find exactly what you're looking for. Hopefully, when you're looking to grab a few drinks in these best hours, you'll never be in the dark again.

As Durkee simply put it, "Happy hour is important."
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DOWNTOWN BARS
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Flying Saucer

705 Main

713-228-9472

www.beerknurd.com

If you're looking for the prototypical "Me and a few white-collar office workers just got off and we're heading out to throw a few back" happy hour scene, you can do no better than the Flying Saucer. Perhaps that has something to do with its selection of beers (more than 280 types) being able to outnumber the bar's occupancy (250)? Specials aren't relegated to happy hour either. On Mondays you can get a pint of brew for $3.

Happy hours: Tuesday through Thursday 4-7 p.m.; Friday 4-8 p.m.
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Hearsay Gastro Lounge

218 Travis

713-225-8079

www.hearsayhouston.com

Despite the unattactiveness of the word "gastro," the casually upscale Hearsay Gastro Lounge is one of the nicest places you'll enjoy a beverage in town. And whether you're looking to get $3 margaritas (Mondays), $6 wines (Wednesdays), $6 wells (Thursdays), or to just cheapskate it with free drinks (Thursdays alcohol reps come in and offer freebies), it has got you covered. Free hummus is available daily as well.

Happy hours: Monday through Thursday 4-7 p.m.
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La Carafe

813 Congress

713-229-9399

www.owlnet.rice.edu/~hans320/projects/

lacarafe

Every single day of the year for the past (seemingly) 900 years, La Carafe has offered up its happy hour specials to about as diverse a group of people as you're going to find in any one place. And considering that La Carafe is already known for offering fairly cheap drinks (glasses of wine run mostly $3-$4) despite the time of day, it's completely okay for it to have an established "All drinks are 50 cents cheaper during happy hour, and that's that" rule. Stop in Thursdays for the wine-tasting segment of its happy hour.

Happy hours: Seven days a week 4-7 p.m.
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Lucky's Pub

801 St. Emanuel St.

713-522-2010

www.luckyspub.com

For those looking to do the downtown happy hour thing without actually being in the thick of the madness, the expansive Lucky's Pub is likely the way to go: Expect a mix of 25- to 45-year-old professionals who have wandered over from across Highway 59 (or underneath, rather). At $2 a pop for domestic drafts, it's not hard to figure out why people are there. Pop in on Wednesday for game nights so you can get pwned by some Xbox or Nintendo Wii weirdos.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 4-7 p.m.
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CHAIN RESTAURANTS
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Sherlock's Baker St. Pub

1952 W. Gray

713-521-1881

www.sherlockspubco.com

Sherlock's in River Oaks has developed the right combination for making it a solid chain establishment. It's always crowded, the drinks are ridiculously cheap and the bar is built around happy hour. Beers, cocktails and wines are $1.75, and premium liquor drinks are $3. During happy hour on Friday, just about every drink is 99 cents.

Happy hours: Monday through Saturday from opening to 9 p.m.; all day on Sunday.
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Berryhill Baja Grill

2639 Revere St.

713-526-8080

www.berryhillbajagrill.com

Six years ago, this place was a tiny spot offering some of the best tamales in town. Then they built a patio, making it possible to stop by after work with a big group and have plenty of space. During happy hour, margaritas are $4.95, domestic beers are $2.50 and imports are $3.75. Berryhill doesn't have the best prices in town, but the atmosphere here is great and Berryhill continues to serve as an anti-chain chain.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 4-7 p.m.
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Lupe Tortilla

2414 Southwest Fwy.

713-522-4420

www.lupetortilla.com

There are enough margarita machines at Lupe Tortilla to make it look like one of those New Orleans pizza and daiquiri joints. Even when you're inside the bar here, there's an open-air feel that's great when the weather is nice. Or, with $1.50 drafts and $3 frozen margaritas, when the weather is bad, too. Don't let the location fool you; Lupe Tortilla is worth the trip.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 3:30-6:30 p.m.
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Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

