4746 El Cajon Boulevard, City Heights
Til Two Club
Happy hour: 4–7pm, daily
Tower Bar owner Mick Rossler picked up this location (formerly the Beauty Bar) in 2010, restoring it as close as possible to the likeness of the original Til-Two Club circa 1948. Now it’s a friendly neighborhood hangout that comes alive many nights with Kim Gordon comedy, Beats Kitchen, and live rock and punk shows. Take advantage of the mellower evening, when you can chat with barmates over $3 well and pints including Guinness, Lagunitas IPA, Stone Pale Ale, and Green Flash IPA (4–7 daily). Cringing at inflated prices, un-happy drafts go for $4 and specialty cocktails start at $3.50.
2820 Lytton Street, Liberty Station
Happy hour: Daily specials
Someone needs to give this do-ask-do-tell tropical hooch hut an award. A fierce contender for Happiest Hour Ever, the Hole completely redefines drink specials. Like, say, $2 wells, and $5 32-ounce well pitchers. Better yet are the anytime specials: mini pitchers of Long Island Iced Tea for $12, Yellowtail for $7, Coors and a Jäger shot for $7, and $2 well shots with beer purchase.
1271 University Avenue, Hillcrest
(No longer in business.)
The Ruby Room
Happy hour: 5–8pm, Monday–Thursday; 5–9pm, Friday–Sunday
Not just a kick-ass neighborhood venue that books booming electronic nights, local diamonds-in-the-rough, burlesque shows, and just about everything in between, The Ruby Room is also a firm believer in imaginative drink specials. Their Rock N Roll happy hour runs Monday through Thursday (5–8 p.m.) with live ’60s, surf, and garage bands to accompany $3 wells, $5 calls, and 14 taps of local and select beers for $1 off.
1851 Bacon Street, Ocean Beach
Raglan Public House
Happy hour: 3–6pm, Monday–Friday; 10am–3pm, Saturday–Sunday
Combining organic burgers with artisan barley pops and New Zealand-inspired affability, Raglan recently celebrated a year in San Diego’s grooviest beach town. The bar boasts 24 taps and a beer engine for casks with drafts running from $3 to $7. Select suds are half-off during happy hour (Monday–Friday, 3–6; weekends, 10–3) along with munchies, house wines (many of which have Kiwi origins), and sangria. Monday: $6 flights and $10 munchie feasts, 6 to close. “Taco-less” Tuesday: $2.50 sliders and $12.50 pitchers, 6 to close. “Thurstober”: $5 steins and $5 pretzels, 6 to close. Sunday: half off everything, 8 to close.
Avenida Revolución 741 (between Calle 3ra and 4ta), Baja
Happy hour: All day, every day
Along the chalkboard walls of this Zona Centro pizzeria you’ll find sketches from urban artist Glow among handwritten poems and an Imperial stormtrooper pointing the way to the baños. Though many can’t imagine paying more than a buck a beer in Tijuana, the truth is that this is one of the only places in town where the fabled dollar draft can be found, and all day long. Featured tequila shots run around $3 and go surprisingly well with Le Galleria’s thin crust pizzas. Ask about their Wednesday classes, where you can toss, top, and cook your own New York–style pie.
5373 Mission Center Road, Mission Valley
Happy hour: Daily specials and dance lessons
This well-worn country dance house in Mission Valley offers some boot-stomping drink specials. Free dance lessons kick off daily (closed Mondays) at 6:30 with classics such as the Slappin’ Leather Waltz, the Barn Dance, and the Redneck Angel. Tuesday: karaoke and $3 drinks all night. Wednesday: 15-year strong KSON night (crowded) with $2.50 drinks. Thursday: Steak, baked potato, and a beer for $5.95. Happy drinks 5 ’til 9. Friday: $3.50 Dos Equis and $5 Fireballs all night. And the biggie, Sunday: $2 all drinks, all night. Mind the dress code, city slicker.
More from the Happy Hour issue: Not just drinking on the mind | Silver linings of a down economy