Best Happy Hour in the East Bay

Best Happy Hour in the East Bay

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While money can’t buy happiness, the poets say, money will buy more beer, cocktails and bites during a happy hour. Which might make you happy. The idea of happy hour is pretty basic, but the methods for bringing in more patrons by lowering prices during slow parts of the day can vary wildly, from 2-for-1 deals on PBRs to steep discounts on craft cocktails and bulgogi toasted cheese sandwiches. It’s also not a bad time to meet locals and regulars in the neighborhood, or to hang out with a group of friends at a time when offering to buy the next round is a little cheaper. With the wide range in styles, menus and affordability in mind (and only including bars, lounges and restaurants that publicly advertise a happy hour), here are our picks for best happy hours in the East Bay.

Feature Photo: Jordan Nix

Beta Lounge food
Photo: Courtesy of Beta Lounge

Beta Lounge

The self-described “Biggest Little Bar” in Berkeley is a mellow hangout with a fun vibe, light bites and specialty cocktails. The affordable menu features Mediterranean-style platters and street tacos, focaccia-based paninis and flatbreads, gyro wraps and burritos. Beta also is involved in an initiative geared toward feeding the neighborhood with “good food at low prices,” as well organizing efforts to feed the homeless during the shelter-in-place. Happy hour specials: $1 off draft beers, 5.5-ounce wines, well liquor and Beta cocktails; $2 off 9-ounce wines; $5 off wine bottles. Happy hour is 4pm to 11pm Monday, 4pm to 7pm Tuesday through Sunday. Hours are 3pm to 11pm Monday through Friday.

Photo: Courtesy of District Oakland

District Oakland

Upscale, modern wine and whiskey bar in Old Oakland serving gourmet small plates, sliders, and house-made charcuterie and hand-tossed pizzas. District is popular for its curated whiskey program (“60 premium whiskeys from Kentucky to Scotland to Japan,” and for creatively crafted cocktails. Happy Hour includes $7 well drinks (house spirits), $7 wines and draft beers, 2-for-1 oysters on the half shell, and $7 bar bites, including deviled eggs, ceviche, fries with truffle aioli, tempura avocado, fontina & spinach arancini and spiced chicken wings. Happy hour is 4pm to 6pm Monday through Friday, 5pm to 7 pm Saturday. Hours are 4pm to close Monday through Friday, 5pm to close Saturday, 11am to 3pm Sunday.

Photo: Courtesy of Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe

Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe

Hip, casual spot in Emeryville serving quirky twists on old-school diner dishes, from meatloaf and chili to omelettes and milkshakes (including one with Guinness Stout). The outdoor patio is a popular spot for brunch, evening drinks and Happy Hour, when the menu includes half-price draft beers, including Lagunitas IPA, Firestone 805 and Guinness Stout; and small bites from $4.25 to $7.25, including chips with pico or guacamole, street tacos, black bean mini nachos, and shrimp tacos. Happy hour specials are 4pm to 10pm Tuesday through Saturday. Hours are 8am to 10pm Tuesday through Saturday, 8am to 3pm Sunday and Monday.

Photo: Courtesy of Saucy Oakland

Saucy Oakland

Cozy restaurant where the dinner menu focuses on bites, appetizers and entrees made with Japanese and Thai ingredients, as well as a selection of premium sake and sake cocktails. Happy Hour specials: $7 wine, hot or cold sake, and Sapporo; small bites from $3 to $10 including shishito peppers, hamachi sashimi shooter, Yuzu salt fries with cheese sauce, Bulgogi grilled cheese sandwich, saucy wings, popcorn shrimp and a pork belly wrap. Happy hour is 4pm to 6pm Wednesday through Saturday. Hours are 4pm to 8pm Wednesday through Saturday.

Photo: Courtesy of Yoshi's Oakland

Yoshi's Oakland

Contemporary restaurant and lounge connected to the famous Jack London Square music venue serving sushi and Japanese cuisine. Great location for music lovers waiting for the show or anyone exploring the waterfront district. The happy hour menu (in the bar and lounge only) ranges from $4 draft beers and hot sake to $6 house-made sangria and white or red wine to $7 cocktails, as well as $3 noshes, $6 sushi rolls and $7 small plates, including crispy fried chicken and veggie tempura. Happy hour is 4:30pm to 6pm Monday through Friday. Lounge hours are 4:30pm to 9pm Monday through Thursday and Sunday, 4:30pm to 9:30pm Friday and Saturday.

Photo: Courtesy of Z Cafe and Bar

Z Cafe and Bar

Uptown Oakland restaurant with a French bistro vibe and a scratch-made American cuisine menu, offering locally sourced sandwiches, salads, burgers and entrees. Z Cafe is also known for having an wide array of craft cocktails and a selection of more than 100 vodkas. The Happy hour special: $1 off all liquors, cocktails, wines and beers. Happy hour is 3pm to 9pm, Tuesday through Friday. Hours are 11am to 9pm Tuesday through Friday, 5pm to 9pm Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday.

More Local Favorites in the East Bay

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