2410 Richmond

713-527-9137

www.pappadeaux.com

The Pappas Empire has created a nice spot near Richmond and Kirby. The fountains and foliage make the patio feel secluded enough to enjoy cheap drinks and food and be far removed from the cars zipping by outside. And the bar inside the restaurant is big enough to make you feel removed from what might be a group of stuffy diners just a few feet away. Appetizers during happy hour start at $1.95, beers are $3 and margaritas are $4.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 3-6:30 p.m.
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SPORTS BARS
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Sawyer Park

2412 Washington

713-863-9350

www.sawyerparkhouston.com

Asking for an upscale sports bar seems akin to asking for a ritzy Ford F-150 or a swanky Texas A&M baseball cap, but that's what Sawyer Park provides. More than that, though, it offers up a quality happy hour, with its already semi-­amicably priced drinks available for $1 cheaper. Each night is also highlighted by a different post-happy hour surprise, be it Gong Karaoke! on Mondays, Bada Bingo! on Tuesdays or St. Arnold's Beer Night on Wednesdays.

Happy hours: Monday through ­Thursday 4-9 p.m.; Friday 4 p.m.-2 a.m.
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The Wet Spot

160 W. Gray

713-523-7768

If you walk into a place called "The Wet Spot," you've either entered a business that will almost certainly have pornography for sale, or you've walked into a sports bar with a casual, congenial, almost dive-bar atmosphere. This one is the latter. And with its $6 pitchers and $2 pints (along with $1 tacos on Mondays and 35 cent wings on Wednesdays), you'll be glad that it worked out that way. Unless you're a sex addict. Then you'd be pissed. Tiger Woods would hate this place.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 3-7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
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Ernie's on Banks

1010 Banks St.

713-526-4566

www.erniesonbanks.com

Watching sports and drinking beer go together like, umm, watching sports and drinking beer. And though Ernie's doesn't offer the newest, nicest televisions or the biggest selection of drinks, what it does offer is a seamless mesh of a warm neighborhood bar (downstairs) with a non-corporatized sports bar (upstairs). Add to that its $3 domestics and $2.75 domestic drafts, and you've got yourself a can't-fail happy hour.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 4-8 p.m.
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Mezzanine Lounge

2200 Southwest Fwy.

713-528-6399

www.mezzaninelounge.com

Though this sports bar that doesn't sound like a sports bar offers happy hour all throughout the week, the best days to come are going to be either Tuesdays ($3 U-Call-Its, with its acclaimed Trivia Night following shortly after) or Thursdays ($3.50 Jaeger as well as some Italian liqueur called Tuaca that you should try at least once). Expect a fair assembling of folks from the area, with a few outside-the-Loop-ers ambling in.

Happy hours: Seven days a week 4-8 p.m.
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GAY BARS
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George

617 Fairview

713-528-8102

www.georgescountrysportsbar.com

"Your Country Sports Bar" will make you want to dip into your cliché arsenal and pull out that standard descriptor of all things non-douchey: "laid-back." Though situated on Fairview in the heart of the gayborhood, George lacks the pomp of Pacific Street places like South Beach. It's not exactly a sports bar and the jukebox isn't always playing country, but the staff and patrons are affable, and that's what really counts when you're looking to unwind after work without worrying about attitude.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 3-9 p.m.
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Guava Lamp

570 Waugh Dr.

713-524-3359

www.guavalamphouston.com

Strip center location be damned, Guava Lamp video bar is stylish and, during happy hour, almost dangerously cheap. You can try a Tanqueray or Finlandia martini for $4 while you make conversation, or take in the music videos and movie clips playing on one of the bar's many TVs. Those martinis and $2.75 well drinks make the occasional Blue October video much easier to stomach.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 4-8 p.m.
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The Usual

5519 Allen St.

281-501-1478

www.theusualpub.com

When you hear that whistle blowin', no need to hang your head and cry, just plug your ears for a second before getting back to drinking on the cheap. The Usual, a neighborhood newcomer next to the railroad track that runs parallel to Washington Avenue, is not a gay bar per se, and it's certainly not a sleazy pick-up spot. It is a welcoming sort of establishment, though, and a good portion of the clientele is comprised of women who prefer the company of other women. The beer-garden tables out front are a great place to drink discounted beer and well drinks during happy hour.

