There’s a reason it’s called Happy Hour. It’s the time to get together with friends, co-workers and partners in crime to let go of any craziness the day might have brought, and get to your happy place. And thankfully, Austin is filled with fantastic places to help you get to that happy place without breaking the bank!
One for the Gals – Hotel Ella
When your day is filled with standstill traffic, “Dress like a Book Character Day” at the kids’ school, and wrangling 50 silent auction items for the latest fundraiser, it’s always nice to take a break with one of your besties. And Hotel Ella has the perfect happy hour to help you unwind. With its classic style and large wraparound porch, Hotel Ella is just the place to sit outside and enjoy the fall weather with a good friend, a glass of wine and a nibble or two. On our most recent trip, we tried the Olema Pinot Noir, Sonoma CA 2014 and Broccoli Beignets with pickled carrots and lemon parmesan aioli.
Don’t let the name fool you. These are more of a savory, light-as-air hush puppy, than the breakfast pastry covered in powdered sugar that you find in New Orleans. The lemon in the aioli, and the pickled carrots help temper the heaviness of the fried dough, and the broccoli is incorporated into the dough for a subtle flavor – so you could totally still count it as a vegetable. Right?
4-7 pm M-F: Half off spirits, cocktails, beer and wine by the glass
1900 Rio Grande St, Austin, TX 78705
Perfect for Two – The Hightower
If you want a happy hour that also doubles as a date night, head to the East side for a stop at The Hightower. When you step inside, the insanity of the day is replaced with whimsical design and a creative menu. The muted lighting and paintings from local artist Graham Franciose found throughout the restaurant create the ideal atmosphere for enjoying wine and light bites with your special someone.
The Hightower has rotating house wines that complement the unique flavor combinations on their happy hour food menu. This time we had the house red along with their Brussels sprouts – a prime example of their playful flavor combinations. Their version of this delectable vegetable features a peanut butter-based sauce with spicy sambal and lemon along with golden raisins for a little sweetness. Pro Tip: They’re so good you might not be able to share (so be sure to order two).
5-7 pm M-Sat; 5-10 pm Sunday: Specials on light bites and beer with $5 glasses of house wine
1209 E 7th St. Austin, Texas
The More the Merrier – Winebelly
On one of those magical days when everyone is available at the SAME TIME to grab drinks, you must celebrate! And a fantastic place to visit if you’re down south is Winebelly. This unassuming, cozy little bar just off Oltorf and First has a large covered patio that’s ideal for meeting up with a big group.
Their happy hour menu features a great selection of 8-10 specials, most of which are $5. And, if you’ve got a blend of carnivores and vegetarians, there’s something for everyone. So order one of everything, and bask in the glory of the stars aligning for your posse. We had their house red along with a classic charcuterie board, and an order of the grilled shishito peppers. But take it from us, when you want to truly indulge, the truffle fries with parmesan aioli are rich, and salty, and amazing! Totally worth the extra spin class you’ll have to hit up to burn off the calories. Maybe you can even get your group to join?
4-6 pm T-Th: House wine $5, draught beer $3, Happy Hour food menu most are $5
519 W Oltorf St, Austin, TX 78704