Meals are for sustenance, but happy hour is pure joy. (What other daily tradition has “happy” in the name?) But it goes deeper than that. Today’s happy hours offer so much more than an after-work buzz, though they’re still great for that.
The modern happy hour is a passport for the risk-adverse foodie to test new culinary grounds. “Whether you’re on a budget or want to try something new, there’s no anxiety about ordering something you might like if it’s at a happy hour price,” says Allen Holmes, general manager of west-side hot spot Other Mama.
Holmes suggests using the happy hour menu as a barometer for a restaurant’s cuisine. “If you’re trying out a restaurant for the first time, why not go during a happy hour?” Holmes says. “If they’re producing quality, good-tasting items during happy hour, you know their regular menu will be just as good, if not better.
“Try something you don’t normally eat,” Holmes advises. During happy hour, Holmes once sent an order of sashimi-grade amberjack crudo to a customer who thought he didn’t like sushi. “It changed his perspective of what raw should be.”
Price, variety and a sense of laid-back chill—happy hour combines the best parts of going out to eat without the commitment or stress of the full meal. Really, there’s no downside.
Here are a few of our favorite happy hours across the Valley, complete with all the details on times and prices. But there are dozens if not hundreds more out there just waiting to be explored. So what are you waiting for?
Where: 201 N. 3rd St., 702-385-0838; Green Valley Ranch Resort, 702-616-2996; pizzarock.com.
Happy hour: Daily, 3-6 p.m. & 10 p.m.-close.
Specials: $2 off all draft beers; wines by the glass and specialty cocktails; all well drinks $4; $4-$7 food menu.
Why go: For the sensational meatballs ($4 for three), the only-served-during-happy-hour personal pizzas ($5-$7) and the extensive tap array, all pours from which are discounted twice daily.
SOHO JAPANESE RESTAURANT
Where: 7377 S. Jones Blvd. #116, 702-776-7778, sohojapaneserestaurant.com.
Happy hour: Monday-Saturday, noon-7 p.m.
Specials: $3 Sapporo and $5 Asahi drafts (plus other beer specials); discounted sake starting at $3; $3 sangria; more than 20 food dishes priced at $5.
Why go: It’s an inexpensive and enjoyable chance to fill up at one of the best sushi spots in town. Don’t miss the raw-fish tostadas, the hydro bibb cod and the crispy Brussels sprouts.
Where: 3655 S. Durango Drive #6, 702-463-8382, othermamalv.com.
Happy hour: Daily, 5-6 p.m.
Specials: $3 draft beers; $5 wines glasses; $5-$7 appetizers; $8-$9 raw bar dishes.
Why go: It’s an approachable way to experience Chef Daniel Krohmer’s stellar, fish-focused menu for the first time—or to return for the hundredth. Bonus: $1 oysters all day on Mondays.
DOWNTOWN COCKTAIL ROOM
Where: 111 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-880-3696, downtowncocktailroom.com.
Happy hour: Monday-Saturday, 4-7 p.m.
Specials: 50 percent off everything.
Why go: To get some of the most expertly conceived and poured cocktails in Las Vegas (we recommend the spicy Portobello Fellow and the mezcal-centric Put a Beard on It) for half their usual prices—with a side of Downtown cool.
Where: 59 locations including PT’s Pub, PT’s Gold, PT’s Ranch, PT’s Brewing Company, Sean Patrick’s, Sierra Gold and SG Bar, pteglv.com.
Happy hour: Daily, 5-7 p.m. & midnight-2 a.m.
Specials: Appetizers, burgers and flatbreads for $6-$8, half-price drinks and beers.
Why go: The local happy hour champ just launched a new program in the spring, so if you haven’t hit your neighborhood pub for sriracha chicken bites or parm sliders with your PT’s Durango Double IPA, you’re behind schedule.
Where: 3824 Paradise Road, 702-369-3971, fireflylv.com.
Happy hour: Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m.; Monday-Thursday, 11 p.m.-close.
Specials: Drinks $5-$; pitchers of sangria or mojitos $20; tapas $4.
Why go: Firefly was built 15 years ago on the post-work crowd—those who keep regular office hours or a late-night industry schedule. The cool, friendly vibes and tasty snacks haven’t changed.