Happy hours: Monday 6-10 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday 4-10 p.m.
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Tony's Corner Pocket

817 W. Dallas

713-571-7870

www.tonyscornerpocketbar.com

Tony's is right on the outskirts of downtown, so you get all the energy (and the view, sort of) without the parking hassle. The four-sided bar in the center of the room turns out drinks while the sharks man the pool table and folks chat and smoke outside. Tony's features several daily specials such as dollar-vodka Tuesdays, and the weekends bring amateur male strippers.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 7-8 p.m.
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UPSCALE BARS
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Ei8ht

5102 Washington

713-880-3500

www.ei8hthouston.com

Ei8ht has managed not only to stay open on Washington Avenue as club after club has popped up and attempted to siphon away its customers, but to stay relevant as well. And that, in part, is due to the strong happy hour crowd (business professional, mostly 30-year-olds) it's cultivated. $2 Miller Lites, $3 Dos Equis drafts, $4 margaritas, $5 specialty cocktails and half-off paninis foster a lot of loyalty, it appears.

Happy hours: Wednesday 4 p.m.-midnight; Thursday and Friday 4-8 p.m.
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Reef's 3rd Bar

2600 Travis

713-526-8282

www.reefhouston.com

Reef's 3rd Bar is a cocktail bar attached to — surprise! — Reef restaurant, which is one explanation as to why its happy hour includes $1 shrimp shooters and $1 sliders (the other being that they're delicious). The dimly lit, intimate space is a nice contrast to the expanse of the restaurant, though both tend to attract the same type of crowd, namely middle-aged white folks in business-casual attire.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 4-7 p.m.
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Manor on Washington

4819 Washington

713-426-0123

www.manoronwashington.com

Happy hours inside of swanky, swanky lounges tend to be less about getting a good deal on drinks and more about being seen ( or "being scene," if you're one of those people who like to turn nouns into verbs), but Manor manages to offer a combination of both where one component doesn't subtract from the other. Occupancy can range from a quaint 50 people up to a mob of 200. Take $1 off all regular drink prices.

Happy hours: Tuesday through Saturday 4-7 p.m.
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Kona Grill

5061 Westheimer

713-877-9191

www.konagrill.com

Tucked into a quaint shopping center (the Galleria or something like that), Kona is another place that offers up a nice mix of happy hour-sters. And keeping in line with its diverse collection of customers is its diverse selection of drinks. They offer up everything from Sake Bombers ($7.50) to margaritas ($4.50 for men, $3.50 for women) to drafts (as low as $3). Expect it to be a very laid-back environment in the summer, as it's been that way in the past.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 3-7 p.m.
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DIVE BARS
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PJ's

614 W. Gray

713-520-1748

www.pjssportsbar.com

Maybe PJ's feels homey because it's located in an old house. Or maybe it's because it's the kind of place where the regulars not only all know each other but know each other's dogs as well. (Strangers are still welcome, of course.) This sports dive features only a couple of TVs, so if you really need to watch the Astros lose on a 90-inch space-age mega-screen, you're better off at Buffalo Wild Wings. And speaking of the Astros, happy hour goes right up to the time most night games start, which will help you get adequately prepared to witness the carnage. Steak night on Thursdays is solid, as is the rowdy Friday night karaoke upstairs.

