Happy Hour Like a BossFor the cocktailian
If you’re a bit like Professor Snape regarding the nuances of your cocktails (he taught potions, people) but don’t have gaelleons to spend on well-crafted drinks, steer yourself to Taste for happy hour. Taste discounts its entire selection of classic cocktails ($6) while taking them to new, labor-intensive heights. With cocktails listed chronologically, one can travel through time, starting with the mint julep in 1790 and eventually ending in the 1980s with the cosmo. Try the De La Louisiane, a bourbon Manhattan with Benedictine that relies on bitters and absinthe for some kick or a perfectly executed sloe gin fizz, frothy and light. Best of all, anyone behind the bar is happy to talk tasting notes and mixing techniques with an eager early-evening drinker. – M.P.
Happy hour: Sun. and Mon. – 5 p.m. to 12:15 a.m., Tue. to Fri. – 5 to 7 p.m.
4584 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, 314.361.1200, tastebarstl.com
For the hungry foodie
YaYa’s Euro Bistro
Really good, varied food is rare at happy hour. At YaYa’s Euro Bistro, the experience is a prelude to dinner – the service is pleasantly attentive, and the menu is solid from smoked trout to beef carpaccio to mussels. Grab a well cocktail ($3) or glass of wine ($5) and turn your attention to the real deal is easy: Buy one app, get a second app of equal or lesser value for free. Try the hand-rolled gnocchi ($10), pillowy and comforting, served in a gorgonzola cream sauce with roasted chicken, sauteed spinach and spiced walnuts. Next, go for the shrimp a la plancha ($15). Seared shrimp arrive still sizzling on a cast-iron skillet with garlic, a glug of sherry and red chile butter. To top it off, your server will hit this steaming plate with a squeeze of fresh lemon tableside. Now that’s what we call a strong finish. – M.N.
Happy hour: Mon. to Fri. – 4 to 6:30 p.m.
15601 Olive Blvd., Chesterfield, 636.537.9991, yayasstl.com
For pizza and beer
Katie’s Pizza & Pasta
Pizza and beer were meant to be together, but you won’t find pounds of Provel and generic suds at Katie’s Pizza & Pasta. There are five kinds of 6-inch pizzas, including the pear, prosciutto and fontina, as well as the Margherita drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil ($6). Pair your pie with a local draft, say a 4 Hands ($3), grab a friend and a seat on the sunny patio, and enjoy an elevated yet affordable version of a classic food and drink combo. – K.S.
Happy hour: Daily – 3 to 5 p.m. and 9 to 10 p.m.
9568 Manchester Road, Rock Hill, 314.942.6555, katiespizzaandpasta.com
For the wine enthusiast
The Dark Room
At this wine bar and photo gallery in Grand Center, you could shell out $195 for a bottle of a benchmark Napa cab, like 2010 Chateau Montelena. Better yet, go during happy hour, when you can sip contentedly on a glass of select sommelier wines ($5). You might be in store for a 6-ounce pour of a white Bordeaux like the 2013 Chateau Buisson Redon or a Spanish rosé, such as Garnacha de Fuego Rosado. The wine menu, like the engaging exhibits on the wall, changes every two months, but we guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with the options on this list. Pair that vino with one of the discounted flatbreads ($6) or toasted pita with a dip ($3) of house-made hummus, olive tapenade or Romesco. If conversation lags, walk the room and let the photos speak to you. Currently on display is Chronicle Ferguson by photographer Santiago Bianco. – L.F.
Happy hour: Tue. – 4 to 11 p.m., Wed. to Fri. – 4 to 6 p.m.
615 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.531.3416, thedarkroomstl.com
For a first date
First dates are rife with pressure. Give yourself and your wallet a break and meet face to face, like in ye olde days, at Basso for happy hour. Craft beers ($4), selected wines ($5), cocktails ($6) and small bites ($7 or less) are reason enough, but the forgiving lighting and hip atmosphere boosts everyone’s kissing potential. We can’t get enough of the truffle fries ($4) and crispy meatballs ($7), both also easy to eat in front of a perfect stranger. We found it difficult to resist the Peter Rabbit, a take on a Mexican mule that mixes Espolón reposado tequila, blood orange liqueur, carrot and lime juices, ginger beer and muddled basil. If all’s going well, you and your date could easily commit to a full, chef Rex Hale-designed meal that doesn’t break the bank. – M.P.
Happy hour: Mon. to Fri. – 4 to 7 p.m.
