Serrano’s free nacho bar, $2.50 margs = the happiest hour of all

May 8, 2011 § 3 Comments

Monday-Friday 3:00-6:30 pm
$2.50 margs, $1.50 appetizers

Serrano's cheap $2.50 strawberry marg is quite a treat. | Photo by Thu Pham

Serrano’s website dubs the Tex-Mex restaurant chain as “Austin’s best happy hour!” Well, I went last Friday to celebrate the last day of classes, and as it turns out, its happy hour IS pretty darn awesome. It was indeed the happiest hour of this semester.

Let’s start out with the drinks. Hands down, the best deal is the $2.50 margs. They’re decently sized and come in tons of flavors. I had the strawberry, mango, and amaretto frozen margs. The amaretto was my favorite, but to be honest, even the waiter couldn’t tell which one was which and it took us both a while to figure it out also. I will admit that they weren’t the tastiest margaritas I’ve ever had—they were actually really watery—but for that price, they sufficed.

My favorite part about Serrano’s happy hour is actually the food. They had a free nacho bar, which was awesome. The only thing better than their $1.50 appetizers is a free appetizer. My friend Ricky and I filled up on sautéed beef, cheese, and salsa…multiple times. If free nacho bars don’t impress you much, their happy hour appetizers include several tasty items, such as jalapenos rellenes, beef burritos, and chicken flaquitas. If you order a drink, they’re only $1.50.

Lastly, let’s go over the atmosphere. Serrano’s is very chill, relaxed, and has a huge outdoor patio. It was too hot for me to handle, so I sat inside. The only problem I had was parking, but there are plenty of metered parking spots around. In conclusion, two thumbs way the heck up.

Serrano offers a huge outdoor seating area. | Photo by Thu Pham


Freddie’s Place $2 drinks are almost too good to be true

April 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Weekdays 4-7pm, all day Monday
Half price appetizers
$2.00 Well Drinks
$2.00 Frozen Margaritas
$2.00 Frozen Jack & Lemonade
$2.00 Tall Boys (Lone Star, Hi-Life & PBR)

The backyard area of Freddie's Place was buzzing with activity during happy hour. | Photo by Thu Pham

The frozen Jack & lemonade was disappointing, but nonetheless cheap. | Photo by Thu Pham

I don’t know if I’m speaking too soon by saying that Freddie’s Place might just be my new favorite happy hour joint. Located on south 1st St between Monroe St. and Annie St., Freddie’s is a super casual American comfort food restaurant with good, simple food and drinks, a huge backyard and tons of fun events.

I went here with my roommates on Friday for happy hour and was overwhelmed at how packed it was—the place was buzzing with activity, live music and tons of pets roaming around in the backyard. The frozen lime margarita was a good size—not tiny, not exactly a red solo cup either. The Jack & lemonade was good, but there seemed to be more ice than drink. We slurped everything we could and there was a chunk of ice at the bottom. It also tasted overwhelming like Splenda, so I wasn’t too big of a fan.

The "three amigos" was a mere $4.50. | Photo by Thu Pham

The biggest win for Freddie’s, hands down, is their half off appetizers. The well-sized portions of chicken tenders, wings, and chips and dip were incredibly affordable—all the appetizers were under $5. I would highly recommend Freddie’s if you just want to chill outside (or inside) with cheap drinks and even cheaper food.

The 16 piece buffalo wings were extremely saucy and under $7. | Photo by Thu Pham

$4 drinks, free quesadillas at Tacos and Tequila

April 18, 2011 § 1 Comment

Monday – Friday 4-7pm; Sunday 3-close
$4 House margs, mojitos, well drinks, martinis, house wine
$2.75 draft beer
Free quesadilla bar 4-6pm

TNTs bar boasts 100+ types of tequila. | Photo by Thu Pham

The $4 House Margarita is huge. | Photo by Thu Pham

Tacos and Tequila, or TNT for short, is one of my favorite happy hour hotspots. Conveniently located on west 5th St. and Pressler St., this new joint serves a bajillion kinds of tacos and over 100 kinds of tequila. For you margarita lovers, this is the place for you. While I will admit TNT’s regular menu is a bit pricey for my taste, its happy hour offerings are quite a steal.

You might think that $4 for a house marg is pricey, but trust me when I say that you might only need one to get the job done. Not only is the margarita gigantic, it’s also pretty strong. My friend Jacob and I ordered mojitos first, and after we got the marg, we both agreed that we should’ve ordered the margarita only. The mojitos, by the way, are pretty tasty—but again, I might be a little bias because mojitos are my drink of choice so I’m not very critical of them.