Where: 140 Green Valley Parkway, 702-222-3556; 9350 W. Sahara Ave. #170, 702-901-4877; settebello.net.
Happy hour: Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. & 8-9 p.m.
Specials: $2 off beer and wine; $3 off cocktails; $5 appetizers and mini pizzas.
Why go: It turns out these happy hour Neapolitan mini-pies are the perfect amount of food, even better when paired with a perfect (and discounted) Old Fashioned or Moscow Mule.
HERBS & RYE
Where: 3713 W. Sahara Ave., 702-982-8036, herbsandrye.com.
Happy hour: Monday-Saturday, 5-8 p.m. & midnight-3 a.m.
Specials: Half-price wine, $5 well drinks, half-price steaks and select food items.
Why go: You can’t beat the cocktail program and atmosphere at everyone’s favorite off-Strip hang, so a juicy 18-ounce ribeye for $30 might push you over the edge.
ECHO & RIG
Where: 440 S. Rampart Blvd. 702-489-3525, echoandrig.com.
Happy hour: Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 4-6 p.m.
Specials: $1.99 steak and egg; $1 Echo dog; $1.99 shrimp cocktail; $5 house red or white wine glasses; $4 premium liquor; $3 draft beer.
Why go: Two bucks for any meat at this fine steakhouse is ridiculous. Plus, you can watch butchers cut the chops for the night.
ANDRE'S BISTRO & BAR
Where: 6115 S. Fort Apache Road, #112, 702-798-7151, andresbistroandbar.com.
Happy hour: Daily, 3-6 p.m.
Specials: $2 off specialty cocktails, well drinks and wine by the glass; $1 off beers; discounted dishes including Escargots de Bourgogne $7, Thai Chicken Burger $8, Coq au Vin $15, 8 oz Wagyu sirloin $20 and Chocolate Pot de Crème $4.
Why go: Talk about bang for your buck. Favorite starters, entrees, cocktails and desserts all feature slashed prices for the early birds.
Where: 246 Via Antonio Ave., 702 222-2400, panevinolasvegas.com.
Happy hour: Monday-Friday 4-7 p.m. in the bar and lounge area.
Specials: Including but not limited to crab cakes $12, Beefy Angus Sliders $11, Fried Calamari & Shrimp Antonio $11 and Caesar salad $6.
Why go: It’s easily accessible from the Strip, the 215 or the 15. Forget the traffic and chill at this airport-adjacent favorite.
ANDIRON STEAK & SEA
Where: 1720 Festival Plaza Drive, 702-685-8002, andironsteak.com.
Happy hour: Daily, 4-7 p.m.
Specials: Appetizers from $3-$7 including pretzel-crusted onion rings and steak tartare toast; discounted beers ($4), glasses of wine ($8) and cocktails ($8); $1 oysters on Tuesdays.
Why go: The Downtown Summerlin hot spot is full of movers and shakers. Mix a little business with pleasure.
On the Strip (& Nearby)
Where: The Cosmopolitan, 702-698-7930, milos.ca/restaurants/las-vegas.
Happy hour: Daily, 5-7 p.m.
Specials: $5 domestic and Greek lagers; $7 Greek wines by the glass; $9 cocktails; $10 small bites (oysters, octopus, lamb sliders, etc.).
Why go: To experience fine Mediterranean seafood in an elegant environment at an attainable price.
Where: Mandalay Bay, 702-632-7200, michaelmina.net/restaurants/las-vegas/stripsteak.
Happy hour: Daily, 4-5:30 p.m. in the bar and lounge area.
Specials: $11 cocktails; $10 wine and spirits; $5 domestic beer; $7 imported beer; $7 featured seasonal beer; $6-$9 small plates (duck fat fries, oysters, short rib tacos, thai beef jerky); $24 wagyu burger and prime flat iron steak.
Why go: To get the Strip steakhouse experience at an affordable price point.
Where: 99 Convention Center Drive, 702-407-5303, barrymorelv.com.
Happy hour: Daily, 5-7 p.m.
