Happier Hours: Steals and deals for foodiesLovely recession we’re having. No, seriously – a deal tastes much better these days. Who’s in for happy hour? While the best things in life are indisputably free, we also consider anything under $5 to be superlative. Happy hours get happier when the food has finesse and the cocktails do more than quench thirst. Add ambiance to the mix and, economic worries notwithstanding, the party may go all night.
48 Maryland Plaza, St. Louis, 314.361.7227
On the patio at Scape, it isn’t just the air that’s free. Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m., the opulent Central West End restaurant indulges diners with a liberally stocked antipasti station with the usual, snackable suspects – cheese, salami, peppers, crostini. Respectable beer deals ($2 domestic drafts, $3 imports) accompany a short list of $4 dressed-for-dinner cocktails. The Four-Berry Mojito is a tart pop to the palate made with cranberry juice, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. The sensational headliner is the wine special: half-off all selections by the glass. Happy hour offers are available at the bar, of course, but since Scape’s patio is one of the few in town that’s tucked away from traffic, you’ll probably prefer relaxing en plein air. High leisure at low prices is hard to resist.
Square One Brewery and Distillery
1727 Park Ave., St. Louis, 314.231.2537
Every little bit counts at Square One, the Lafayette Square brewpub where house beers sell for a dollar off during happy hour. But free bar bites are the real bargain. Monday though Friday from 4 to 6 p.m., Square One sets out two to three complimentary appetizers. Expect simple: fried fish, pub chips, chicken tenders, fruit – possibly an impromptu Caesar salad bar. A nibble here and a nibble there quickly add up to a snack. And the $2 burgers on Tuesdays definitely constitute a full meal. Keep in mind that Square One distills some of its own spirits. So far, it has released six liquors, and each is the centerpiece of a basic house cocktail. The Fitzgerald, made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters, could easily be renamed Summer on the Patio. Now, you’ll only get a modest $1 off, but the upside of this is that you won’t be tempted to overdo it on a school night.
Frazer’s Restaurant & Lounge
1811 Pestalozzi St., St. Louis, 314.773.8646
If you love the nightlife but no longer care to boogie, head to Frazer’s in Benton Park. The Tuesday happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. is bustling but laid-back – if you forget that your sunglasses are on your head, oh well. What are you drinking? Coronas and domestic cerverzas chase the heat away for $2. Basic cocktails and a rotating selection of two wines (one red, one white) cost $3 and $5, respectively. You could also spend your five-spot on a specialty cocktail – think, for example, passion fruit martini. Frazer’s modest drink specials accommodate the crowd Monday through Friday, but on Tuesdays, the party starter is a complimentary appetizer buffet. Any given spread features a couple of quick snacks. Find well-sauced chicken wings and chips and salsa one week and kabobs and hummus the next. Chef and owner Frazer Cameron, a familiar face to regulars from the neighborhood and the nearby A-B brewery, typically plays it by ear.
Perch at the bar or cruise over to the couch. Happy hour deals are only available in Frazer’s lounge, whose stay-awhile décor includes mosaics, mirrors, mango-colored lighting and an oxymoronically inconspicuous disco ball.
Yemanja Brasil Restaurant
2900 Missouri Ave., St. Louis, 314.771.7457
Yemanja’s happy hour is a Friday-only affair. Between 5 and 7 p.m., the Benton Park restaurant opens its upper floor to idly reveling friends and family. The room is smoke-free and, thanks to plentiful windows, brilliant with late-day light. A wrought-iron embellished staircase separates the parlor-like space into two halves, granting ample opportunity to make yourself at home. Tabletops are crowded with $5 Caipirinhas and $10 doubles at varying levels of fullness. The fantastically refreshing cocktail features fresh juice and abundant lime wedges. Beware: It’s deceptively sweet. Eat something. During happy hour, Yemanja serves light bites buffet-style for the fetching price of free. Offerings vary from week to week, though seafood soups, chicken wings and plump yuca fries show up frequently. Enjoy the latter plain or dunk them in curry mustard. Additional entertainment is delivered by checkers, foosball and, on occasion, the hammock-rocking rhythms of a three-piece charro band.
