Since Boston banned boozy happy hours decades ago — that means no two-for-one specials or discounted drinks in the early afternoon — creative restaurateurs and barkeeps come up with other ways to entice after-work crowds, namely with food. Every day of the week, there’s at least one restaurant offering bargain oysters when cocktail hour hits. Many places go even further, providing half-price entrée deals or menus available for just a few hours. And while discounted Buffalo wings and mozzarella sticks are all well and good, we like to go a bit more upscale after a long day at the office. With that said, here are some of the tastiest happy hours in town.
There may just be one weekday that the Bristol Bar at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Boston offers a special deal, but it’s worth saving either lunch or dinner on Wednesday for “Burgers & Burgundy.” The Hump Day special lets you pick from three variations of the famous Bristol Burger — you’ll have to forgive us for being partial to the one topped with Vermont cheddar and applewood-smoked bacon — while also enjoying a pairing of two Burgundian-style wines. It makes for a great mid-week treat.
The ever-popular Stella in the South End is a local favorite and its happy hour appetizer menu is worth fighting for a seat at the bar (it’s not available at tables). Served Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m., the culinary roster incorporates some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes in creative ways, like nachos topped with Stella’s signature Bolognese sauce. Other items include crispy fried artichoke hearts, Parmesan arancini, beef carpaccio and grilled Italian sausage.
Anyone who regularly goes out for sushi knows it’s easy to get carried away ordering, but when you head to Haru in the Back Bay on weekdays, there’s no need to keep yourself in check. On Monday through Friday (3 to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close), a special happy hour menu at both the bar and the sushi bar delivers some of the best deals around. The surprisingly large menu includes tuna, California and salmon rolls, pork buns, short ribs and a whole host of other items like chicken satay skewers and edamame — more than enough to make a tasty meal.
At Palm Boston, the Prime Bites bar menu is half-price every Sunday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. Delicious options include cornmeal fried oysters; calamari fritti; and a classic cheeseburger with shoestring potatoes. And though all-new items such as ahi tuna sashimi and grilled short rib sandwiches aren’t marked down, they make the perfect complement for any after-hours appetizing.