Choose a $6 red or white (or both!) during happy hour at Village Vino
4095 Adams Avenue, San Diego
Forget about a couple o’ bucks off drinks, this quaint café and retail wine shop goes all out for happy hour. From 4 to 6pm Tuesday through Saturday and 3 to 8pm on Sunday, Village Vino offers a prix fixe menu that includes your choice of salad, choice of flatbread, and two glasses of wine, all for $25. If you’re not up for a meal, this happy hour also includes a glass of the day’s house-wine selection (red or white) for $6. And if you get peckish, you can always snack on hummus or the wine-friendly dukkah, an herbaceous Egyptian dip served with bread for just $3 each. There’s a bonus happy hour at the end of the night, beginning at 10 until closing time.
880 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego
A seat outdoors with a gorgeous view of the bay and the San Diego skyline is a prime place to unwind after a hard day’s work. The spot becomes much sweeter with the kinds of deals on offer here from 3:30 to 5:30pm Monday through Friday. I love the across-the-board simplicity of $5 bites (from crispy calamari to steamed mussels in a pinot grigio, chorizo, arugula, and caramelized onion cream sauce); $5 drinks (such as the gin-based Scallywag cocktail, among other cocktails and wines); and $4 brews. You make enough decisions throughout the day. With prices like these, you need not decide. Get one of everything.
3659 India Street #101, San Diego
Yes, the name is based on the bar from the late 1970s sitcom Three’s Company — but you don’t have to have seen the show to want to come and knock on this cozy pub’s door and sample some of the “quality grub and grog” they serve. Happy hour here is as easy as their beer and artisan sausage concept: $1 off everything from 3 to 6pm on weekdays. The selection of beers on tap changes frequently and is reliably interesting. To guide your tastes, each beer listing on the board includes the name, style, ABV, and even the kind of glass it comes in.
629 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
At $6 a pop for classic and signature cocktails, the Lion’s Share offers one of San Diego’s better deals for exquisite cocktails. The list of drinks on offer during happy hour (4 to 6pm daily) includes my favorite here, the No Esposa (usually $10), a spicy concoction of tequila, lemon, strawberry, and habanero shrubs. In addition, it’s $2 off draft beers, $6 for house wines, plus substantial food offerings including the sharable, flavorful Wild Boar Poutine for $8; $4 Bruschetta and House Cut Fries with parmesan and mustard aioli; and $6 deviled eggs, rabbit sausage, and Moroccan chicken liver.
4715 Monroe Ave, San Diego
Romeo & Julieta Wine Cafe
Don’t let the name and Venetian decor fool you, the food and wine at this charming family-owned café spans the globe, from Eastern European (authentically delicious thanks to the Polish chef/owner) to Italian and Mexican. Happy hour is usually the first two hours after the doors open (5 to 7pm Tuesday and Wednesday, 4 to 6pm Thursday through Saturday, and 4 to 9pm Sunday). During this time, beer and wine are offered at $5 a glass, and all of the appetizers are discounted. The BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders and Romeo Baguette (with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, tomatoes, and mozzarella) are particularly palatable.
4130 Park Boulevard, San Diego
S&M Sausage and Meat
Exotic meats make for great happy hour conversation starters, and S&M’s got that in spades with sausages made from lamb, bison, kangaroo, alligator, and antelope. But don’t let the meat distract you from the excellent cocktails here, which, along with every other alcoholic beverage, are $2 off from 3 to 6pm Monday through Friday. My cocktail of choice is the Devil’s Holiday (rye, tobacco, Luxardo, Aztec chocolate bitters). To complement your drink, each libation purchased during happy hour comes with a mouthwatering strip of savory bacon (sesame soy, honey Sriracha, agave mustard, hickory, or garlic rosemary parmesan).
3687 Fifth Avenue, San Diego
Happy hour at the Tractor Room can be tricky, because the specials change from day to day. If you don’t like surprises, be sure to check their calendar. Tuesday tends to be taco night ($3 tacos and discounts on beer and margaritas all night), and Wednesdays have a history of steep select booze discounts (up to 50 percent off) and a guaranteed 35 percent off gin cocktails all night. Always consistent are the weekday deals from 5 to 6:30pm — $4 draft beers and select $5 cocktails, as well as the HH menu, featuring tasty tidbits such as Chipotle Charred Tomato Pork Ribs ($5), and the Chicken Liver & Apple Jack Whiskey Porcini Mushroom Pâté ($4).