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One of the largest collections of tequila bottles in the world

Bali Hai’s bar - Image by Howie Rosen
Bali Hai’s bar
Place

Bali Hai

2230 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego

Bali Hai Restaurant

Five-dollar Progressive Mai Tais — add $1 every hour. Best of luck finding a better view of the San Diego skyline. You’ll sit next to yachters, boat builders, and tourists while slowly sipping the strongest Mai Tai around. (It’s pretty much all rum.) New rule: only two Mai Tais per person. Good rule.

$4 Wasabi Fries / $5 Crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls, Edamame Hummus, Edamame / $6 Crispy Calamari / $7 Island Beef Skewers, Flash Fried Shishito Peppers / $8 Fire Cracker Ribs / $9 Coconut Shrimp / $11 Hawaiian Tuna Poke. 3–6pm Monday-Friday.

Place

Hills

8758 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa

The Hills

Comfortable, upscale pubs are hard to come by in La Mesa, so when the Hills opened a few years back you could almost feel the vibe change in this East County suburb. Friendly servers greet you almost immediately and ask you to sit “wherever,” in the casual indoor space with garage-door windows. Happy hour offers 24 local or craft brews at $2 off and $2 tacos and sliders. There’s a patio in the back with heaters . If you can’t find parking on the street, drive down the alley and you’ll find a spot. 2–5pm Monday–Friday.

Place

Cicciotti's Trattoria

1933 San Elijo Avenue, Cardiff by the Sea

Cicciotti’s Trattoria

This place makes me feel welcome. It could be because my friend Diane used to live in the space, or the fun Italian servers who smile and flirt. Either way, the happy hour here is better than you might expect from a high-end restaurant on the coast in North County.

Four-dollar house wines, $5.00 mixed drinks, and discounted beers and specialty drinks. Happy hour plates at $5.00 and $6.00 are a great value, but the $1.00 fresh Blue Point oysters they serve are delizioso. 4:30-6:30pm Monday-Thursday, 3-6pm Friday and Saturday.

Place

Nicky Rottens Bar & Burger Joint

3773 Willow Glen Drive, El Cajon

Nicky Rottens Bar & Burger Joint

This joint out in the burbs of El Cajon, surrounded by fast-food places is a much-needed oasis. The parking lot is usually jammed, so if you can brave the traffic, park in a shopping center and run across the street. The place is fun, the bar is big and filled with what seems like at least a dozen bartenders mixing drinks and schmoozing with the customers. It’s a real bar, but when you look past the bottles, you’ll see families, couples and lots of singles enjoying the vibe. The discounted menu is vast, but includes discounts on pretty much all the booze and an assortment of food. 3–6pm Monday–Friday, 9–11am Saturday–Sunday.

Place

Mediterraneo

1347 Tavern Road #34, Alpine

Mediterraneo Bistro

You’ll enjoy the eclectic atmosphere and forget that you’re in a strip mall in Alpine. The drinks are discounted — $3 domestic draft beer and $5 house wine. The appetizers are not run-of-the-mill. This menu is Old World classy: Bill and Diane Shrimp Cocktail $9, Fried Calamari $7, Pear Salad $6, and quite a bit more. It’s worth the trip. Monday–Sunday from 4–6:30pm.

Place

Hello Betty Fish House

211 Mission Avenue, Oceanside

Hello Betty Fish House

This happy hour is all about the booze, with 24 beers on tap and great cocktails discounted when sitting at bar tables at this year-old restaurant. The food is regular price, but with the outstanding view of the Oceanside Pier and the Pacific, ordering a fresh Mahi Mahi sandwich for less than ten bucks will make you very happy for more than an hour. 4–6pm Monday–Sunday at bar-tops only.

Place

Callejon Restaurant

345 S. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas

El Callejon

The Vista location boasts one of the largest collections of tequila bottles in the world, and it’s hard to doubt them when you see them lined up behind the crowded bar. The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable about the tequila and they can school you while serving you house margaritas and well drinks for $4.25 draft beer and imported $3.50 domestic $3. House wine $4. Good prices on bar food such as street tacos and flautas as well. Arrive early because while Vista is a brew boomtown, the hip local places for happy hour are few and far between. 3–7pm Monday-Friday.