7036 Clayton Ave., St. Louis, 314.932.7820, basso-stl.com
For the beer lover
Three Kings Public House
In a happy-hour world of discounted domestics and longneck buckets, Three Kings Public House offers respite for the weary craft beer nerd. All draft beer is half price during happy hour. Sidle up to the bar and order from one of the 23 rotating drafts perfect for any beer lover’s palate. You could go light and sessionable with something like an easy-drinking Schlafly Hefeweizen or double-down on a bad day with a heavy hitter like a 9.5 percent Double Jack IPA from Firestone Walker. Dig into eight pub grub apps ($5) while you imbibe; we paired our brew with spicy chicken toasted ravioli, which adds a Sriracha kick to an STL classic. – C.K.
Happy hour: Mon. to Fri. – 4 to 6 p.m.; 6307 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314.721.3355 11925 Manchester Road, Des Peres, 314.815.3455, threekingspub.com
For the broke and unemployed
5 Star Burgers
Get a lot for a little at 5 Star Burgers. You will leave feeling full and so will your wallet. Take a seat anywhere and start with a glass of pinot noir; all four house wines ($3.50) are discounted during this window, and a pint of local craft on draft is half price ($2.50). Sliders ($1.50 – insert bugged-out emoji eyes here) are the food to order. We recommend mixing it up with a trio of sliders: the veggie burger with roasted red pepper mayonnaise, the Little 5 Star and the fried chicken slider. And remember to order a basket of fried cheese curds ($2). These little cheese grenades add a burst of salty richness to go with your vino, and if you’re looking to upgrade your slider, pop one on for the perfect bite. Wine, three sliders and a side add up to ten bucks. Time to ask your bartender for another round – you can afford it. – M.N.
Happy hour: Daily – 4 to 6 p.m.
8125 Maryland Ave., Clayton, 314.720.4350; 312 S. Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood, 314.394.2250, 5starburgersstl.com
for the all-day drinker
Frazer’s Restaurant & Lounge
Whoever said happy hour starts at 5 p.m. hasn’t been to Frazer’s on a weekday. This Benton Park spot has the kind of cozy charm and mustachioed irony that will make you want to ditch your day job and take up residency on one of its leather stools. The neighborhood watering hole has all the makings of a full-day affair with breaks on domestic bottles ($2.50), wells ($4) and vino ($6), and loafer-clad locals who will slap you on the back, order you a beer and convince you to “stay a while.” Behind the bar, hipster bartenders freeze martini glasses with liquid nitrogen, and on Wednesday, check out the vintage cocktail specials ($6). The best day to play hooky at this never-too-crowded hot spot? Thursday, when freshly shucked Blue Points ($1.50) and big-as-your-fist boiled shrimp ($1.50) are served up for hours of happiness. – S.S.
Happy hour: Mon. – 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tue. – 3 to 7 p.m., Wed. to Fri. – 3 to 6 p.m.
1811 Pestalozzi St., St. Louis, 314.773.8646, frazersgoodeats.com
For the sushi lover
The half-price happy hour at Cafe Mochi might be one of the worst-kept secrets in St. Louis. Sushi pilgrims flock to the pink neon sign outside this South Grand destination and wait anxiously, hoping to place their orders before the 6:30 p.m. deadline. All 15 non-specialty rolls are half price (less than $10), meaning you can dig into a classic California roll or a spicy octopus roll filled with tender bits of the cephalopod, kaiware (daikon radish sprouts), hot sesame oil and eel sauce, and even Futo Maki, filled with crab, shrimp, cucumber, sprouts, egg and roe. But the real sushi-phile steals are the 15 half-price nigiri options, succulent pieces of raw salmon, ruby-red tuna and more draped across a small mound of rice. Hot sake for two ($6) is available, but on hot summer nights, we unabashedly order specialty cocktails (two for $6) like the lurid Tropical Melon, a fruity sugar bomb of melon liqueur, vodka and orange and lemon juices. No shame, people. – C.K.
Happy hour: Tue. to Thu. – 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
3221 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.773.5000, Facebook: Cafe Mochi
For the entire office
Schmooze your way to the top at The Block’s happy hour at its Central West End location. Though the workingman’s nirvana is available in the bar, invite your coworkers for drinks on the picturesque back patio, a fenced urban oasis decorated with string lights and fresh herbs from The Block’s garden. House cocktails ($5) are boozy enough to take the edge off a long day without turning you into the topic of office gossip tomorrow. Try the Mint-Basil Lemontini, an herbaceous combination of basil vodka, fresh mint, fresh lemon juice and prosecco that sings of summer. A happy hour menu of starters ($5) provides generous sustenance for sharing, like the Potted Pig, a jar of house-made pork confit served with ample slices of grilled country bread, plenty of sour house-made pickles and sweet apple-raisin chutney. Don’t want to share with Double-Dipping Steve from accounting? Order the ham and cheese panini ($5), perfectly griddled with bacon jam and spicy mustard, and enjoy an early dinner. – C.K.