Happy hours: Seven days a week 3-7 p.m.
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Marquis II

2631 Bissonnet

713-522-2090

Marquis II is not somewhere you go to sip post-work drinks on a breezy patio. There's no patio here. Hell, there are no windows at this former strip club. It's dirty — not county jail dirty, but we wouldn't recommend eating off the floor — and the smoke can get thick. (There's no indoor smoking ban in West U.) But if come quitting time all you want is a cigarette and stiff drink in a cave of a dive bar, Marquis II is perfect. Earlier in the day, you'll be imbibing with older regulars; the crowd gets younger as the night progresses.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 2-9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 5-9 p.m.
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Cozy Corner

11530 Burdine St.

713-723-4048

Yes, there's a good watering hole in Westbury. For at least a couple decades, Cozy Corner has held things down in an area of town you probably don't associate with bar life. The place is small, there's shuffleboard and a real jukebox, and it's located in a residential area — as you might expect, the vibe is neighborly. (Actually, it feels weird to even associate the word vibe with a place this unassuming.) It's gay-friendly, too, which is important for a part of town that's come to be known as "Little Montrose." Prices are always cheap, but they hit new lows during the two daily happy hours.

Happy hours: Seven days a week 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-8 p.m.
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FOOD DEALS
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t'afia

3701 Travis

713-524-6922

www.tafia.com

Sure, plenty of places around town offer bar food with your happy hour cocktails. But do those places make the food with fresh, local, organic ingredients? And do those places give it to you free with the purchase of a glass of wine or handcrafted cocktail? t'afia does. Monica Pope's lounge menu makes this Midtown restaurant the place to be on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, when dishes like mini bison burgers, sushi-grade sashimi, chickpea fries and pimiento macaroni and cheese are offered. Wash them down with a glass of the housemade ratafia, featuring Texas wine and vodka mixed together with seasonal produce.

Happy hours: Tuesday through Thursday 4-9 p.m.
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Kubo's

2414 University Blvd., suite 200

713-528-7878

www.kubos-sushi.com

Perch at Kubo's friendly bar or grab a booth near the window, overlooking the hustle and bustle of Rice Village below, and enjoy one of the best kinds of happy hour food specials: the kind that won't leave you too full for dinner. The frozen Sakerita is a nice complement to the bite-sized yet fiery wasabi shumai that are just begging to be popped into your mouth two at a time. If sushi is more your route, Kubo's offers an assortment of its most popular rolls at rock-bottom prices, with none more than $5.50. Wash them down with an ice-cold Asahi and you're ready to tackle the night ahead.

Happy hours: Seven days a week 4-7 p.m.
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benjy's

5922 Washington

713-868-1131

www.benjys.com

Beat the traffic and the crowds to Washington Avenue by relaxing at the new Benjy's and enjoying the happy hour deals. Every single appetizer on the large lounge menu is only $5, but the warm pistachio-crusted goat cheese cakes, the pan-seared pork dumplings and the mushroom pizza with fontina and truffle oil are favorites. And as with most Washington joints, the people-watching at this hip, ultramodern outpost (the original benjy's is still going strong in the Village) can't be beat, so get all dressed up — you now have somewhere to go.

Happy hours: Seven days a week 4-7 p.m.
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PICK-UP SCENE
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Shot Bar

2315 Bagby

713-526-3000

www.shotbarhouston.com

The Shot Bar in Midtown features one of the wackiest happy hours in town, but it seems to be geared to one thing: helping people get drunk enough to hook up. For 15 minutes each night, Kamikaze shots are $1. During the late hours, the bar always seems to be packed with young men and women, along with plenty of sexual energy. So spot that special someone, and when happy hour hits, bring them a tray of Kamikazes.

