Hot happy hours

7 upscale Austin restaurants with half-off food and drink happy hours

7 upscale Austin restaurants with half-off food and drink happy hours

Launderette happy hour
Launderette's half-off drink deals make it one of the hottest tickets in town. Launderette/Instagram

Some happy hours are better than others. While sipping dollar-off drinks or snacking on discounted appetizers are nice, there is nothing better than a half-off deal. Fortunately, Austin offers no shortage of upscale places that slash prices to bring in the early crowd. Deep discounts, full belly, can’t lose.

The Backspace
Chef Shawn Cirkiel’s cozy pizza joint is the ideal happy hour haunt for those who don’t want to get too wild. There’s no liquor at the bar, but a wide selection of beer and wine gives plenty of variety. Antipasta like roasted summer squash with green goddess dressing and lemon marinated olives fold into the half-off deal as well. The Neapolitan-style pizza isn’t specially priced, but do note that it’s fantastic. Take advantage of these deals from 5-6:30 pm, Monday to Friday.

Central Standard
Bail out of the office early and head to the South Congress Hotel to take advantage of a Monday through Friday happy hour that kicks off at 3 pm and stretches to 6:30 pm. House cocktails, such as the mezcal-centric Crimson Haybailer or the playful Saturday Morning Cartoons, get their prices slashed along with bubbles and beer. If you’re in need of a bite to eat, feast on East Coast oysters for $3 each.

Il Brutto
This East Austin Italian spot offers a full bar menu for its weekday happy hour from 5-7 pm. Whether one is hankering for a nice glass or bottle of wine, an Aperol Spritz, a Peroni draft, or a simple gin and tonic, it’s all half the usual price. Food isn’t discounted, but don’t let that stop you from trying the burrata with pistachio and tomato confit or the outrageously gooey four-cheese pizza.

Head to East Austin to indulge in one of the Capital City’s hottest social hours, running from 5-6 pm. House cocktails, beers, or wines by the glass are available for half the price on weekdays, but Monday maximizes the savings with a 50 percent discount on wines by the bottle. Pair it with Snacky Bits such as potato chips with pimento cheese or beet hummus. All are discount by $5, along with the juicy house burger.

L’oca d’Oro
A gift to weekend warriors, this Mueller Italian spot’s happy hour runs weekdays from 5-6:30 pm and weekends from 4-6:30 pm. Kick off an evening on the town with 50 percent off wine by the glass, beer on tap, and a variety of refreshing summer cocktails, and bites. Make a buffet out of snacks like grilled shishito peppers and okra, beet cashew dip, or zucchini fries served with a tangy buttermilk dill aiolo.
The early bird gets the worm at Loro, where the 2-5 pm weekday happy hour is the perfect excuse for taking an afternoon off from work. Select beer, sake, and wine by the glass are half priced, but the boozy slushies are the real winner in the middle of the summer. Drink one with a hefty burger topped with red onion-brisket and a blanket of Muenster cheese.

Though Wink has been around for 18 years and helped usher in a new wave of Capital City fine dining, the wine bar next door still feels like one of Austin’s best-kept secrets. The half-off appetizers, available from 5-7 pm Monday through Saturday, are all about indulgence — whether its mac ’n’ cheese spiked with black truffles or the Duck, Duxe, Duck burger with a rich mushroom duxelles and a sunny-side-up duck egg.