The Happiest Hours

We do the legwork to find you 30 of the most satisfying places to sip and snack.

1337 Grant (at Green), 398-1120,
5–7 p.m. daily
The tall, refreshing $5 mojito is of course the star of happy hour, but the lusty $1 guacamole-laced tacos in steak, pork, or chicken are mighty tasty as well. If you aren't in a mojito mood, there's Tecate for $2 and well drinks for $4. This venerable North Beach saloon is all weathered wood with splashes of colorful artwork, and live flamenco is performed on the tiny stage every Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m.

Hing Lung Restaurant
674 Broadway (at Stockton), 398-8838
3–6 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 4–6 p.m. Sat.–Sun.
Chinatown's premier jook house offers an amazing (and amazingly substantial) 56 dishes at only $3 apiece during its daily happy hour. In addition to the many varieties of rice porridge, there's shrimp dumpling soup, lemongrass beef, tripe with ginger, anchovy omelet, fried bitter melon, squid with spicy salt, pork belly with broccoli, fried pumpkin cake, and on and on. For an extra buck, you can get Hong Kong–style milk tea; papaya smoothies are $1.50, while low-priced bottled beers are also available. Don't forget the Chinese herb Jell-O ($2.50) for dessert.

2909 Webster (at Filbert), 346-3431,
5:30–7 p.m. daily
Umami's cool retro brick-backed laminated-burl bar is one of Cow Hollow's comfier sipping venues, and at "Sumo Hour," the mood is fun and festive. Nibble on edamame hummus ($4); chicken-shiitake potstickers ($5); corn, scallion, and asparagus tempura ($6); Wagyu sliders with shallot aioli ($8); or nine varieties of sushi rolls, including salmon skin, spicy scallop, and tempura shrimp. In addition, all wine bottles ($32 to $225) are half off at happy hour, so you can enjoy that Krug Grand Cuvée for a mere $112.50. There's a nice (nondiscounted) beer, sake, and cocktail selection too.

1121 Polk (at Post), 567-1918,
4–6 p.m. daily
The great thing about Blur's two-for-one happy hour deal is that it's two of anything for the price of one, not just cheap-ass well drinks or watery drafts. That means double your Hennessys, Veuve Clicquots, and Johnnie Walker Greens at half the price (not to mention those $3 beers and cocktails). This hip little red-plush saloon also offers discount pizzas and chicken wings to accompany your two-fer tippling.

2162 Larkin (at Green), 447-0441,
6–9:30 p.m. Thu.
Once a week, Amarena sets up a marvelous complimentary buffet of Italian comfort food in its tiny bar area. Spring greens; penne with tomato sauce; cheesy focaccia; green lasagna with pesto; rice with zucchini, carrots, and mozzarella — it's all hearty and delicious. The wine bar features seven reds, five whites, and two sparklers for $7 to $15 per glass, alongside Peroni for $7 and a glass of sangria for $9. With its wine racks, sponged peach walls, and hardwood floors, the place is reminiscent of a friendly Tuscan hangout.

Kennedy's Irish Pub and Curry House
1040 Columbus (at Chestnut), 441-8855,
5–7 p.m. and 11–11:30 p.m. daily
This low-slung shack in North Beach features an astounding 42 beers on tap, and during happy hour thirsty suds-lovers can enjoy two of them for the price of one. In addition to a dozen California microbrews, there are several robust Belgians and a fine selection of British ales, and did we mention the $2 pints of Guinness? Two pool tables, three foosball tables, eight flatscreen TVs, and an attached Indian restaurant offer something for everyone.

303 Second St. (at Folsom), 543-2928,
4:30–10 p.m. Tue.–Sat., 4:30–9 p.m. Sun.–Mon.
One of the city's classiest Mexican restaurants serves free botanas (appetizers) until 7 p.m. and a variety of treats until closing time, including high-end $2 tacos with your choice of snapper, carnitas, carne asada, cactus, or pork belly with ancho-habanero salsa. Sipping options include $3 wells, house wines, sangria, Cuba Libres, four types of caipirinha, and eight varieties of mojito, while margaritas in guava, mango, hibiscus, tamarind, and pomelo will run you $5 apiece. The handsome earth-toned bar is a fun place to unwind with a group of friends.

Tonga Room
950 Mason (at California, in the Fairmont Hotel), 772-5278,
5–7 p.m. Wed.–Fri.
The Fairmont's exuberant, excessive tiki bar lays out an all-you-can-eat $10 buffet of quasi-island delicacies, some good, some not so much: spring rolls, won-tons, crudités, chow mein, cheese and crackers, and so on. The real reason to come here is for the delectable, elaborate umbrella-festooned cocktails and the Jungle Cruise ambience that goes with them: the palm fronds, totem poles, thatched-roof booths, even thunder-and-lightning tropical downpours.

Joe DiMaggio's
601 Union (at Stockton), 421-5633,
3–7 p.m.
>This dark, classy, Rat Pack-y hangout offers up five antipasti, five pizzas, and five classic cocktails at $5 apiece during happy hour. Nothing could be swankier than enjoying an icy martini and a seafood-veggie fritto misto amid all that burnished mahogany, burgundy drapes, and Joltin' Joe memorabilia. Other snacks include calzones, Caesar salad, and fava bean bruschette. And the Lemon Drop is pretty scrumptious, too.

Epic Roasthouse
369 Embarcadero (at Harrison), 369-9955,
3–6:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri.
The waterfront views are lovely from Epic's Quiver Bar (named for the Cupid's Span sculpture just outside), but the happy hour deals are pretty sweet, too — potato curls with herbs de Provence, fleur de sel, and arugula pesto ($3); smoked chicken drummettes with corn relish ($5); and soft, house-made breadsticks ($3). Every day there's a different premium bottled beer for $3, and house wines and cocktails are $5. Fun, festive atmosphere with comfortable chairs, industrial-chic accents, and a view of the Bay Bridge through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

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