Party through Payday
7 hot new Austin happy hours for budget-friendly eats and drinks
You maxed out your cards during the holidays, then did it again trying to impress your love on Valentine’s Day. And sadly, that tax refund check has to go towards paying down all that debt. How are you going to party through payday? By checking out the latest and greatest happy hours that Austin has to offer of course.
Be More Pacific
It’s a sad fact about happy hours that even some of the finest restaurants around town can treat the menu like an afterthought. (Just think back to all those times you dipped a fry in aïoli while waiting for that second drink.) Need something more before dinner? Head over to Shoal Creek Boulevard where you can nosh on a menu filled with Be More Pacific’s contemporary take on Filipino classics and throw down a couple delightfully off-kilter drinks (one uses a chunk of feta, but we won’t spoil the surprise). Everything listed is under $10 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 4-6:30 pm, and all night on Wednesday.
February in Austin gives you one of the last opportunities to wear your cooler weather gear before the blistering heat makes anything but jorts intolerable. Take advantage of the fashion season by getting decked out and trying the new tasting hours at the dining room bar of South Lamar’s mid-century modern stunner. The current bites menu — available Tuesday through Friday from 5-7 pm and all day Sunday and Monday — features comfort classics like shells and cheese and cornmeal hush puppies and fancier indulgences like beef tartare and redfish crudo with avocado, young coconut, marcona almonds, Fresno chilis, radish, and puffed rice. Plus, select bottles of wine are half off, proving you don’t have to have a baller budget to live like one.
Come SXSW, the Rainey Street area is going to be a madhouse. So try out Geraldine’s new weekday party before the annual invasion hits. From 5-6:30 pm, gobble up wallet-friendly treats from executive chef Stephen Bonin and executive pastry chef Yolanda Diaz including hot honey and garlic chicken wings, savory Parmesan funnel cake, torched Akaushi beef filet, and lime panna cotta with strawberry granita and black pepper meringue. Draft beer and wine is on special, but the pros do it up with one of bar director Caitlyn Jackson’s cocktails. I’m With the Band — a mix of local Nine Banded whiskey, Ancho Reyes, lime, grenadine, and Zucca Rabarbaro (think amari with Chinese rhubarb) — is turned up to 11.
Dating is undeniably expensive, but you’re not going to impress your potential steady by taking them through the Taco Bell drive-thru. Instead, skip out of work early and take advantage of this downtown brasserie’s brand new happy hour. From 3-6 pm, Monday through Friday, enjoy deals like 25 percent off fruits de mer like blue crab remoulade, East Coast lobster with tarragon aïoli, or caviar with potato crisps, red onion, and crème fraîche; discounts off wine by the glass, house cocktails, and beer; and a $35 douzaine et demi: 12 assorted oysters plus a half bottle of wine. Take advantage of the early start and go watch the sunset together at Mount Bonnell. Très romantique!
Parker Jazz Club
The swanky new basement lounge from musician Kris Kimura and hospitality pro Eric Leonard is a respite from the Warehouse District’s usual oonce-oonce-oonce. From 5-7 pm,Tuesday through Friday and all day Monday, sip on deals on cocktails like Au Privave (a peach and basil riff on the whiskey sour), Tuxedo Junction (a chocoholic martini), and Misterioso (a mule made with silver tequila, raspberry, and hibiscus). A residency from the Ryan Davis Trio keeps things bopping.
Since opening in fall 2017, this McGuire Moorman Hospitality food truck and bar has made a splash with its chic kitschy decor, house Tahitian vanilla and dark chocolate soft serve, and juicy burgers topped with everything from griddled pineapple, bacon, cheese, fresh jalapeños, and dijonnaise. Now Pool Burger is diving into its first happy hour starting weekdays between 4-6 pm. Sip on $5 frozen drinks, $5 brut rosé from sister restaurant June’s All Day, and $2 Negra Modelo or Austin Beerworks Pearl Snap. Just wait the suggested 30 minutes before taking a dip in the nearby Deep Eddy Pool.
Second Bar + Kitchen Domain Northside
If you work in North Austin, you might as well forget making it downtown for happy hour. Luckily, the second location of one of Congress Avenue’s favorite restaurants brings downtown to you. From 4-6 pm on weekdays, enjoy $5 bites like black truffle pommes frites, pimento cheese stuffed chicken fried olives, and perennially popular blistered shishito peppers while sipping on select $5 wines by the glass, $3 beers, and two affordable cocktails — the $6 Painted Mule and the $8 Green River. After snacks, you’ll have enough money left over to raid the sale section at Nordstrom. Who doesn’t love a little buzzed shopping?