Happy hour: Mon. to Fri. – 5 to 7 p.m.
33 N. Sarah St., St. Louis, 314.535.5100, theblockrestaurant.com
For sunday funday
Happy hour occurs almost daily at BC’s Kitchen, but the best day to hit up restaurateur Bill Cardwell’s casual outpost in Lake Saint Louis is Sunday, when the deal lasts from open to close. Take a seat in the bar area or on the patio and have a glass of Vista Point chardonnay or merlot ($3.50). If wine isn’t your wish, order your go-to highball from BC’s talented bar team. Well drinks ($4.50) are not a bad deal, considering that Broker’s gin, Old Forester bourbon, El Dorado 3-year rum and Lismore Speyside single malt – solid products at value prices – are among the rail spirits available. BC’s has a lengthy list of happy hour-only noshes from snacks like house-made Saratoga chips ($5.50) to filling bites such as a trio of mini cheeseburgers served with fries ($6.75) or the standout: fried calamari with chile-lime mayo and cocktail sauce ($6.75). If you haven’t discovered BC’s yet, it’s time to make the trek; there are no excuses – you’ve got all day to get acquainted. – L.F.
Happy hour: Sun. – 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon. and Tue. – 3 to 9 p.m., Wed. and Thu. – 3 to 6 p.m.;
11 Meadows Circle Drive, Lake Saint Louis, 636.542.9090, billcardwell.com
For the late-night drinker
Sasha’s on Shaw
Sasha’s inviting garden is full of people chatting away in the cool late-night air after a hard day’s work. Pita pizzas ($6), delicious and intense in their flavors, include toppings ranging from asparagus to olives. Every open bottle of wine is available by the glass, with pours discounted by 50 percent. With all these options at your disposal, try a few new wines with a friend. The crisp and balanced Vincent Mothe Chablis is especially enjoyable. Beer deals include discounts on cans of 4 Hands ($2.50). Inside, the great vibe continues with comfy couches, a bar, lovely tables, and a welcoming staff to make you feel at home. – B.W.
Happy hour: Sun. – 9 p.m. to midnight, Mon. to Sat. – 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
4069 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, 314.771.7274, sashaswinebar.com
For an international happy hour
Mango Peruvian Cuisine
Crispy plantain chips and vibrant salsa verde land quickly on the table for a crunchy, satisfying start to this South American happy hour downtown. A generous glass of fruity and not-too-sweet sangria ($5) could tide you over, unless you opt for the equally economical pitcher ($15). Select local craft beers are available on draft ($3). Mango’s food menu offers seven small plates ($5 each). Among them, try the meaty Anticuchos Trio, three packed skewers of your choice of chicken, beef or tender, rich beef heart. Carb up with Bolas de Yuca, four deep-fried mashed yucca balls reminiscent of a hush puppy served with creamy, subtly spicy Huancaina dipping sauce. Better yet, make it a fiesta and order one of everything. – K.S.
Happy hour: Mon. to Fri. – 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m.
1101 Lucas Ave., St. Louis, 314.621.9993, mangoperu.com
For classy lushes
Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood
Take a seat at the swanky bar or one of the nearby high-top tables, and prepare to eat like a king. All wines by the glass are half off ($3 to $10.50); sip on the 2013 Seaglass Sauvignon Blanc ($4), an easy-drinking dry white with notes of cantaloupe. As for the food, think elevated dishes on a discount; most appetizers are half price. Try the Cajun shrimp ($8), five plump seared shrimp swimming in a spicy caper cream sauce – ask for bread so you won’t waste that sauce. The crème de la crème are the soy-braised pork cheeks ($5), insanely tender meat served atop a silky celery root purée and garnished with a crunchy, sweet and spicy salad of green apple and jalapenos. When the bill comes, refrain from doing a happy dance. Stay classy, St. Louis. – M.N.
Happy hour: Mon. to Fri. – 3 to 6 p.m., except during St. Louis Cardinals home games
620 Market St., St. Louis, 314.421.1540, shannonsteak.com
Tags : Cocktails