Happy hour for the holidays

Soothe holiday stress at our top 10 early happy hour spots

Illustration by Hayley Doshay

It’s the holiday season and even if you’re the grinchiest of scrooges, there’ll likely be a day when you’re ready to ditch your cubicle or find yourself out and about, braving the elements (read: crowds). When that time comes, if you have some spare George Washingtons and the sun’s yet to set, then it’s time to celebrate a holiday happy hour in the City of Trees. It’s a fun game to find your favorite microbrews and spirits for half the price, more than likely doubling the inebriation. Hey—that means more money to spend on presents … or drinks.

Next time you have an extra 20 bucks in hand, check out these establishments for tasty food and, more importantly, the sauce.

’Tis the season—merry drinking, boozers!

It’s animal-free, dawg!

Capitol Dawg
Cappy Hour: Monday through Thursday, 4 to 8 p.m.

There’s no better place than Cappy Hour to enjoy $2 hot dogs, beers and garlic fries. Not to mention the animal-free veggie dawgs, deep-fried vegan corndogs and the drink choices. Capitol Dawg has everything, including Sierra Nevada Torpedos and Pabst Blue Ribbon, all chilled in bottled perfection. Word.
1226 20th Street, (916) 444-1226, www.capitoldawg.com.

Intimate, cozy, 20 bucks

Kasbah Lounge
Happy hour: Monday through Friday, 5 to 7 p.m.

Falafel: $3. Hummus with warm pita: $2. A pitcher of sangria: $12. Everything from the ambience to the comfy, cushioned lounge seating makes this the best place to spend $20—and that’s between two people. The sangria has spice and crisp, green apples. The crunchy falafel served with a green tahini sauce and a refreshing lemon yogurt dip is just an amazing combination of flavors.
2115 J Street, (916) 442-4388, www.kasbahlounge.com.

Illustration by Hayley Doshay

Mackin’ with Danzig

Hideaway Bar & Grill
Happy hour: Monday through Friday, 4 to 7 p.m.

You’ll always find three consistencies at this bar: a top-notch, spicy Bloody Mary that’s paired with home-pickled green beans; the best “Mackin’ Cheese” with gruyere, parmesan and goat cheeses, topped with an herb-based crumble; and a kick-ass jukebox that regularly blasts Danzig. It’s a trio to be enjoyed on a regular basis.
2565 Franklin Boulevard, (916) 455-1331.

Kickin’ it, gourmet style

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant
Happy hour: Monday through Friday, 4 to 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close.

Where else are you going to get a half-pound gourmet cheeseburger and fries for $2.95? No, not McDonald’s. Other happy-hour food bites at McCormick & Schmick’s start at $1.95—such as the clam strips with cocktail sauce or dill chips with blue cheese. Plus, it has tempting cocktails. This fine watering hole also features the Cape Cod, a vodka drink with cranberry and lime. Seasonally appropriate, no?
1111 J Street, (916) 442-8200, www.mccormickandschmicks.com.

Rowdy in the ’burbs

Fugu Lounge
Happy hour: Monday through Friday, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.; Sunday through Thursday, 9:30 p.m. to close.

Despite its rowdy reputation with its tract-home neighbors, this hot spot’s happy hour is great for Natomas-area dwellers or for anyone looking for a place to quench a mighty thirst. Enjoy $2 beers and $5 martinis, mimosas and margaritas or sample a variety of sushi rolls ranging from $5 to $7.
2071 Natomas Crossing Drive in Natomas, (916) 515-1958, www.thefugulounge.com.

Illustration by Hayley Doshay

Dollar, dollar beers y’all

Sudwerk Restaurant and Brewery
Happy hour: Monday through Friday, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Sudwerk offers local brews and the cheapest happy hour this side of the causeway with Wednesday $1 Pint Nights for a mere $3 cover charge. It’s a nice price for those on a budget. There are no food specials during its weekly happy hour, but the Sudwerk’s fab four are always present: Märzen, Lager, Pilsner and, of course, Mr. Hefeweizen.
2001 Second Street in Davis, (530) 758-8700, www.sudwerk.com.

100 beers, tap that

Yard House
Happy hour: Monday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m.; Sunday through Wednesday, 10 p.m. to close.

From Deschutes Black Butte Porter to Stone India Pale Ale, this Costco-sized alehouse and eatery is not for the indecisive. With around 100 beers on tap, the lack of beer knowledge from the girls behind the counter is slightly excusable—just avoid all name tags ending in “-ie.” Enjoy the half-priced pizzas, appetizers and the variety of ways to consume your beer: the yard, the goblet, the shorty and the old-school pint. Indulge.
1166 Roseville Parkway in Roseville, (916) 780-9273, www.yardhouse.com.

Saloon sippin’

Folsom Hotel Saloon
Happy hour: Monday through Saturday, 2 to 6 p.m. (or occasionally all day)

Want to feel as if you’re a rugged cowboy in the days of
Tombstone like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday? Too bad. But you can enjoy this saloonlike setting while sippin’ on some $3 imports, $2 domestics and maybe a few $3 wells. Sometimes this bar continues happy hour all day. It just may be your lucky day. Yee-haw!
703 Sutter Street in Folsom, (916) 985-2530, http://folsomhotelsaloon.com.

Illustration by Hayley Doshay

J’aime $5 menus

La Provence
Happy hour: Tuesday through Saturday, 4 to 7 p.m.

A fancy place with a $5 food menu during happy hour? Sold! Try the artichoke, spinach and goat cheese fondue with grilled flatbread. If you’re a carnivore, sample the marinated hanger steak served over Caesar salad. All drinks are 25 percent off. We recommend this restaurant’s famous lemon drop martini made with Grey Goose vodka or a La Provence Margarita with Cazadores Anejo Blue Agave Tequila, agave nectar and fresh lime juice.
110 Diamond Creek Place in Roseville, (916) 789-2002, www.laprovenceroseville.com.

Happy hour. Literally.

Happy hour: Monday through Friday, 5 to 6 p.m.

If you’re not right on time, you just may miss this happy hour which is literally an hour long. Hurry and guzzle dollar-off drafts and wells or have the bartender fix up a specialty house martini for $5. There are also small bites. Choose from a combination of olives and smoked almonds, or inquire about the chef specials of the evening, like pickled veggies or burger and lamb trios.
8928 Sunset Avenue in Fair Oaks, (916) 241-9365, www.maranellorestaurant.com.