Galleria Happy Hour Ideas for the Fatigued Shopper

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Photo by Mai Pham
Cocktails and oysters at Caracol Happy Hour.

We've all been there. We've shopped for hours on end, until we're dry and parched, our feet can barely move and we're desperately in need of revival. We get in the car to drive home, and get stuck in the middle of rush hour, a sea of cars sitting between relaxation. As we're sitting there, listening to the radio, in a car that's moving more slowly than the person walking the street, we have an epiphany: "This is the perfect time for a happy hour." We know just the place.

Kona Grill. 4 to 7 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m. Located inside the Galleria itself, Kona Grill offers an abundance of drinks and happy hour appetizers at half off. The choices are rather heavy on the carb side, but the margaritas and mojitos make up for it. Prices range from $3.50 to $6.

Caracol. 3 to 7 p.m. daily. Chef Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught's brand-new restaurant in the BBVA Compass building on Post Oak is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Galleria proper. Valet or validated parking is available, and happy hour offers specialty appetizers, like the tostada de atun crudo, for $7. A margarita, mojito and sangria are on offer for $6, and all gulf oysters on the half shell are half off (daily 3 to 7 p.m., and Saturdays before 5 p.m.). While you're there, go for the gold and get a half dozen of their delicious ostiones asados (wood-grilled gulf oysters with chipotle butter), regularly priced at $14 for a half dozen, they are just $7 during happy hour.

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Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen Celebrates Lease Renewal with New Happy Hour Menu

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Photo courtesy of Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen
The ceviche is just $5.50 during happy hour.

For 18 years Sylvia Casares, a.k.a. "The Enchilada Queen," has been dazzling Houston diners with her inventive takes on the enchilada, and recently she made the commitment to do so for another decade.

Casares signed a ten-year extension to her lease at the Woodway location of Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen, which is extremely reassuring to me for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to, the continued opportunity to consume her terrific "North" enchilada parilla whenever I want.

But as much as things will stay the same at Sylvia's, the menu will continue to evolve. Casares will continue to proffer new varieties of haute enchiladas (we're at 19 and counting), and most recently she introduced a new appetizer and margarita menu. Light and refreshing bar bites such as ceviche, picamole and my favorite, the sweet, spicy coctel de camarĂ³n, are on offer for an average of $6 during happy "hour," which is far more expansive at Sylvia's than the name might imply.


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Flat-Screens, Game-Day Specials, TD Shots + More: Where to Watch the Texans Season Opener This Monday Night

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Where are you watching the game?
The Texans' quest for the championship starts on the road this Monday as they face off against the Chargers at 9:20 p.m. CT. This is all the more reason to get out and watch the game at one of Houston's awesome sports bars.

Because we love nothing more than wings, JJ Watt's ass football and our readers, we've put together a list of some of this city's best big screens and bar specials for Monday's game.

Without further ado:

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A Cozy and Cool Happy Hour at Cove Cold Bar

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Minh T Truong
Happy Hour at Cove Cold Bar
Cove Cold Bar, a "self-contained mini-restaurant," opened inside Haven late last year with chef de cuisine Jean Philippe Gaston taking charge. The regular menu is a trip around the world with offerings from Tahitian poisson cru to Mexican ceviche to Italian crudo. But the "seafood haven of sorts" also explores options with four legs with French steak tartare, lamb heart carpaccio and a goat heavy cheese selection. It is a culinary adventure you have to take.

Also worth the trip is the happy hour, which is short but definitely sweet, from 4 to 6 p.m. and from 9 p.m. to close. Make your way to the little enclosed haven inside Haven, grab the corner table and enjoy a cozy couple of hours away from the world, or grab a seat at the bar and chat it up with the man who's shucking your oysters. Either way, inside the little bubble that is Cove, the hustle and bustle of the restaurant is forgotten -- on the afternoon my girlfriends and I met there, we noted it was almost too quiet; we were afraid our laughter was going to draw too much attention, until some light samba music began to play.

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Auditioning a New Friend at Oishii's Happy Hour

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Photos by Christina Uticone
The check came to $15 bucks each and we were chock full of sushi. Yes.
So my husband does this thing where, once he finds a restaurant or two to fill a niche (sushi, Italian, burgers, etc.) he stops wanting to try new places in that niche. This makes me crazy, especially because as soon as I get back from trying a new place (where he refused to go in the first place) he ends up pouting that I didn't take him with me.