Happy hours: Thursday through Saturday 10:45-11 p.m.
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Pub Fiction

2303 Smith

713-400-8400

www.pubfiction.com

There are some people who probably do their best to steer clear of Pub Fiction. They just can't handle Affliction. But this is happy hour, and Pub Fiction has one of the best happy hours in Midtown. You can get a pitcher of beer for $6, domestic pints are $2 and imports are $1 more. Vodka drinks and martinis are $4. And Pub Fiction never disappoints: By the end of happy hour, there's always someone to pick up.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 4-8 p.m.
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Pearl Bar

4216 Washington

713-868-5337

www.thepearlbarhouston.com

During happy hour at Pearl Bar, the scene is removed from what comes to mind when you think of Washington Avenue, or even Pearl Bar. The place is huge, with a great patio out back, and stays fairly empty during the early hours. So you can shoot pool or play shuffleboard or just drink a few beers in peace until the crowd rolls in. And on Washington, there's always action to be found. The featured drinks during happy hour change each day.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 4-8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 2-8 p.m.
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Ginger Man

5607 Morningside Dr.

713-526-2770

www.gingermanpub.com

Disregard the fact that the bathrooms at Ginger Man make you feel like you're living in a submarine, because you don't come here for the bathrooms. Happy hour attracts a wide variety of people, so there should be someone for everyone. There are the men still dressed in slacks and ties, hippie college students or the guy who looks like he's homeless but owns a $1 million home a couple blocks away. And there's always the crowd coming in from Little Woodrow's next door.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 4-7 p.m.
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CHEAPEST BARS
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5555 Morningside Dr.

713-522-2603

www.brianoneills.com

It may not be off any main drags, but the happy hour at Brian O'Neill's is worth making the quick detour into Rice Village. Surrounded by a slew of other, more gimmicky bars, O'Neill's had to lay down the gauntlet. These guys basically throw the sauce at you seven days a week during their happy hours. $2 glasses of house wines, $1.75 wells, plus $6 pitchers of domestic beers. It's a miracle that people don't get mail at Brian O'Neill's.

Happy hours: Tuesday through Saturday 3-9 p.m.; all day on Sunday and Monday.
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Alice's Tall Texan

4904 N. Main

713-862-0141

If Lone Star served out of huge goblets topping out at $1.50 isn't your scene, then leave the state immediately. We don't need you here, and don't let Beaumont or Dallas hit you in the ass on the way out. Tall Texan doesn't have to bombard you with glitz to get you to come out. Just north of downtown off North Main is everyone's little slice of heaven. Tall Texan is actually this cheap all the time, and doesn't need a set number of hours a night to reel you in. You could forgo the goblet and get a bottle for $1.75, but to each his own.

Happy hours: All day, seven days a week.
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Christian's Tailgate

7340 Washington

713-864-9744

www.christianstailgate.com

This is the older, more subdued sibling of the Midtown sports bar. It's on Washington but not that part of Washington, to be clear. On Tuesday nights, the place gets packed for its storied cheeseburgers and cheap-ass beer, which means something on the order of $1 pints of domestics. So you can get loaded on beef, fried onion rings, and beer, on what is arguably the most boring and sad night of the week. Sold!

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 2-7 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
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WINE BARS
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Vintropolis

10001 Westheimer

713-532-9463

www.vintropolisbar.com

Just on the inner lip of the Beltway at Westheimer, this Westchase wine bar is perfect for relaxing after work or meeting friends on a leisurely weekend evening. In addition to selling wine (and wine lockers, for the truly ambitious), Vintropolis also has a vast selection of import beers and microbrews as well as an excellent assortment of cigars. But lest you think this place caters to the snooty type, check out the darts and shuffleboard tables. If you're hungry, take advantage of the great neighboring restaurants in the Carillon Center, who all deliver to Vintropolis free of charge.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 3-7 p.m.
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Absolve Wine Lounge

920 Studemont St.

281-501-1788

www.absolvewinelounge.com

Absolve Wine Lounge is one of the newer wine bars in town — just four months old — but with a happy hour like this, it shouldn't go anywhere for a long time. The bartenders strive to make this place "a neighborhood bar," and judging by the number of regulars that show up here, it appears they've pulled it off. Don't be fooled by the retail strip location; Absolve is worth the trip. Happy hour features select wines for $7 a glass and cheaper, along with $2 beers and $4 sangria. Food plates go for about $3.

