Best Food-filled Happy Hours - 2008
Most of our modern-day happy hours involve cut-rate cocktails and nothing more, but there are a handful of joints that still provide a bit of substantive protein to accompany your firewater of choice.
640 Sacramento (at Montgomery), 395-9800
Drop by the cocktail lounge of this upscale Italian eatery on weekdays between 4 and 7 p.m., and you'll not only enjoy floor-to-ceiling vistas of the bustling Financial District, but also a good-sized pizza with the purchase of two drinks. These aren't your typical glop-and-starch pizzas, either, but thin-crusted delights topped with shaved asparagus and Fontina Val D'Aosta; artichoke hearts, capers and prosciutto; or fennel sausage, fire-roasted peppers, and smoked mozzarella. There are alluring cocktails, too (prickly pear mojito, anyone?).
Hyde Street Seafood House and Raw Bar
1509 Hyde (at Jackson), 931-3474
This cozy, cheerful neighborhood hangout offers a fascinating array of nautical memorabilia, sidewalk tables just a few yards from little cable cars climbing halfway to the stars, and, best of all, big iced platters of raw oysters at $12 per dozen every weekday from 5 to 7 p.m. Get yourself an assortment of sea-sprayed Hama Hamas, big, meaty Bluepoints, and delicate Hog Islands and settle back with a frosty pint of $2.50 Anchor Steam to enjoy a true San Francisco experience.
22 Hawthorne (at Howard), 777-9779
Hawthorne Lane's more casual New American reincarnation offers an uptown lineup of $2 bar bites every weekday from 4 to 6 p.m.: rich, spicy buffalo wings made with quail instead of the more perfunctory chicken; warm, creamy-crumbly headcheese drizzled with sweet onion relish; and equally classy reinterpretations of Swedish meatballs, mozzarella sticks, salami, and liverwurst. Well drinks are $4, draft beers (Steelhead, Prohibition, Abbaye de Leffe) likewise, and the cool, casual bronze-and-black atmosphere is a pleasure to unwind in.
950 Mason (at California), 772-5278)
Weekdays from 5 to 7 p.m., the Fairmont's exuberant, excessive tiki bar lays out an all-you-can-eat $9.50 buffet of quasi-Island delicacies, some good, some not so much: spring rolls, wontons, crudités, chow mein, cheese and crackers, and so on. The real reason to come here, though, is for the elaborate flora-festooned concoctions served in hollowed-out pineapples and vertiginous flagons and the immoderate ambience that goes with them: the jungle foliage, totem poles, fertility gods, and regularly scheduled tropical downpours.
400 Post (at Powell), 986-5830
Our ideal afterwork scenario is descending from the hustle-bustle of Union Square into the dark, cool, clubby Morton's, ordering a massive, glacial Tanqueray 10 martini, and availing ourselves of the free filet mignon sandwiches offered every weekday from 5 to 7 p.m. The tender, smoky, medium-rare filets are served between soft fingers of Italian bread with just a touch of mayo and mustard, and they're sublime. With the olive in your martini, you've got yourself a perfect Purple Hour repast.