If there’s one thing Austin loves as much as Willie Nelson and Barton Springs, it’s a good happy hour deal. Many local bars and restaurants offer them, but these are the ones that look especially hard to pass up right now.
Elizabeth Street Cafe, 1501 S. First St.: The charming eatery that seamlessly blends French baked goods with savory Vietnamese bites now has a liquor license — and thus newly created cocktails, like the Hanoi Sidecar and French Quarter Old Fashioned, that similarly have French and Asian accents.
Happy hour is from 3 to 6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays with half-off appetizers and bahn mis and $2 off all new cocktails, punches, beers, sake and wine.
Vox Table, 1100 S. Lamar Blvd. Happy hour is a good time to explore some of the best cocktails in town, normally $12-$13 — these, both the classics and the original cocktails from beverage director Madelyn Kay, are $8 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Wines by the glass are also half-off. Select bites are $3-$8.
The Hightower, 1209 E. Seventh St. Go to happy hour every day from 5 to 7 p.m. at this east side restaurant. Deals at the Hightower include $6 cocktails, $5 glasses of wine and $4 beers. Select plates, like a beef tartare tostada and brussel sprouts with peanut butter, golden raisins, sambal and lemon, are also $6.
Mattie’s at Green Pastures, 811 W. Live Oak St. Does anything sound more heavenly than sitting on the lawn under the shade of the massive, majestic oak trees dotting the historic property? Probably not. Mattie’s Lawn Happy Hour features snacks, like $6 proscuitto tartine, and sips, like $6 Oak Garden Ginger Buck, all in that serene setting every Tuesday-Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m.
Salt Traders Coastal Cooking, 2850 N. Interstate Hwy. 35, Round Rock. Yes, Round Rock residents have happy hour deals to crave, too. The seafood restaurant from the Jack Allen’s Kitchen chef offers $1 off beers, cocktails and wines by the glass, as well as $5 off the “beginnings” section of the menu (which includes the sinful, wonderful chowda fries) from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays.
Josephine House, 1601 Waterston Ave. It’s hard to beat the happy hour deal at Elizabeth Street Cafe’s sister eatery, housed in a neat Clarksville cottage — half-off all food, $2 off cocktails from 3 to 5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.
Fresa’s, 915 N. Lamar Blvd. and 1703 S. First St.: The casual Mexican restaurant recently introduced Happy Hour Para Todos at both locations, offering $2 off aguas frescas, beer and wine, margaritas and all botanas (snacks). The botanas menu includes chicken flautas, jalapeño poppers and three types of guacamole.
Salty Sow, 1917 Manor Rd. Drinks at the pork-loving restaurant aren’t all that pricey to begin with, but these get knocked down to $5 during daily 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. happy hour (or $4 for draft beer). Tacos and shared snacks (like oh-so-good truffled deviled eggs and chicken liver mousse) are also on the $5 happy hour menu.
Licha’s Cantina, 1306 E. Sixth St. The East Austin cantina in an old bungalow is another place with $5 happy hour, with drinks like the house margarita and paloma and snacks such as quesadillas that you can make a meal out of if you wanted.
District Kitchen + Cocktails, 5900 W. Slaughter Ln. If you live in South Austin, this seasonally focused dining spot will become your new happy hour headquarters. Just stop by 3:30 to 7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays or 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturdays for $5-$6 cocktails and bites like tomato naan and shishito peppers.
24 Diner, 600 N. Lamar Blvd.: You might be able to visit this 24-hour diner just about anytime you want, but the $5 happy hour makes the strong argument to go during 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. every weekday. That’s when you can order comfort-food classics, like adult milkshakes and a chicken-and-waffle slider, for $5. The normally $8 classic cocktails are also at that price during happy hour.
Photo by Ashlyn Allison. Freedmen's offers $5 barbecue sandwiches and $2 draft Lone Star beer during late-night happy hour.
Freedmen’s, 2402 San Gabriel St. The campus-area barbecue joint not only has happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays but also reverse happy hour from 10 p.m. to midnight Thursdays-Saturdays. During a late-night feast, you can enjoy $2 Lone Star drafts and Pabst tallboys, $2 off glasses of wine and $5 barbecue sammies.
Uchiko, 4200 N. Lamar Blvd. A full-fledged meal at Uchiko and its sibling restaurant farther down Lamar, Uchi, promises that you’ll be happily full and your wallet will be darn-near empty. For a smaller commitment, try the daily Sake Social from 5 to 6:30 p.m. with $3 sake and lower-priced sushi rolls.
Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches, 3220 Manor Rd. The newly open bakery and beer garden in East Austin offers a no-corkage happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. That might not seem like much, but consider that if you buy an already cheap can of beer from the extensive collection of singles and don’t have the $2 fee, you’re spending only a couple of bucks for something tasty.
Odd Duck, 1201 S. Lamar Blvd. One of the restaurants from one of Austin’s top chefs, Bryce Gilmore, has an early happy hour featuring half off bottles of wine and large-format beer, $3 select Hops & Grain and Live Oak beers and $6 draft cocktails (currently, a watermelon fresca). The happy hour runs from 2:30 to 6:30 Sundays-Thursdays; from 5-6:30 p.m., Odd Duck offers half-price on select food items.
Grizzelda’s, 105 Tillery St. The striking upscale Mexican eatery from the Jacoby’s crew gives us plenty of time for happy hour — 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and all-day Sundays — with appetizers, tacos and cocktails like the Mezcal Mule all discounted.