Best Happy Hour in the South Bay

Best Happy Hour in the South Bay

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Clean Plate Club

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When happy hour arrives in the South Bay, Silicon Valley professionals, sports fans, moms’ night out groups and couples all vie for a spot at the bar at the region’s many libation-driven locales that range from chic and clubby to casual and pubby. Popular destinations include a new upscale hotspot with sharable plates and bespoke cocktails in Palo Alto; a lively modern Mexican restaurant in Santa Clara for margaritas and nachos; a classic Irish pub in San Jose; and a brewery in Half Moon Bay with a view of the Pacific. Wherever you choose to imbibe, a good time is guaranteed at our picks for the best happy hour in the South Bay. 

Feature Photo: Helena Yankovska

A charcuterie board perfect for Happy Hour in South Bay, filled with an assortment of sliced meats, cheeses, grilled bread, nuts, fruit, and pickles. The arrangement includes cured meat, cheddar and Swiss-style cheeses, olives, and a small bunch of grapes, garnished with fresh herbs.
Photo: Courtesy of Calave


299 California Avenue, No. 115, Palo Alto

Inviting, casual wine bar offering a wide selection of reds, including from California, France, Italy and Argentina, as well as a lengthy menu of Mexican tequilas, Kentucky bourbons and single malts from Scotland. Along with traditional cocktails, craft beer, signature cocktails and a variety of wine flights, Calave also offers a long menu of gourmet bar bites, flatbreads and cheese flights.

A tall cocktail glass filled with an orange-colored drink, garnished with an orange slice and a cherry, sits on a wooden table. The background features a blue cushioned seat and a yellow chair, inviting you to enjoy Happy Hour in the South Bay.
Photo: Courtesy of Sekoya Lounge + Kitchen

Sekoya Lounge + Kitchen

New Palo Alto hotspot Sekoya Lounge + Kitchen, helmed by the restaurateur behind San Mateo’s of Pausa Bar & Cookery, Steve Ugur, is making waves with its California-inspired shareable plates, seasonal cocktail program, curated wine list and upscale lounge-inspired atmosphere. Amber hour, offered Monday through Saturday, is an excellent time to visit, when the restaurant offers a special paired-down menu at discounted prices featuring a selection of cocktails like the strawberry gin and tonic; wine and beer; and small plates, including hibachi grilled skewers, oysters embellished with Fresno chile-sangria mignonette, smoked trout roe and citrus pearls; and caviar service.

A wooden table holds margaritas, tortilla chips, salsa, and tacos with vibrant toppings. Three orange cards reading "tacolicious" are placed among the food items, adding a playful touch to the festive Happy Hour spread in the South Bay area.
Photo: Courtesy of Tacolicious


632 Emerson Street, Palo Alto

Sister to the hip Mission District restaurant that serves traditional — and not so traditional — street tacos, small bites and sides, along with a cocktail menu that ranges from margaritas to micheladas. The Happy hour specials: $9 house margarita, red sangria, and wine (red, white, rosé or bubbles), and Tecate and Negra Modelo for $4 and $6, respectively. And at $9 each, made-to-order guacamole, “MF Chicken” tacos, dip sampler with guacamole, chile con queso, refried beans. A popular option is the “T-lish Prix-Fixe,” which is a tequila, a Tecate and a taco for $13.

In and Around the Peninsula

A row of four colorful frozen cocktails is lined up on a bar counter, inviting you to Happy Hour in the South Bay. Each drink is garnished with a slice of orange, a cherry, and a small decorative umbrella. The drinks are served in clear Tiki-style glasses with straws, against a backdrop of displayed bottles.
Photo: Courtesy of Blue Water Seafood and Crab​

Blue Water Seafood and Crab

Casual and whimsical “East Coast-style crab house” that specializes in crab, oysters, fish and chips, and other seafood greatest hits, as well as a full menu of pub grub and brunch staples. Happy Hour specials include $2 off on draft and bottled beer, $6 house wines and $8 especially drinks, and snacks run $3.50 to $9, including tempura mushrooms, veggie spring rolls, catfish bites and barbecue pork buns.

A pink beverage in a mason jar with a chili rim, garnished with skewered strawberries and a yellow straw, sits on a wooden table. Background includes a stair railing, greenery, and a colorful sign with a QR code labeled "REC ROOM." Perfect for enjoying Happy Hour in the South Bay.
Photo: Courtesy of Rec Room

Rec Room

Lively lounge in the downtown arts, culture and entertainment district with a small-but-creative menu of specialty craft cocktails, draft beers, and gourmet burgers, bites and brunch dishes. Happy Hour specials include $5 single-mix well cocktails, half off on wine by the bottle, $2 off beer taps and small bites.

A group of colorful cocktails garnished with fresh herbs, citrus slices, and berries. The drinks are vibrantly colored, featuring shades of red and orange. Perfect for Happy Hour in the South Bay, they're served in a variety of glassware like mason jars, a margarita glass, and a short tumbler.
Photo: Courtesy of Rosie McCann's Irish Pub​

Rosie McCann's Irish Pub

Archetypal Irish pub and restaurant with all the decor, fun vibe, whiskey, pints and pub food that usually goes with that. Happy Hour drinks include $5 draft beer pints, $6 well cocktails, $7 house wine and $8 signature cocktails. The pub grub dishes during Happy Hour are $10 and include crab cakes, bacon-wrapped prawns, buffalo wings, tacos and “Irish Nachos.”

In and Around The Coast

A clear pint glass filled with golden beer, topped with a foamy head, is placed on a table outdoors during Happy Hour. The glass has the "Half Moon Bay Brewing Company" logo etched on it. A blurred shoreline and a large, dome-shaped structure in South Bay are visible in the background.
Photo: Courtesy of @hmbbrewingco

Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.

With a rotating selection of house-brewed beer that includes IPAs and blonde, amber and brown ales, to name a few, along with a large patio overlooking the ocean, Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. by the Pillar Point Harbor is always a popular stop on the coast. Come for happy hour Monday through Thursday and you’ll be treated to a friendly, welcoming vibe, along with discounts on draft beer, cocktails, artichoke hearts, nachos, buffalo wings and Yucatan ceviche. 

During Happy Hour in South Bay, a person holds a glass at an angle under a beer tap, filling it with a frothy, light amber beverage. The beer taps are aligned on a metallic surface, each with a small sign above it indicating different labels. The person wears a smartwatch.
Photo: Courtesy of @humblesea

Humble Sea Brewing Co.

Located near Linda Mar Beach, the Pacifica outpost of this Santa Cruz-based coastal taproom and beer garden features 20 beer taps, including a rotating selection of West Coast and “foggy” IPAs and pale ales, plus a full kitchen cooking up brew-friendly favorites like tater tots tossed in a house-made spice blend, fish and chips, and a Niman Ranch burger. Select draft beers are $2 off during happy hour Tuesday through Thursday and all day every Monday.

More Local Favorites in the South Bay

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