TNTs picturesque and delicious $4 mojitos. | Photo by Thu Pham

Another awesome thing about TNT is that you literally don’t even have to pay for any food to get full. Their complimentary chip-and-dip actually consists of 3 different kinds of chips and 3 different kinds of dips.  The sweet potato chips are on the greasy side, but they are fresh and oh-my-goodness delicious. However, their free quesadilla bar is the icing on the complimentary-food cake.  There’s always a mix—usually chicken and something else. They have veggie quesadillas also. You just go up and grab ’em.

If you want a bit more to snack on, I would highly recommend the guacamole, which is made in front of you. Literally, the waiter pulls up a cart with various toppings and scoops the avocado out and everything. It tastes like heaven—but be warned, it’s also about $8. For you fellow frugal drinkers, I’d stick with the drinks and free food.

One last plus: free parking garage. That should put a smile on everyone’s face.

The free unlimited quesadillas are great with TNTs margaritas. | Photo by Thu Pham

The complimentary chips and dips are incredibly fresh and tasty. | Photo by Thu Pham

Maria Maria’s $3.50 margs are a steal on Thursdays

April 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Monday – Friday 4-6pm and all day on Wednesday
Margaritas $5
Coronas $2
Draught Beer $3
House Wine $5
Bar appetizers $5- $8

House Margarita $3.50
Maria Maria Margarita $4.50

The open space in Maria Maria is great for live music. | Photo by TPham

Maria Maria, located on Fourth and Colorado, is a great place to go if you’re in the mood for live music and tasty margaritas. I went on Thursday with my girlfriends and I was pleasantly surprised at how spacious the bar was. Being a chain restaurant owned by musician Santana, I wasn’t expecting it to feel so classy. We got a round of margaritas for $4 and a small cup of sangria.

The margaritas were very, very good and cheap since it was Thursday and they were $3.50. We decided to experiment around and asked the bartender to crush fresh strawberries into the house margarita. Let me tell you, it was incredible! The strawberries added another dollar to the base price, but I think it’s worth it. I thought the sangria was mediocre and a bit watered down.

I enjoyed the open space and the live music. I would definitely recommend coming here on Thursday for the cheap margs, but I don’t see it being worth the trip on the other days.

House Margaritas with fresh strawberries for $4.50. | Photo by TPham

99 Cent Margaritas

April 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

El Arroyo

Entrance of El Arroyo

1624 West 5th Street, Austin – (512) 474-1222

El Arroyo is one of my favorite places to go for Happy Hour. There is always such an awesome crowd at this place, especially on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The crowd usually consists of people at every age range, usually at least 21 and up. El Arroyo is a hot spot on Thursday’s for people who are planning on going downtown later in the night. It is usually the first stop of the night for people to have dinner and drinks before they go out on the town.

The most appealing thing about this restaurant is how amazingly priced everything is. In addition to great prices, the crowd is always pretty enthusiastic. El Arroyo is definitely a fun place to go have drinks and watch a sporting event with your friends. In the inside dining room, there are four big flat screen televisions above the bar. As well as an indoor dining room, there are two outdoor patios, so you can choose whether you would rather be seated inside or outside.

The Happy Hour schedule and specials are as follows:

Mondays 2 pm to 7 pm: $2.75 House Frozen and Margaritas on the Rocks, $1 Tecates from 5 pm to closing, Two for one burger special from 5 pm to closing

Tuesdays from 2 pm to 7 pm: $2.75 House Frozen and Margaritas on the Rocks

Frozen Margarita at El Arroyo

Wednesday’s from 2 pm until 7 pm: $2.75 House Frozen and Margaritas on the Rocks

Thursday: $.99 House Margaritas from 2 pm to 6 pm, $1.99 House Margaritas from 6 pm to 7 pm

Friday from 2 pm to 6 pm: $2.75 House Frozen and Margaritas on the Rocks

Saturday & Sunday: $2.50 Blood Mary’s, Mimosas, Poinsettias, Screwdrivers All Day.

I think the most appealing thing about this Happy Hour menu is the $.99 House Margaritas on Thursdays. I would say the best day of the week for El Arroyo is definitely on Thursdays. If you are looking for a place to start your night off before you head downtown, El Arroyo is the place for you. I give this place a definite thumbs-up.

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