Secret Society PHOTOS: Matt D'Annunzio
You've slurped $1 oysters at Ten 01. You've downed a $2.50 pint from Lompoc. You've squeezed your bike on the rack outside of Clyde Common and nursed a $5 whiskey with hipsters. You already know happy hours can offer some of the best recession-proof fine dining in town, but you're tired of the regular haunts (and the regular crowds). It's time for a change of pace.
Yes, we know, head-to-tail eating is so in right now. But it's hard to justify shelling out $20 to gnaw on cartilage just because it's hip. Belly Timber is on your side. Come for its Whole Hog Happy Hour and dine on six different preparations of pig, all just $2 to $3. The best bites are the crépinette, a disc of house-ground sausage served with sweet-and-spicy fig mustard, and the P(ork)B(elly)LT. Skip the wine and beer specials and sip on a $5 cocktail special instead.
Located in the former home of a Victorian-era fraternal lodge, Secret Society offers a huge cocktail menu in a luxe, cozy atmosphere. Happy hour offers a rotating selection of $5 drink specials. Recent libations include a spicy Aviation Gin-ginger beer concoction served in a copper mug and a rye whiskey twist on an old-fashioned. The food menu tends toward pork-heavy bar snacks: excellent grilled ham and cheese, mac and cheese (with bacon option), and a bacon-leek pie, all for around $5 each.
Dinner at this French brasserie might be pricey, but you can get your fill of Julia during its excellent happy hour. The list of bistro items, all of them half off, is extensive, cheap and deliciously French. Not too hungry? Munch on warm, citrusy olives, fries drizzled with truffle oil or a couple of oysters. Looking for an early dinner? The foie gras mousse is a steal for $7; bigger plates, like quiche Lorraine and boeuf bourguignon, are even less.
Not one for oysters and fine wine? Just want to spend your happy time in a bar? You know, a bar bar filled with video games? Visit EastBurn. The bar offers a different "Recess" special each day of the week, such as Whiskey Wednesday and Tequila Thursday ($2 off all top-shelf selections), and $1 PBRs on Sundays. The best deal, however, is on Tuesdays, when the bartenders pour $2 pints of all microbrews all day. The food? Yeah, it's all right. But you're here for booze and Skee-Ball.