Happy hours: Seven days a week 4-7 p.m.; all day Wednesday.
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Max's Wine Dive

4720 Washington

713-880-8737

www.maxswinedive.com

Max's takes pride in joining wine with gussied-up versions of home-style comfort food. The restaurant is known for dishes like fried chicken (with jalapeño and buttermilk marinade) and an egg sandwich (with truffle oil and sea salt). These are great choices to pair with the happy hour drink specials — $5 wine and $2 Lone Star (nice touch). Or try the happy hour food menu, which features several selections under $10, including pulled pork sliders and turkey bites.

Happy hours: Monday through Thursday 4-7 p.m.; Friday 1-7 p.m.
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LIVE MUSIC
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Continental Club

3700 Main

713-529-9666

www.continentalclub.com

The Continental Club on Main Street offers not only a liquid happy hour, but also an aural one. Each night the roots and boots club serves up live music ranging from rockabilly, tango piano, shit-kicking Americana and roof-raising tribute acts. Mondays are held down by Glover Gill, while Tuesdays are reserved for the Umbrella Man, one of Houston's unsung roots-rock gems. On Thursday nights, Beetle has the crowd squealing with a nearly three-hour set of spot-on Beatles covers.

Happy hours: Thursday and Friday 6-9 p.m.
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Dan Electro's Guitar Bar

1031 E. 24th St.

713-862-8707

www.danelectrosguitarbar.com

Out in the Heights, blues jams and searing licks rule the roost at Dan Electro's Guitar Bar. Named after the legendary line of guitars and amps, Dan's is most famous for its tucked-away ambience and Thursday night blues jam, which attracts folks from all corners of the Houston map.

Happy hours: Thursday 7-9 p.m.; Friday 6:30-8:30 p.m.
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Last Concert Cafe

1403 Nance St.

713-226-8563

www.lastconcert.com

Last Concert Cafe is one of the city's last bastions of roots and jam rock, and since 1949 it has been serving some of the best Mexican food in town as well. Each night of the week, just yards from I-10, you will find someone out on the back patio strumming a guitar or holding court on the venue's large backyard stage. During happy hour, you can snag $2.50 margaritas and $2 Shiner Bocks. Lately Wednesday nights have been graced by local singer-songwriter Clory Martin, who is a frequent collaborator with Runaway Sun's Andrew Karnavas.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 3-6 p.m.
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Rebels Honky Tonk

5002 Washington

713-862-7172

www.rebelshonkytonk.com

The music here isn't of the live variety, but the people-watching more than makes up for it. The DJ spins all your favorite modern country tracks, and every now and then he sneaks in a Steve Earle cut to keep you on your toes. It's RodeoHouston all year round at Rebels Honky Tonk, where you can wear your best Tony Lamas and Rockies any night of the week without fear of looking utterly insane. Ladies Night on Wednesday is aided by specials like $2 you-call-its and domestic beers, which last all night, so you should have no excuse not to be chatty with that something-something in the corner.

Happy hours: Wednesday and Thursday 9 p.m-2 a.m.
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MARGARITAS
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Chuy's

2706 Westheimer

713-524-1700

www.chuys.com

Anyone who has tried to park at the Chuy's on Westheimer after work knows that the place is forever bumpin'. The crowds cram into the bar area to swill $3.50 margaritas and nosh on free nachos in Chuy's famous Austin-style atmosphere, packed with Elvis memorabilia. There's something downright addictive about the frozen margs at Chuy's, but if they aren't your thing, there are also $2.50 domestic beers and $6.50 Texas martinis made with tequila and jalapeño-stuffed olives. What's that? $6.50 isn't a good deal? Just try one, you'll see what we mean.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 4-7 p.m.
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Cafe Adobe

2111 Westheimer

713-528-1468

www.cafeadobe.com

There's a surefire cure for the blues, and that's a beautiful early evening with the crowds on the rooftop bar at Cafe Adobe. And while the atmosphere is the real draw, the deals are excellent. Margaritas are $3 during happy hour. On the rooftop bar from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Mondays though Fridays, the food deals kick in, with a damn cheap happy hour menu of quesadillas, nachos, guacamole and the like for around 40 percent off regular prices. If the party on the roof doesn't make your spirits soar, your reasonably priced meal (and buzz) might.