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Bali Hai’s bar - Image by Howie Rosen
Bali Hai’s bar
Place

Bali Hai

2230 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego

Bali Hai Restaurant

Five-dollar Progressive Mai Tais — add $1 every hour. Best of luck finding a better view of the San Diego skyline. You’ll sit next to yachters, boat builders, and tourists while slowly sipping the strongest Mai Tai around. (It’s pretty much all rum.) New rule: only two Mai Tais per person. Good rule.

$4 Wasabi Fries / $5 Crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls, Edamame Hummus, Edamame / $6 Crispy Calamari / $7 Island Beef Skewers, Flash Fried Shishito Peppers / $8 Fire Cracker Ribs / $9 Coconut Shrimp / $11 Hawaiian Tuna Poke. 3–6pm Monday-Friday.

Place

Hills

8758 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa

The Hills

Comfortable, upscale pubs are hard to come by in La Mesa, so when the Hills opened a few years back you could almost feel the vibe change in this East County suburb. Friendly servers greet you almost immediately and ask you to sit “wherever,” in the casual indoor space with garage-door windows. Happy hour offers 24 local or craft brews at $2 off and $2 tacos and sliders. There’s a patio in the back with heaters . If you can’t find parking on the street, drive down the alley and you’ll find a spot. 2–5pm Monday–Friday.

Place

Cicciotti's Trattoria

1933 San Elijo Avenue, Cardiff by the Sea

Cicciotti’s Trattoria

This place makes me feel welcome. It could be because my friend Diane used to live in the space, or the fun Italian servers who smile and flirt. Either way, the happy hour here is better than you might expect from a high-end restaurant on the coast in North County.

Four-dollar house wines, $5.00 mixed drinks, and discounted beers and specialty drinks. Happy hour plates at $5.00 and $6.00 are a great value, but the $1.00 fresh Blue Point oysters they serve are delizioso. 4:30-6:30pm Monday-Thursday, 3-6pm Friday and Saturday.

Place

Nicky Rottens Bar & Burger Joint

3773 Willow Glen Drive, El Cajon

Nicky Rottens Bar & Burger Joint

This joint out in the burbs of El Cajon, surrounded by fast-food places is a much-needed oasis. The parking lot is usually jammed, so if you can brave the traffic, park in a shopping center and run across the street. The place is fun, the bar is big and filled with what seems like at least a dozen bartenders mixing drinks and schmoozing with the customers. It’s a real bar, but when you look past the bottles, you’ll see families, couples and lots of singles enjoying the vibe. The discounted menu is vast, but includes discounts on pretty much all the booze and an assortment of food. 3–6pm Monday–Friday, 9–11am Saturday–Sunday.

Place

Mediterraneo

1347 Tavern Road #34, Alpine

Mediterraneo Bistro

You’ll enjoy the eclectic atmosphere and forget that you’re in a strip mall in Alpine. The drinks are discounted — $3 domestic draft beer and $5 house wine. The appetizers are not run-of-the-mill. This menu is Old World classy: Bill and Diane Shrimp Cocktail $9, Fried Calamari $7, Pear Salad $6, and quite a bit more. It’s worth the trip. Monday–Sunday from 4–6:30pm.

Place

Hello Betty Fish House

211 Mission Avenue, Oceanside

Hello Betty Fish House

This happy hour is all about the booze, with 24 beers on tap and great cocktails discounted when sitting at bar tables at this year-old restaurant. The food is regular price, but with the outstanding view of the Oceanside Pier and the Pacific, ordering a fresh Mahi Mahi sandwich for less than ten bucks will make you very happy for more than an hour. 4–6pm Monday–Sunday at bar-tops only.

Place

Callejon Restaurant

345 S. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas

El Callejon

The Vista location boasts one of the largest collections of tequila bottles in the world, and it’s hard to doubt them when you see them lined up behind the crowded bar. The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable about the tequila and they can school you while serving you house margaritas and well drinks for $4.25 draft beer and imported $3.50 domestic $3. House wine $4. Good prices on bar food such as street tacos and flautas as well. Arrive early because while Vista is a brew boomtown, the hip local places for happy hour are few and far between. 3–7pm Monday-Friday.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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