The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Happy Hour Menus

Shade Happy Hour 003.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Cornmeal-crusted Gulf oysters on spring greens at our No. 2 pick.
For the next 20 weeks, we'll be rounding up the runners-up to our 2011 Best of Houston® winners. In many categories, picking each year's winner is no easy task. We'll be spotlighting 20 of those categories, in which the winner had hefty competition from other Houston bars and restaurants.

I look for a lot of different factors in a truly great happy hour.

Obviously, the food and beverage prices have to be inexpensive, or at least discounted from their standard cost. But the food and beverages themselves have to be noteworthy to stand out from all the hundreds of happy hours around Houston.

Just as importantly, the restaurants themselves need to have an appropriately "happy" hour vibe. There's nothing worse than dragging your co-workers or friends to a happy hour where no one's at the bar, the service is surly and none of the patrons seem very happy at all.

10. Oishii

How long has Oishii had one of the best happy hours in town? I feel like quoting a Dan Fogelberg song: "Longer than there've been fishes in the ocean..." This is an oldie but goodie, a Houston classic that must be experienced at least once. The little Japanese restaurant is consistently packed at happy hour, and the half-off appetizers and beer are only part of the reason -- it's just a fun place to be.

Happy Hours: 3 to 7 p.m., Mondays through Fridays; 3 to 6 p.m. Saturdays

9. Vinoteca Poscol

At the most casual of Marco Wiles' trio of Montrose restaurants, you can almost pretend that you're at a European cafe as you sample $1 cicchetti and $2 glasses of wine from the cool marble bar. Those $2 glasses don't get you a full pour, but Poscol does offer a good selection during happy hour of a house red, white, Prosecco and/or sparkling red. And the cicchetti may only be bite-sized, but there's always a nice variety to choose from. You don't want to spoil your dinner anyway, do you?

Happy Hours: 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays

Blue Fish 012.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Happy hour sushi that actually tastes like the stuff you'd pay full price for.
8. The Blue Fish

Plenty of sushi places offer happy hour specials. But at The Blue Fish -- yes, the one from Dallas -- the happy hour specials include a broad cross-section of the main menu. It's refreshingly non-restrictive, and most of it's incredibly inexpensive too: $2 for Kirin on draft or house sake (hot or cold) or your choice of yellowtail, salmon or albacore sushi. For $3, you can sample a miniature version of The Blue Fish's famous ahi tower and for $4, you can get a glass of house wine and choose from a huge variety of hand rolls.

Happy Hours: 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays (at downtown location); 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily (at Washington Avenue location)

Location Info

Oishii Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar

3764 Richmond, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Vinoteca Poscol

1609 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Blue Fish

550 Texas St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Mockingbird Bistro Wine Bar

1985 Welch St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Hearsay Gastro Lounge

218 Travis, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Bayou City Seafood n' Pasta

4730 Richmond, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Nabi - CLOSED

1517 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Danton's Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen

4611 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Shade

250 W. 19th St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Benjy's on Washington

5922 Washington, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
12 comments
Londinium
Londinium

Avert your eyes, those of you who have never left the inner loop and/or disparage all chains:  Brio at CityCentre has a large bar area with comfy banquet seating and cold martinis in the larger glasses (not the 2 oz size), 1/2 price on Wednesdays.  Their bar menu of flatbread pizzas, hamburger, beef carpaccio, shrimptini and more are all a whopping $2.95.

Lorena Ventura
Lorena Ventura

Hearsay, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. - BTW, Hearsay's Ladies' Night is on Wednesdays, not Thursdays. 

Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

Damn Shilcutt, you don't need to use other folks photos. Mighty fine pics you took.TA

sbterry
sbterry

As always, there is going to be someone that disagrees with an inclusion or being upset about an exclusion.  Being that I am not a "sushi" person (I know its almost a sacrilegious) I can add a fave HH of mine -- Haven.  Their fried chicken livers with buscuits and gravy are the bomb! 

Wuwu
Wuwu

Not mentioning AKA on this list is shameful....for that quality of food you get, service always with a smile, portion sizes always adequate they are a must on all happy hours and to boot on Sat/Sun its all freaking day!

The Wu

Hugh Ramsey
Hugh Ramsey

Dantons food is great, but those prices arent that happy.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I wonder if it changed recently? I confirmed with Hearsay that it's on Thursday nights now.

Cordantduprix
Cordantduprix

Sushi King is a better deal than either Oishii or AKA. Better fish. Better rice.

H_e_x
H_e_x

I agree with ya. Really nice place, but those prices are not what I would call a deal in relation to other places.

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