Lots of places have Happy Hour. Usually they’re written on those chalkboard signs and coupled with a cheeky pun pulled from a joke Instagram account that says something like “No good story ever started with a salad.” And while that might be true for most people, one time we ate a salad at the table next to that guy from The Wonder Years, and we haven’t stopped telling people since. It’s better than most of our stories that start with a few shots of tequila and end with falling asleep on the couch with one hand in a bag of chips and the other in a tub of hummus.
What we’re trying to say is that Happy Hours are great, but food Happy Hours are better. Especially for the nights when you’d rather not consume four times the amount you normally would because the beers are $2 off (it’s just math). So we put together this guide to all of the food Happy Hours in the city you should know about.
When: Mon-Fri, 4-7pm The Deal: Tapas ranging from $2-$6
Alma de Cuba has been around forever. It’s painted yellow and has an old-fashioned look from the outside, but inside it’s more of a modern Miami lounge. It’s generally pretty expensive to have a full dinner here, but a lot of their best tapas (like the rainbow ceviche and wahoo tacos) are discounted at the bar during Happy Hour, which goes until 7pm, so you can actually make it out of work before it ends.
When: Mon-Sat, 4:30-6:30pm; Sun, 4-6:30pm The Deal: $1 off most sushi rolls and tacos, and $2 signature appetizers
1225 Raw is a sushi bar that feels kind of like an upscale lounge (with a back patio full of large tables). But unlike most places that have a similar feel, this place is reasonably priced, and when you take their Happy Hour menu into account, you can easily get a full meal here for about $20.
When: Mon-Fri, 4:30-6:30pm The Deal: $8 margherita pizzas
If you’re in Center City and looking for a good deal on pizza, Zavino should be at the top of your list. They do personal margherita pizzas for $8 during Happy Hour, which means you can either save money or make the smart choice and order two of them and have an extra large dinner.
When: Every day from 5-7pm The Deal: $5 bites
Abe Fisher is from the same people as Zahav and Federal Donuts, and most of what they serve could be considered upscale Jewish deli food. But during Happy Hour, a lot of their smaller plates are only $5. That, combined with its Center City location and great bar, make it the perfect place to meet up with some friends for a pre-theater drink and some chicken liver mousse.
When: Mon-Fri, 5-7pm; Sat-Sun, 3-5pm The Deal: Appetizers ranging from $3.50-$6
Weekend Happy Hours are better than flipping your pillow over to the cold side in the middle of the night. And even though this one is practically in the middle of the day, it’s the weekend and no one eats at a normal time on Sundays anyways. If you have breakfast at noon, you’ll for sure be ready for some $6 dumplings and $5 Sichuan cucumbers by 3pm.
When: Mon-Fri, 4-7pm The Deal: $5 cheese pizzas
If you can beat a $5 pizza that actually tastes good anywhere in this country, you should be moving there right now. That is all.
When: Mon-Fri, 5-7pm The Deal: $10 margherita and marinara pizzas
It’s not a $5 pizza, but it is a really good deal, and it goes an hour later than Birra’s Happy Hour. So if you happen to just miss the cut, but you’re still really craving a pizza, head to Brigantessa. It’s casual enough that you can sit at the bar and read a Harry Potter book for the sixth time, and they have some perfectly acceptable pasta dishes to go with your $10 pie.
When: Tue-Fri, 5:30-7pm; Sun, 5-6:30pm
The Deal: $7 small plates
When you want to take your date to a nice place, but don’t know them well enough to spend money on them yet, go to Fond for Happy Hour. A lot of their appetizers are $7, including the seared foie gras (which is usually $23) and the grilled duck hearts (usually $12). They also have deals on cocktails, in case the conversation turns to your thoughts on organized religion or what you think of offshore drilling.
When: Mon-Fri, 4-6pm The Deal: Half off appetizers
If you live around East Passyunk, you’ve probably been here for a beer or five with your friends, but you may have never seen it before 10pm. Which is a shame, because they have pretty decent bar food, and during Happy Hour, all of their appetizers, like mac & cheese and wild boar tacos, are half off.
When: Mon-Fri, 5-7pm The Deal: Half off wings, $2 burgers
A $2 burger makes about as much sense as dudes who wear shorts in 20-degree weather just to prove their masculinity. But in the case of the burger, we’re happy about it. Despite being pretty nondescript and looking like every other sports bar in the city, Taproom on 19th has burgers and wings that are far superior to anywhere else around, and you can get them for silly cheap on weeknights before 7pm. So you should probably get in at around 6:55pm, order your $2 burger, and wait for whatever game is about to start.
When: Tue-Fri, 5-7pm
The Deal: $5 snacks; $10 burger
Kensington Quarters has one of the best burgers in the city, and on most weeknights, you can get it for just $10 before 7pm. It’s usually $20, so that’s a pretty steep discount, especially for a burger that we’d empty out our pockets for if necessary.
