Happy Hour: The only way I ever want to drink again

May 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Before we began this blog, I was never one to suggest happy hour. The idea of going never really crossed my mind, because I associated drinking with being more of a nighttime activity than an afternoon or early evening activity.

As this project progressed, I came to appreciate happy hour more. One of the major benefits, first of all, is the cost. One of the things I really hate now about going downtown is how easy it is to spend money on drinks that are often poorly made and end up tasting like rubbing alcohol. Although I probably need to take a short break from happy hours, simply because I went to so many over this period of time, I realize now how much more cost efficient it is.

The taste of the drinks was also another major factor in making me realize how much I appreciate happy hour now. Nearly every restaurant that I went to had well-made drinks that I actually enjoyed consuming, rather than tasting like the aforementioned drinks from downtown.

Especially in the last couple of months, I have had less and less interest in going downtown on the weekends because of the crowds, many of whom are clearly underage and often don’t know how to hold their alcohol very well. Happy hour offers the perfect solution for me now and I’m glad that this project sort of forced me to realize how much better of an alternative it is, especially as I get closer to graduating and no longer being a college student.

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Polvo’s Mexican Restaurant: Even more margaritas

May 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Monday – Friday: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Polvo’s Mexican restaurant, located on South Lamar, is another great place to go for margaritas or beer at happy hour. The margaritas, which are only $4.50 at that time, are well made and strong without the taste of alcohol becoming overpowering. Unfortunately, though, they do not offer many flavors of margarita other than the standard lime. Domestic beers are offered for $2.75 and imported beers for $3.

With summer fast approaching, Polvo’s is a fantastic place to go. Customers have the option of eating indoors or outdoors, but the restaurant has set up the outdoor seating with fans so, despite the fact that temperatures are already in the 90s, sitting outdoors is still pleasant. The outdoor area is also covered, so customers are shaded. The restaurant is also accommodating to large parties of people.

Polvo’s is clearly a popular restaurant, as it is always pretty crowded. It is a refreshing change from the restaurants on campus simply because the crowd is more diverse than only college students.

Though the parking lot is small, because the restaurant is located in a somewhat residential area, street parking is available nearby. Overall, I really liked Polvo’s and I am pretty confident that I would return there in the future for happy hour.

Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill: Old times, Good times

May 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Monday – Friday: 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Popcorn instead of chips

I think that one of the reasons I enjoyed going to Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill as much as I did was because of the unique atmosphere it has. The restaurant feels extremely old timey and the idea of southern comfort comes to mind when dining and drinking here. Rather than placing bread or chips on the table, Moonshine gives its patrons buckets of popcorn and serves water in mason jars.

Initially, I worried that Moonshine would also be somewhat pricey. Their happy hour specials were quite reasonable, however, with deals on both drinks on appetizers.

The Ruby Slipper, Hard Lemonade and Silvermoon Margarita

The majority of the drinks are specialty drinks, or popular drinks with Moonshine’s own personal touch added to them. I was able to sample several and found them all to be quite tasty, such as the Ruby Slipper and their version of Hard Lemonade. Their specialty drinks are only $4 each, and they also offer Lone Star beer for $2 during happy hour.

Moonshine offers all of their appetizers for half price during happy hour. Though neither of my friends and I were particularly hungry when we went, we would have liked to try some of their appetizers, since they all looked extremely interesting and different from the appetizers we had seen offered at any other restaurant.

Because Moonshine was such a different experience, I think I would definitely recommend this restaurant to others and I plan to return here in the future.

Baby Acapulco

May 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Monday – Friday: 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Though their happy hour specials were similar to those of Z Tejas, I found that I enjoyed my experience at Baby Acapulco more. Something about the dim lighting and the sports games playing on TVs around the restaurant made the setting considerably more comfortable than it had been at Z Tejas. I also appreciated that their happy hour lasts for as long as it does.

Baby A's Frozen Strawberry Margarita

During happy hour, Baby A’s margaritas are $1 off and wells are only $3, in addition to daily drink specials. A handful of their appetizers are also offered at half price during this time.

When I went, I had a margarita and, though I often do not like margaritas very much, I thoroughly enjoyed mine. Also, Dos Equis are offered for $2 on Mondays. As one of my favorite beers, I can confidently say that I will probably return just for this deal.

Extremely filling sliders

I also was able to try their sliders, which was the first time I had ever had a slider before. They were extremely tasty and also extremely filling, especially considering that I split them with a friend.

Though I had to drive in order to get there, parking is not too much of a problem because they have a parking lot. Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at Baby Acapulco’s, and I plan to return (especially on Mondays to get my beer).

