People are drawn to happy hour for a variety of reasons. Some just want to forget the awful day they just had. Others want to gossip about the boss with their co-workers. Many just want to wind down with good drinks, food and music. One of the venues below is certain to meet whatever your current happy hour needs happen to be.
If comfort food and a great view are your top priorities, look no further than Lucy’s Fried Chicken on Lake Travis. In addition to succulent fried chicken, you can get cheesy grits and spicy Diablo oysters with habanero peppers. The Wednesday happy hour is popular because of the $1 Pearl beer and the $5 Juicy Lucy, a refreshing frozen watermelon margarita.
Speaking of views, there’s really no way to beat the view of the sunset from the multi-level hillside decks at The Oasis. However, the restaurant has taken heat over the years for relying too heavily on the view while neglecting the food and service. Fortunately, that has started to change. The spicy chicken fajitas consistently earn high praise, and vegetarians give high marks to the restaurant’s veggie burger. The bar serves several variations on the traditional Hurricane, including the Oasis Sunset, made with Bacardi Limon Rum, lemonade and orange juice.
Enjoy sweeping views of rolling hills while sipping one of Z’Tejas’ many top-notch tequila drinks. They’re all half price on Tequila Tuesday. During happy hour, the restaurant offers $2 Street Tacos and $3 Chipotle Lime Parrilla Skewers. The Grilled Shrimp and Guacamole Tostada Bites are another popular appetizer. If you’re sticking around for dinner, don’t miss the Santa Fe Smoked Chicken Enchiladas served with a mild red sauce and saffron green chile rice.
Happy hour is the ideal time to try out Roaring Fork because the restaurant often offers discounted versions of some of its pricier dishes for the early-evening crowd. Crowd favorites include the Big Ass Burger and the Fried Avocado with Crab. In addition to the sprawling outdoor patio, the dimly lit interior is conducive to quiet conversation with someone special.
A good spot for hobnobbing with Austin’s rich and powerful, Trio offers significant food and drink discounts at happy hour. You’ll get $5 off select menu items and $8 wines by the glass. At only $4, the rosemary fries with truffle aioli are a delicious bargain. The intimate outdoor patio overlooks Lady Bird Lake.
Happy hour at the Continental Club is all about the music. The Tuesday night Hippie Hour with Toni Price is a must-see cultural event. Toni Price is a talented, if curmudgeonly, country blues singer with devoted fans who sing along to most songs. The small venue is always crowded, and you’ll probably have to stand unless you get there before 5 p.m. The energy of the crowd will make you forget that you’re standing. The bands often don’t fit into any neat category but usually play some combination of country and Americana music. The Continental draws one of the most diverse and laid-back crowds in Austin.
A popular stop after a day at Barton Springs, Shady Grove still exudes the relaxed spirit of old Austin. In fact, it used to be nestled next to a series a trailer parks. Most of the trailer parks are gone, but Shady Grove is still serving up tasty food and drinks in an unpretentious atmosphere. The tree-covered patio is the place to be in good weather, and the signature Shady Thang cocktail will keep you cool and mellow. During the summer months, high-profile acts play on Thursdays on the outdoor stage for Unplugged at the Grove.
As with many Rainey Street bars, Bungalow is a refurbished old house. It also has a dog-friendly outdoor space with games like cornhole and an extra-large Jenga tower. Try the whiskey-infused Peach Smash, but be careful. The smooth flavor makes them go down easy -- maybe a little too easy.
A 6th Street institution, Maggie Mae’s is a multi-level bar with some of the best music in town. In fact, there’s often more than one bar to choose from in different areas of the venue. The rooftop bar is an excellent place to wind down while watching the drunken shenanigans on the street below. The bar features different happy hour specials every night of the week.
An odd combination of honky-tonk and hipster dive bar, The White Horse offers a fun atmosphere built around country music, dancing and serious booze. Happy hour runs from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. with $2.50 well drinks. Plus, The White Horse sells whiskey on tap. The bar also offers free dance lessons four nights a week.
If you want a happy hour with affordable drinks and ton of tasty gourmet bites, Salty Sow is an ideal destination. As the name suggests, there’s plenty of pork on the menu, but also duck fat fries, crisp chicken thighs, oyster boudin fritters and cheese grits. The happy hour menu even has a few vegetarian options, such as crispy brussels sprout leaves and eggplant fries. There are several craft beers available, in addition to signature drinks such as Rosemary’s Piglet, with rosemary syrup, pomegranate juice and champagne. A rotating menu of $5 wines by the glass adds a touch of class to your budget night out.