6 Happy Hour Ideas That Will Add Cheers to Your Weekdays

 In Food, Guide

You are supposed to leave a happy hour feeling, well, happier than when you arrived. That doesn’t mean just the relief that comes from an after-work cocktail or tasty appetizer; you can order those anytime. The key to a good happy hour is making customers feel like they got something special because they came to the restaurant at a certain time.

But sometimes, when the bill arrives, you just feel like you got screwed. “Oh, sorry, the half-off deal was for the wings with the buffalo sauce—not the teriyaki,” a server at a restaurant told me once.

To ensure that doesn’t happen to you, we picked our six favorite happy hour ideas in St. Louis.

1. Taste testing at The U.R.B.
You know what’s better than cheap, tasty booze? Free, tasty booze. In The Grove neighborhood, next to that giant Urban Chestnut Brewing Company hall that looks like it was imported from Bavaria, is a slightly smaller, more academic space: The Urban Research Brewery. The craft brewery operates a consumer research bar and has tasting survey hours beginning at 4 p.m. from Wednesday through Friday, at 11 a.m. Saturday and at noon on Sunday. On their website, they recently asked people to be so kind as to “help us evaluate three different ciders by analyzing their residual sweetness, acid profile, aroma and flavor!” We hope you’ll make time for that.

6 Happy Hour Ideas That Will Add Cheers to Your Weekdays

Image of The U.R.B. courtesy of Attilio D’Agostino.

2. Spirits sampling at Still 360
For people who are more into liquor than cider or beer, there is the Experimental Spirits Program on the first Friday of each month at the Still 360 Distillery on the southern edge of Downtown. Like the brewers at Urban Chestnut, these hooch purveyors need your feedback to perfect their recipes for brandies, gins, rums, tequilas and whiskeys, among other liquors. There’s a different one each month. Plus, you can stock up for your own festivities with a 200-millileter bottle of 100-proof alcohol for $20.

3. Drinking with furry friends at Pieces
Have a ruff Tuesday? On the last Tuesday of each month, head to Paws at Pieces, a happy hour sponsored by the Young Friends of the Animal Protective Association of Missouri at the board game bar and café in Soulard. The nonprofit brings puppies and kitties that are available for adoption and offers complementary appetizers from 5 to 6 p.m.

4. Playing ping pong at Lulu’s
If you’re tired of just bouncing around among ordinary bars, pick up a paddle at the ping pong bar above Lulu’s Local Eatery on South Grand. It’s just like being at your favorite friend’s house — except this place offers a full bar with vibrant cocktails of the custom and signature varieties.  You can rent the space featuring two ping pong tables for $25 per hour for parties of under 20 people; bigger than that, it’s free.

5. Getting buzzed on life at Sans Bar events
Having a happy hour doesn’t require a buzz from alcohol, by the way. Look out for pop-up events hosted by Sans Bar that feature a zero-proof cocktail menu. The one in November had drinks like a Caffenino Martino, tarot card readings and a D.J. spinning bumping tunes that made you wonder why you always felt you needed an alcoholic lubricant to loosen the joints enough to dance.

6. Calling it a late lunch
You also don’t need to put in a full day of work to treat yourself to some libations. The next time you leave the office early because your aunt’s ’97 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme broke down again, stop in at Gamlin Whiskey House, 1764 Public House, Sub Zero, Vin de Set or Billy G’s—all of which start their happy hours at 2 p.m. If we could pick one item at each, they would be half-priced tempura at Sub Zero; half-priced nachos at 1764; a half-priced Provencal shrimp crepe at Vin de Set; $5 sangria at Billy G’s; or a $5 shot of Wild Turkey 101 at Gamlin.

After trying out these ideas, we think you’ll feel energetic enough to record your own Pharrell “Happy” dance video.

Featured image courtesy of Drew Beamer.

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