Specials: $2 beers (PBR and Rolling Rock); $5 well cocktails, $5 wine by the glass; $20 bottles of wine; $4-$9 small plates (roast bone marrow, oysters Rockefeller, smoked bacon).
Why go: Conveniently located near the Convention Center, this retro getaway offers old Hollywood glamour at an affordable price.
Where: New York-New York, 702-740-6766, tomsurban.com/vegas.
Happy hour: Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m.; Thursday-Sunday, 11 p.m.-2 a.m.
Specials: Half-price drinks; $10 wings and sliders; $5 small plates.
Why go: With its epic Stripside patio, it’s the perfect place to grab a bite and a drink before a game or a show at T-Mobile.
595 CRAFT AND KITCHEN
Where: 4950 S. Rainbow Blvd. #100, 702-586-1050, 595craftandkitchen.com.
Happy hour: Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m.
Specials: Local beers, wines and cocktails $2 off; craft beers $1 off; $5 snacks; $10 garbage nachos and hangover fries.
Why go: This gastropub offers lots of bang for your buck well beyond happy hour, with an eclectic set of taps and a hearty sandwich list that includes both brisket banh mi and a pork belly burger.
ACES & ALES
Where: 2801 N. Tenaya Way, 702.638.2337; 3740 S Nellis Blvd., 702.436.7600; acesandales.com.
Happy hour: Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m. & midnight-2 a.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Specials: $2 off all drafts, appetizers, cocktails and wines; 50 percent off all pizzas; 50 percent off growler fills on Sundays.
Why go: The live tap list will make your head swim: 20 taps at the Nellis location and a mind-blowing 50 at Tenaya, featuring pours from Lost Coast, Kona, Goose Island and more.
CHICAGO BREWING CO.
Where: 2201 S. Fort Apache Road, 702-254-3333, chicagobrewinglv.com.
Happy hour: Daily, 4-7 p.m.; Sunday-Thursday, 11 p.m.-1 a.m.
Specials: Half-price house drafts, house wines and well drinks; $3-$4 snacks; $6 10-inch pizzas.
Why go: This west-side stalwart brews up some terrific stouts, browns, blondes and IPAs and serves them in a handsome setting that’s as comfortable as they come.
Where: 3784 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-692-2337, theparkvegas.com.
Happy hour: Daily, 2-6 p.m.
Specials: $4 select drafts; $4 hot dogs (with $4 dogs served again from 10 p.m. to close)
Why go: Beerhaus has one hell of a patio. It overlooks the Park, the closest thing the Strip has to a public square and a great place to people-watch, enjoy some brews and celebrate the Vegas Golden Knights, who play just next door.
CASA DI AMORE
Where: 2850 E. Tropicana Avenue, 702-433-4967, casadiamore.com.
Happy hour: Daily, 5-11 p.m. on the patio & 11 p.m. till close inside.
Specials: Half-price pizzas and drinks (excluding super-premium spirits).
Why go: True to its slogan, this Italian restaurant is truly “Vegas the way it used to be.” Ditto for happy hour vibes.
BOTTIGLIA CUCINA & ENOTECA
Where: Green Valley Ranch Resort, 702-617-7075, bottiglialv.com.
Happy hour: Monday-Friday, 5-7 p.m.
Specials: $7 food and drinks; $1 fresh-shucked oysters on Tuesdays.
Why go: The cocktails are highly memorable, but the food might be the true star of this rustic Italian restaurant’s happy hour: arancini, meatballs, Italian wedding soup and more.
Where: 1487 E. Flamingo Road #C, 702-440-6333, thegaragelv.com.
Happy hour: Daily, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Happy Hour Specials: Buy-one-get-one-free drinks.
Why go: Located near UNLV, the Garage is a casual LGBT bar staple with low drink prices and a kitchen.
EL DORADO CANTINA
Where: 3025 Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, 702-722-2289, eldoradovegas.com.
Happy hour: Daily, 2-6 p.m. & midnight-4 a.m.
Specials: $7 margaritas; $10 draft beer and tequila shot special; $3.50-$7 appetizers.
Why go: It’s a super delicious, family-friendly restaurant that just happens to share a parking lot with a strip club. What could be more perfect for happy hour?