Happy Hour Scene

Galleria Happy Hour Ideas for the Fatigued Shopper

Originally published in January, we're bringing this post back from the vault with some updates, because, you know, everyone can use a good happy hour when they're tired from shopping.

We've all been there. We've shopped for hours on end, until we're dry and parched, our feet can barely move and we're desperately in need of revival. We get in the car to drive home, and get stuck in the middle of rush hour, a sea of cars sitting between relaxation. As we're sitting there, listening to the radio, in a car that's moving more slowly than the person walking the street, we have an epiphany: "This is the perfect time for a happy hour." We know just the place.

Etoile. Sunday-Friday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Stop by Etoile for a taste of beverage manager Kimberly Paul's newly introduced "Green Hour," so named because many of the drinks feature absinthe. The social hour features four absinthe cocktails and six drinks made with pastis ($7 to $8), red or white wines by the glass for $6, and a stellar bar menu. Indulge in a killer French-style steak frites for $19, and nibble on other specials ranging from $6 to $10, including an excellent brie tartin or basque crabcake lollipop ($6), a house-ground burger or merguez sausage sandwich ($7), and sauteed shrimp ($10).

Kona Grill. 4 to 7 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m. Located inside the Galleria itself, Kona Grill offers an abundance of drinks and happy hour appetizers at half off. The choices are rather heavy on the carb side, but the margaritas and mojitos make up for it. Prices range from $3.50 to $6.

Caracol. 3 to 7 p.m. daily. Chef Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught's brand-new restaurant in the BBVA Compass building on Post Oak is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Galleria proper. Valet or validated parking is available, and happy hour offers specialty appetizers, like the tostada de atun crudo, for $7. A margarita, mojito and sangria are on offer for $6, and all gulf oysters on the half shell are half off (daily 3 to 7 p.m., and Saturdays before 5 p.m.). While you're there, go for the gold and get a half dozen of their delicious ostiones asados (wood-grilled gulf oysters with chipotle butter), regularly priced at $14 for a half dozen, they are just $7 during happy hour.

Osteria Mazzantini. 5 to 7 p.m. daily. Chef John Sheely's new hotspot, also in the BBVA Compass building, offers a rotating 5-5-5 (five for five dollars starting at 5 p.m.) menu that changes often. Get a glass of wine or a $5 cocktail, and order something like their garlic rapini, goat cheese, and calabrese chili pizza, or saffron risotto fritters to nibble on as you let the stresses of the day melt away.

Truluck's. 4 to 6:30 p.m. daily. Offered in their lounge only, all of the specialty drinks and most of the bar menu is discounted 50 percent off during half price cocktail hour. Get everything from jumbo lump crab cake to their mini bacon cheeseburgers or baja ceviche for half off, every day. Their mojitos and lychee martini are excellent bets for approximately $6.

RDG. 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Get well drinks for $6, mixed or shaken for $8, and bar bites for $3 to $6. Best bets include their creamy crab tartlette, ceviche, and steak tartare maki.

Kiran's. 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Located in between Highland Village and the Galleria, Kiran's is the perfect pit stop if you find yourself on that strip of unmoving street called Westheimer. Bites are offered on the Veranda at a discount: $6 for items like the calamari fried with kingfisher, or lamb, chicken and veggie sliders. Stuffed naan breads are $4, red and white wines are $6 and select beers are $3.

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Mai Pham is a contributing freelance food writer and food critic for the Houston Press whose adventurous palate has taken her from Argentina to Thailand and everywhere in between -- Peru, Spain, Hong Kong and more -- in pursuit of the most memorable bite. Her work appears in numerous outlets at the local, state and national level, where she is also a luxury travel correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide.
Contact: Mai Pham