Z Tejas: Good Grub, Slow Service

April 25, 2011 § 2 Comments

Monday – Friday: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

When I think about Z Tejas, I usually think of a relatively upscale restaurant with prices to match. Unfortunately, I was right about this and even more unfortunately, their prices for happy hour are not extremely different from their normal drink prices.

The happy hour specials only include $1 off margaritas, mixed drinks and house wines, and only 50 cents off all beers. This was also a bit of a disappointment in light of the fact that the service was incredibly slow. Most of these drinks range in price from $6.50 – $8.50, so the 50 cent to $1 discount is not particularly impressive.

A variety of drinks from Z Tejas

Despite the meager change in pricing, the drinks still tasted great and Z Tejas has a pretty expansive drink selection. They have a large variety of margaritas and mojitos in addition to many other kinds of drinks, like cosmopolitans and martinis. I tried the Sparkling Saint, which was a beverage I had never tried before, so I was a little hesitant about it. It turned out to be quite well made, though, and I ended up enjoying it.

To make up slightly for the unfortunate pricing, Z Tejas has a variety of appetizers ranging in price

Grilled Shrimp and Guacamole Tostada Bites

from $4 – $6 during happy hour.  We ordered the grilled shrimp and guacamole tostada bites, which were extremely tasty and sufficiently filling as appetizers for four people. If anything, I think I would return for the cheaper appetizers rather than for the drinks.

Although Z Tejas is located on 6th street, it is on a less crowded section and parking can be found in the neighborhood nearby. The atmosphere, like many other restaurants, is relaxed and comfortable as a result of the location. If the drink prices were better, I would be more likely to return.

Piranha: Not-So-Killer Sushi

April 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

Sunday – Thursday: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Friday – Saturday: 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Reverse Happy Hour – Friday – Saturday: 11:00 p.m. – Close

Sunday: 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Piranha's Wasabi Crusted Salmon Roll

Of all of the restaurants I have reviewed so far for happy hours, Piranha Killer Sushi was easily one of the most upscale. Though the cartoonish logo on the outside of the restaurant can be slightly misleading, the inside décor is quite nice and it is immediately clear why this is one of the pricier places to dine in Austin.

That said, I was the most disappointed with this restaurant’s happy hour. When I went, my friend and I both ordered sake bombs. Both of us have also become spoiled by the large servings that we receive at Kona Grill, where one sake bomb order comes with a sizeable bottle of beer and an entire bottle of sake for $5 during happy hour. It was quite a letdown when the waiter emerged with two glasses half-filled with beer and one serving of sake for $3. The menu does offer decently priced wines and beers, but their martinis are still a little pricey.

Piranha's Forget About It Roll

Piranha also boasts a signature sushi menu with over 20 choices of their own rolls, in addition to the standard rolls found in other restaurants. However, during happy hour, they only offer 3 of these signature rolls and they are only $1 – $2 cheaper than they are at normal hours. The happy hour menu also has several appetizer choices, though they range from $4 – $7 and are also not much of a bargain compared to their regular prices. The reverse happy hour menu has a few more options, but I was still mostly unimpressed with the selection.

Though the decoration on the inside is nice, it also lends itself to a slightly stiffer atmosphere. Piranha is also located downtown, causing parking to become a problem. The service is decent, but the combination of other issues was a little too much for me.

Overall, I did not particularly enjoy my experience there, especially as compared to other restaurants, and I do not think I’ll be returning to Piranha.

Hidden Upstairs Happy Hour: Austin’s Pizza

April 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

Monday – Friday: 3:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M.

$1 Lone Stars

In the past, I have only gone to Austin’s Pizza for their food and for their Pesto A Go-Goat (anyone who hasn’t tried pizza with pesto, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese needs to do so immediately). Pretty much any time I’ve gone, I’ve been completely unaware of the bar that resides on the second floor. Having been there for happy hour, however, I plan to go there again for their great deals on drinks.

Great daily specials at Austin

Austin’s Pizza features 75 cents off all drafts, $2.50 wells and $1 Lone Stars and Ziegenbocks, in addition to their daily specials. The service was great, and the bartender on duty when I went was extremely nice.

The bar area never became overly crowded, though there was a considerable number of people there taking advantage of their happy hour specials. This lent to yet another relaxed and casual feeling the entire time I was there.

Located on the Drag, Austin’s Pizza is the perfect place for students who want to relax after class or, in my case, gear up for a lengthy evening class that goes until 8 p.m. If you are coming from anywhere aside from campus or West or North Campus, however, Austin’s Pizza location presents a parking problem.

Aside from being an inconvenient location for anyone coming from outside of campus, Austin’s Pizza is a great place for happy hour. The atmosphere is extremely college student friendly, and it has some of the best prices on beers of any of the happy hours I’ve attended so far.