Hey, surprise! It happened again! This time with sushi, and the restaurant in question is Oishii. This little sushi "diner" is always popping up on "Best of" lists--including here at HP--and it always catches my eye when I drive by. It's not on Josh's "sushi radar," though, so we never go.

I was recently shopping at Kiehl's, and got chatting with my favorite sales associate Justin about food. When we landed on the topic of Oishii's happy hour, Justin told me it was a favorite of his. "It's awesome--and cheap!" he exclaimed, and I immediately asked him out on a platonic date. The goal: make a new friend. (And, ultimately, force my husband's hand to get him to try a new sushi place.)

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Onaga Opens Quietly -- Let's Hope It Stays That Way

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Minh T Truong
Fire-Pot Udon
I'll admit it I bought into what you could call the "club sushi" environment of Zake Sushi Lounge. A few birthdays, one going away party and many a nights out started there -- the food was pretty good in the beginning, although it was never really about that, it was about beginning the night listening to house music, throwing back shots of sake and imbibing overly sweet lychee martinis before hitting Crome -- which thankfully has transformed into Triniti -- leaving behind the douchebaggery that once was.

Whether you buy into Yelp or not, Zake's reviews in the later years were a clear indication that they weren't going to be around much longer. It had become even less about the food and somehow actually became a club complete with DJs, Saturday night cover charges and rowdy fights.

Eight years later and Zake has quietly become Onaga Pan Asian Bistro.

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Tasty Tacos for Happy Hour at Pistolero's

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Photos by Mai Pham
From Top Left: Seasonal frozen margarita, two tacos, queso and chips

There's something about Pistolero's, the new taco and tequila bar that took over the Nabi space on Westheimer, that oozes cool. I'm talking the bad boy, Javier Bardem, "No Country for Old Men," kind of cool that spoke to me immediately when I stepped through the doors. "You can hang out here for hours," it said to me. "You will want to come back here often," it whispered.

"Yes," my subconscious answered instinctively. It didn't matter that their tacos were the kind that you go home raving about, or their cocktails the kind that light up the camera for that great Instagram photo. I was already sold, even before I found out about their fantastic happy hour offering: Two tacos for $5 -- Oh. Yeah!


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Crawfish Reigns Supreme on Brennan's 7-7-7 Happy Hour Menu

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Photos by Mai Pham
During happy hour, this $7 crawfish enchilada is fantastic

Brennan's of Houston may not come up in conversation as a go-to place for happy hour, but it should. During happy hour, which takes place in their Courtyard Bar, Brennan's offers a 7-7-7 menu that includes seven cocktails, seven wines, and seven appetizers, all for just $7.

And the great thing about it? Unlike other restaurants where happy hour only happens during odd hours and only on weekdays, Brennan's 7-7-7 is offered daily from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. -- plenty of time for you to relax, unwind, and get happy.

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Why I Can't Stop Thinking About Reef's Happy Hour

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I mean, I can't...
Happy hour is most definitely my favorite part of any day -- is that bad? Don't answer.

I love checking out new places, of course, but there's nothing like going back to an old favorite. And right now, I can't stop thinking about one of my all-time favorite spots: Reef's 3rd Bar -- the swanky side bar attached to the seafood restaurant that has some of the best deals in town.

You should probably be thinking about it, too. Here's why:

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How to Complete a Saint Arnold Pub Crawl: Tips from a Pub-Crawl Pro

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I'm fairly certain I've reached pro status when it comes to the Saint Arnold Brewery Pub Crawl. Quite the feat -- I know. I'd like to thank my friends, the good people at Saint Arnold and myself for having way too much time on my hands.

Texas's oldest craft brewery will host the infamous pub crawls a few times a year, usually at the beginning of a season to showcase their latest brews.

The crawls are always a good time and, in my opinion, the perfect way to spend a Saturday -- show up to the first bar on the list, get a punch card and a beer, follow the crawl to the next bar and repeat. If all goes well, you'll finish the day with some good stories and one of the brewery's highly coveted souvenir pint glasses in your hand, further proving your worth and dominance over your sucker friends who stayed home.

Yes, it sounds easy in theory -- but it does take a bit of expertise to successfully complete one like a boss. And because I like you guys, I'm sharing my pro tips on how to do just that:

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