When: Mon-Fri, 5-7pm The Deal: Half off appetizers
Bottle Bar East has one of the biggest beer and wine selections in the city. Instead of standing in front of an annoyed bartender while you flip through 40 pages of options, though, Bottle Bar is just a bunch of fridges, so you can indecisively stare for as long as you want. And if you need a halftime break from your decision-making, they have half-off appetizers from 5-7pm on weeknights.
When: Mon-Fri, 5-7pm; Sat-Sun, 3-5pm
The Deal: $2-$7 food
This Japanese izakaya next to Cheu Fishtown just started doing a Happy Hour that happens every single day, and includes discounts on some of our favorite things on the menu, like the hot wings ($5) and miso cheese and toast ($6).
When: Mon-Fri, 4-6pm The Deal: $6 small plates
Standard Tap has a large menu, pool tables, and an upstairs covered balcony that you should be hanging out on when the weather’s nice. During Happy Hour, a big portion of their large menu is discounted to only $6, including things like mushroom risotto and beef carpaccio.
When: Mon-Fri, 5-7pm The Deal: $7 pizza
Clarkville is a casual neighborhood pizza spot pretty deep in West Philly, but if you’re in the area and looking for a cheap dinner, it’s your best bet. They have a ridiculous $7 pizza deal until 7pm on weeknights, and if you’re under 12 (or babysitting someone that is), they’ll give you a pizza and a milk carton for $6.
When: Mon-Fri, 5-7pm
The Deal: $7 dim sum and maki rolls
For cheaper sushi that’s actually good quality, go to Pod during Happy Hour. It might look like a spaceship from Austin Powers, but a lot of their maki rolls are $7, and some of their dim sum plates are as well, like the chicken potstickers with mustard aioli and the spicy tuna crispy rice. It’s worth enduring the color-changing lights.
When: Mon-Fri, 4-7pm The Deal: $3-$5 small plates
One of the best options for Penn and Drexel students looking for some cheap beer and sushi is CoZara. They have $3 hand rolls until 7pm on weeknights, $4 bao buns, and a variety of other rolls for $5 apiece. Plus, their drink specials start at $3 as well.
When: Mon-Fri, 4-7pm The Deal: $5-$10 small plates
White Dog is a West Philly staple and while it’s not our favorite place for a full dinner, it’s perfectly good for a drink and some appetizers during Happy Hour. It looks like an eccentric millionaire’s brownstone where she’s hung up oil paintings of her 37 purebred dogs, but in a cool way. And if you happen to be in the area, it’s one of your best options for Happy Hour food. They have $10 sandwiches and shared plates, and their portobello mushroom banh mi is probably the best thing there. Plus, they do $5 cocktails, which is one of the better deals we’ve found.
When: Mon-Fri, 4-7pm The Deal: $3-$8 snacks
Walnut Street Cafe is basically right next to 30th Street Station, so if you’re just coming back from a business trip on the Acela and need a quick bite and a beer, this is your spot. They have things like $3 caramel popcorn and a $5 pretzel with beer cheese, or if you want something a little more substantial, you can get their tempura fried fish with tartar sauce for just $8.
When: Mon-Fri, 5-6pm
The Deal: Half-price hummus at the bar
You probably aren’t planning your dinner at Zahav around their hummus specials, but if you don’t make a reservation and instead take a chance on seats at the bar, you’ll probably need to walk in around 5pm. Which means that if you do score a seat, your prize will be half-off hummus (plus $3 beers, $3 off wine, and $4 off cocktails).
When: Mon-Fri, 5-7pm
The Deal: $5 tapas
Amada is always pretty crowded after work hours and that’s because until 7pm on weeknights, you can get 10 of their tapas for $5 apiece. Plus, they do pretty great drink specials, like $5 sangria and $8 cocktails. So when your girlfriend asks you to come get a drink with her and all of her coworkers that you don’t know and don’t feel like talking to, you can get a table by yourself in the corner and ask the kitchen to bring you all the croquetas de jamon they have.
When: Mon-Fri, 5-7pm; Sat-Sun, 4-6pm
The Deal: $1 oysters; $5 small plates
The Olde Bar is actually quite new, but it’s located in the old Bookbinders building, which was one of the oldest running restaurants and bars in the city before it closed. The Olde Bar maintained most of the Old City building when it took over, and now it’s a great spot for oysters and a beer during Happy Hour (which even extends to the weekends).
When: 5-7pm every day The Deal: Half off appetizers
Wine bars like Panorama don’t exactly scream “cheap weeknight dinner,” but that’s why we’ve found all the loopholes to make it one. All of their appetizers are half off during Happy Hour, and if you get four or five of them, you can easily have a meal here for about $20. Also, their wine tastings are all $5 off, in case the thought of cheese without wine gives you a panic attack.
When: Mon-Fri, 4-7pm
The Deal: $5 food
While it’s not an expensive place to grab a meal even after 7pm strikes, you can get a pretty cheap dinner here during Happy Hour. And everyone else knows that too, so especially on Thursdays and Fridays, you’ll see people streaming in after work to take advantage of their $5 empanadas and chorizo sliders (and maybe a couple $5 margaritas as well).