Pennsylvania doesn't make it easy to drink on the cheap. Most establishments buy liquor and wine at retail price with little-to-no wholesale discount to speak of, and those hefty mark-ups can be a hard pill to swallow. Enter happy hour, the glorious time of day when food and drinks are both discounted. At these 14 bars and restaurants, cheap doesn't mean chintzy. With extended and some late night hours and generous specials on small plates, cocktails, beer, and wine, these hot spots are sure to keep everyone happy through the night.Read More
14 Essential Happy Hours in Philadelphia
Where to head after work for discounted cocktails and snacks
Walnut Street Cafe
In University City, Walnut Street Cafe‘s happy hour features a $5 Citywide special of the day, with combos like Yards Pale Ale and local Kinsey Rye or prosecco and Aperol. Offered Wednesday to Saturday from 4-7 p.m., this happy hour also includes a selection of $6 drinks and snacks.
With steaks averaging around $50 and that $120 cheesesteak, dinner at Barclay Prime isn’t for the penny pinchers. But Monday through Friday from 4:30-6:30 p.m., the luxe life seems attainable. The lounge shakes cosmos and margaritas for $7. Beer and wine are just $6. Small bites — Wagyu meatballs, tater tots, sliders, and gnocchi — are also available at the bar.
Oyster House’s happy hour might be the city’s hottest post-work party. Monday to Friday from 5-7 p.m. and Saturday nights from 9-11 p.m., the mix-and-minglers show up for $5 seasonal punch, $3 drafts, $1 raw oysters, and $3 oyster shooters.
Drop in at East Passyunk Avenue’s elegant Fond Monday to Friday and Sunday from 5:30-7 p.m. for $5 beers, $6 cocktails, and $7 wine. A selection of menu items, including chicken liver mousse, pork rillettes, and grilled duck hearts, can be had for $7. Oysters go for $1.50 each and the French dip cheesesteak is always an option at the bar, along with a few other small plates.
Fill up on Greek snacks at Opa’s 4-7 p.m. happy hour each weeknight where fries and Rolling Rock bottles go for $2. For $3-$6, get meatballs, skewers, craft beer cans, calamari, house wine, a cocktail of the week, bourbon, ouzo, and more. This deal is also available in Drury Beer Garden out back, which is heated in cold months.
From 4-7 p.m. every day of the week, Sampan’s always-hoppin’ bar discounts 18 small plates, including satay, dumplings, buns, wraps, and sides, all offered at $4 to $5 each. House wine, a featured beer, and a specialty cocktail go down quickly at just $5. In warmer weather, arrive early to get a spot at Graffiti Bar, the outdoor bar tucked away behind Sampan with many of the same menu items.
Bud & Marilyn's
During the 5-7 p.m. weekday happy hour at retro Midwestern restaurant Bud & Marilyn’s, get $4 to $7 beer, wine, and cocktails, plus $4 to $6 snacks, including crispy cheese curds with garlic ranch, pimento cheese on sourdough, and a hot fried chicken slider.
South Street’s Brauhaus Schmitz is all about the German beer. Weekdays from 5-7 p.m., all 34 of its drafts go for just $5 each. The sausage sandwich is $5 too. The deals are available at the bar and high-top tables only.
Easily one of the best bar options on South Street, the eclectic Tattooed Mom pours half-priced drafts every night from 5-7 p.m. and again from 10-11 p.m. Daily food specials include half-priced meatless items on Mondays (like vegan cheesesteaks and jalapeño cheese fries), $1 tacos on Tuesdays, $4 burgers on Wednesdays, and $.50 cent pierogies on Thursdays.
South Kitchen & Jazz Parlor
South, the restaurant and jazz lounge on North Broad, offers a generous happy hour Tuesday through Friday from 4-7 p.m. with drinks and bites for $4 to $7. Choose from more than a dozen cocktails, wines, and beers. Among the food items included are Louisiana-style crawfish fritters. shrimp po’ boys, deviled eggs, chicken-fried oysters, and hushpuppies.
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In a city full of Italian food, Osteria is consistently one of the greats and its generous happy hour — 5-7 p.m. and Sunday 4-7 p.m. — is a perfect time to experience the North Broad restaurant’s handmade pasta for $7 a plate or $6 Neapolitan and Roman pizzas.
Fishtown’s hip izakaya from the Cheu crew has a happy hour that goes seven days a week — 5-7 p.m. on weekdays and 3-5 p.m. on weekends. Take $1 off drafts and whiskey highballs or try a $7 Citywide featuring the Japanese spirit shochu. On the food side, go for $3 skewers, $5 albacore tataki, and $5 fries.
Hit up Fette Sau from 5-7 p.m. weekdays, or noon to 2 p.m. on weekends, for a hearty meal that will satisfy meaty cravings for less than $15. On the menu: smoked deviled eggs for $3, two chicken drumsticks with spicy slaw for $4, and a burnt end sandwich for $5. To drink: half-price drafts and $5 Manhattans and old fashioneds.
Sure, the Lenape were referring to the Schuylkill River as a source of water when they called the Manayunk neighborhood “where we go to drink,” but you can use it as an excuse to get $5.50 margaritas at Taqueria Feliz weekdays from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Also on offer: $3 draft beers, $4 house wine and sangria, $6 nachos, and two tacos for $5 (cauliflower for the vegetarians and grasshoppers for the intrepid).