Happy hours: Seven days a week 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
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Yelapa Playa Mexicana

2303 Richmond

281-501-0391

www.yelapatime.com

If you want something other than standard Tex-Mex with your margaritas, look no further than the simultaneously laid-back and trendy Yelapa Playa Mexicana, which offers a bad-ass happy hour menu — in the bar only. Margaritas are stout and run $4 a pop, and there are other deals on tequila and Mexican beer. As for the happy hour food, it's high-class and reasonably priced — try the campechana, pastor-style pork belly tacos and smoked-beef-and-goat cheese chalupas. There's also a reverse happy hour (drinks only) from 9:30 p.m. to midnight.

Happy hours: Monday through Saturday noon-7 p.m.
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Cadillac Bar

1802 Shepherd

713-862-2020

www.cadillacbar.com

The Cadillac Bar's regulars flock here for the funky atmosphere and good-time vibe. They also flock here for the $3.50 margaritas, which are nice and limey and, frankly, might go down a little too easily. The deals don't end there, though. There's a great happy hour menu — the $2 section features taquitos, chicken quesadillas or chile con queso with chips. And if you aren't a disciple of the margarita, there's also $2 domestic beers, $2.75 imports, half-off wine, $4 martinis and $2 wells.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 2-7 p.m.
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HIPSTER BARS
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Poison Girl

1641 Westheimer

713-527-9929

It's always fun to watch drinkers from other parts of the city make their way into Poison Girl on Westheimer, making that slightly disapproving face when they realize they are on someone else's turf. There ain't no bottle service here, just a backyard and cheap drinks. Happy hours feature $2 wells and $2.50 drafts, but you will more than likely end up staying for a few more, seeing that the prices are pretty low even during regular hours.

Happy hours: Seven days a week 5-8 p.m.
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Big Star

1005 W. 19th St.

281-501-9560

www.bigstarbar.com

For most folks in the Loop, Big Star is somewhat of a destination bar. It's on the northwest side of the Heights away from the usual Washington and West­heimer drags, but that is its charm and is what keeps it so pristine. The closest bar is Cedar Creek around the block, and those folks rarely venture over. Once you start drinking at Big Star, you are pretty much locked in for the night.

Happy hours: Seven days a week 4-9 p.m.
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Catbirds

1336 Westheimer

713-523-8000

www.catbirds.com

Instead of having the same boring happy hour special every night, Catbirds mixes it up a little each HH with various deals and combos. On Mondays, $5 will get you a bottle of Lone Star and a shot of Jägermeister, which is always a perfect warm-up lap for your HH carousing. Sundays are a big day here, offering reasonably priced champagne and OJ to make your own mimosas and $2 domestic bottles until closing time. Catbirds is always stocked full of regulars, but rest assured the uninitiated will fit right in.

Happy hours: Seven days a week 3-8 p.m.
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Cecil's

600 W. Gray

713-527-9101

Cecil's on West Gray used to be the favorite haunt of influential comedian and Houston native Bill Hicks when he was scorching the Earth with his rants. On Monday nights, you can get more than enough liquid courage to fuel your own rants on their $1 Well & Lone­star Night, when the inside and outside of Cecil's is filled to the brim with thirsty Montrosians getting their cheap drink on. The pours are stiff here, even for the daily specials.