3419 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.446.1801
Lovers of the open road will adore the deal offered by Triumph every Tuesday from 5 to 9 p.m. Uh-huh, a four-hour happy hour. The Midtown eatery gives a gratis appetizer to any novice, veteran or born-again biker who rolls in with a helmet. Instead of eating asphalt, free riders will enjoy soft pretzels and house-made potato chips served with a mustard dipping sauce spiked with Guinness. All this takes place in a private lounge that has three flat-screen TVs and a night’s worth of races on DVD. Four bucks buys bikers a pint of any beer and a shot of Wild Turkey.
Four-wheelers, you are far from forgotten. Seated anywhere in the bar area (which has a pick of plush booths) or in the snug Alcyon lounge, you can save a pretty penny eating half-price appetizers. Sushi tacos and edamame hummus are two of the more unusual finds. Beverage-wise, you’ll get more bang for your buck drinking $2 domestic beers and $3 cocktails made with middle-shelf spirits such as Jim Beam, José Cuervo and Absolut. This happy hour is available Monday through Friday from 2 to 7 p.m. Uh-huh, a five-hour happy hour.
$5 AND UNDER
5257 Shaw Ave., St. Louis, 314.772.8272
Monday though Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. – plus all night on Tuesday – you could easily order eight items off Modesto’s happy hour menu and get change back from a five.
The sexy go-to spot for tapas on The Hill offers bite-size sustenance in two categories. Montaditos are served on a petite but satisfying slice of bread. Pick a tuna-stuffed pepper, a piece of grilled shrimp or spread the flavor on thick with sobrasada, a creamy house-made sausage spiked with paprika, garlic and piquillo pepper. Pinchos stand alone. Sink a toothpick into a fried Mediterranean anchovy, Basque sweet peppers, or a mushroom cap stuffed with bread crumbs, cheese and bacon. Each bit costs between a quarter and a dollar – you do the math – and whichever ones you order add up to an eclectic, snacky meal served on a single convivial plate.
During happy hour, specialty cocktails del dia cost $5 instead of $8, and bottles of Estrella Damm and Estrella Galicia go for a convincing $3. Save your euros.
12 N. Meramec Ave., Clayton, 314.721.7700
Roxane’s happy hour may not be all things to all people, but it comes impressively close. The Clayton glitterati magnet makes deals Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., a window of time that caters both to late lunchers and precocious dinner guests. The cocktail crowd gets an extra hour of attention all to itself. Available until 7 p.m., the drink menu sports $2 domestic beers, $3 imports, $4 well drinks and $5 glasses of house wine. Unlike most other happy hours, Roxane’s is available anywhere in the restaurant – at the north bar, the south bar, high-top tables, dining room tables or out on the covered patio. Feeling overwhelmed by appealing options? Wait until you see the list of starters. Roxane offers no fewer than 20 generously sized appetizers that, after the 50 percent discount is applied, ring up to $5 or less. Top that. And top this: chorizo sausage with corn-avocado relish, chicken satay with peanut sauce, surf ’n’ turf skewers with garlic tomato and strawberry balsamic aïoli, baked brie that’s finished tableside in a flame of 151 … as you know, this list goes on. Roxane also pleases more traditional eaters with dishes like crab cakes, calamari and nachos – yet each iteration has a sophisticated twist.
2020 Chesterfield Mall, Chesterfield, 636.536.1151
The clock ticks softer at Wapango Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. Chesterfield’s swanky Pan-Latin spot offers half-price apps that put lackluster quesadillas – not to mention ordinary bar fare – to shame. Choose from 10 solid options including arepas augmented by roasted chicken or shredded pork; serapes crowned with queso fresco and thick avocado chunks; and a cheese empanada duo topped with refreshing pineapple salsa. Chile-orange mojo spices up the eager-to-please quesadilla on the menu. The beer specials are straightforward, yet spot-on: $2 domestics, $3 imports. The cocktail crowd can linger long over $4 margaritas sassed up with a splash of OJ and $5 glasses of sangria. Respectively, these drinks cost $3.25 and $3 less than usual and pack just as much pleasure.
Wapango only offers its happy hour deals at the bar, but backed by a wall of windows that rises dramatically to the ceiling, it’s certainly a bar with a view.