Happy hours: Seven days a week 4-8 p.m.
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SUSHI BARS
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Oishii

3764 Richmond

713-621-8628

www.oishiihouston.com

Oishii could serve frozen Gorton's fish sticks wrapped in nori and call it the best sushi in town, and we'd still keep our mouths shut. You know why? A happy hour featuring $1.25 domestics and $1.75 imported beers, with large hot sake for $3 and house wine for $4, that's why. The appetizers are $4 each (­really $2, since it's buy one, get one free), so even if the food's not always phenomenal, you can afford to experiment until you find a combination of dishes you like. That or drink $1.75 Kirin and eat mounds of onion rings and fried bananas. We won't judge you.

Happy hours: Monday through ­Friday 3-7 p.m.; Saturday 3-6 p.m.
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Kata Robata

3600 Kirby

713-526-8858

www.katarobata.com

If you've got nearly $100 to drop on some raw fish, try Chef Hori's impressive tasting-menu. If you want to see what Kata Robata is capable of without pawning anything, the happy hour menu features some outstanding rolls and appetizers for around $4 to $6, plus the usual discounted "martinis," beer and wine. Try the slightly spicy Rodeo roll or the delicately fried Phoenix roll. If you're not into sushi, there's lamb, mussels and $1 yakitori chicken available, and call drinks are only $5.

Happy hours: Monday through ­Saturday 4-7 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m.
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Soma

4820 Washington

713-861-2726

www.somasushi.com

There's no happy hour at Soma, but you can drop by between 4 and 7 p.m. or any time Sunday for the restaurant's cocktail hour menu. Trust us, though — with good drinks and some of the best sushi in town, Soma has earned the right to be a little pretentious. For proof, pair the outstanding Crazy Irishman roll (more than worth it at $7 bucks) with a $6 flavored "martini." If a cucumber-sake-tini is too frou-frou for you, imported beers are $3 and better liquors like Bombay Sapphire and Crown go for $6.

Happy hours: Monday through ­Saturday 4-7 p.m.; all day Sunday.
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Edomae

12225 Westheimer Rd.

281-558-5599

www.edomaesushi.com

An elegant dining room, nice prices and above-average fish — Edomae is your strongest bet for west-side happy hour sushi. You can put together a sweet spread with a number of individual piece options at $1.25 each, and the rolls and kitchen appetizers top out at $4.50. Imported beers, well drinks and house wine are only $3.

Happy hours: Monday through Friday 4-7 p.m.; Saturday 8 p.m.-close; all day Sunday.
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WE'RE SO APP-APP-APPY

The Houston Press partners with GoTime.com in the quest for cheap drinks

Technology has improved nearly every aspect of our lives and now at long last, it's been applied to mankind's greatest venture: the search for cheap drinks. Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC, the parent company of the Houston Press, and GoTime.com have partnered to bring you Happy Hours, the premier smart-phone application for finding drink specials wherever you are and whenever you're looking.

Your phone tells the app where you are, you specify any special happy hour needs you might have, and voilà, you've got a detailed list of every happy hour around, including what's on offer and when that happy hour ends. The list is sorted by distance from your current location, and you can turn your phone sideways for a Google map of the nearest picks. Can't decide which one to try? Give the phone a good shake and the app will randomly select a happy hour for you.

Almost 20,000 happy hours in more than 30 cities are covered. The data comes from GoTime's extensive database, business owners and users, creating the most comprehensive and up-to-date listings possible. It's like having a native guide to the best spots in town, wherever you go. And in the 14 cities with Village Voice Media alt-weeklies, it's not like having a native guide, it is having a native guide: Recommendations from our editorial staff, the people who live and breathe the city's nightlife, are integrated into the app.

Native apps are available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry users, but you can still get in on the fun even if you don't have a smart phone. Just point your phone's Web browser to m.gotime.com and you can get the same info (albeit minus the slick functionality offered by the apps). And no matter what platform you use, it's all free — so you can save your money for that last half-price mojito or two-for-one beer special of the night. Cory Casciato

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