Slouching Toward Happy Hour
East Sixth & Thereabouts
Happy Hour: 4-7pm Mon-Fri
Those who fear straying far from the vortex of this week's SXSW activities may want to consider trying the happy hour at Marisco Grill, located on Sixth Street. Sandwiched between a nightclub and a sleazy all-night drugstore in the heart of downtown, the no-nonsense Marisco Grill has managed to hold its own among its more glamorous neighbors. Its happy hour runs weekdays from 4-7pm and features not only cheap drinks, but also half-price appetizers. Seafood lovers can get a fix here with cheap ceviche, crab quesadillas, and even oysters on the half-shell (for those who dare after the recent Gulf Coast oyster reports). For pescaphobes, Marisco also serves standard nachos, queso fundido, and guacamole.
-- Rachel Feit
Jazz: A Louisiana Kitchen
214 E. Sixth, 479-0474
Happy Hour: 4-7pm Mon-Fri
Jazz is an Austin stalwart that's been around for years. As you can guess by the name, its specialty is Cajun-Creole cuisine, served in a warm and homey atmosphere. Jazz will be showcasing SXSW acts in its Bon Temps Room during the festival. The menu features a large range of appetizers, po-boys and other sandwiches, seafood, and Cajun pastas. The price range is low to medium, but perhaps that record company expense account can absorb the All-You-Can-Eat Hushpuppies for $139 -- which comes complete with a bottle of Dom Perignon. Happy hour serves up lots of low-cost noshes like fresh-shucked oysters, u-peel-'em shrimp, boiled crawdads, or Tasso beans and rice, with $2.50 'ritas and hurricanes and $1.75 pints. Jazz is a comfy coon-ass spot for sucking some mudbug heads while getting primed to let your bon temps roulez at SXSW. -- Mick Vann
The Iron Cactus
606 Trinity, 472-9240
Happy Hour: 4-7pm Mon-Fri
The Iron Cactus is a fine spot for those visiting Yanksters to get a tasty exposure to Southwestern cuisine and the definitive top shelf margarita while at SXSW. The medium-priced menu features Southwestern border fusion food with a definite affinity for that New World culinary treat: our pal the chile pepper. Appetizers and entrees are creative renditions of the traditional Southwestern fare. Enchiladas are stacked (my personal favorite way of constructing them), instead of rolling them as most do. Happy hour translates to $1.75 domestic beers, $2 margaritas, and $5 pitchers of frozen margaritas. The Iron Cactus' spicy comida is the perfect foil to its extensive selection of tequilas and specialty margaritas -- the endorphins produced by the burn of the capsaicin and the buzz of the tequila will heighten your musical pleasure. -- M.V.
Knucklehead's Garage Bar and Grill
522 E. Sixth, 474-4647
Happy Hour: 4-7pm Mon-Fri
Knuckledhead's sounds like it would be an oily, parts-strewn biker bar with pin-ups plastered on the wall and a bunch of motorheads lounging hither and yon. It is located above the Harley shop on Sixth Street, but it is nothing like its name suggests. Knucklehead's is a surprisingly elegant eatery, featuring a mid-priced menu of Southern-Lowland fusion food in an upscale atmosphere that's far from stuffy or effete. The menu features such items as Southern Style Egg Rolls of smoked turkey and Tasso ham, a Jerk Chicken Breast-Tropical Fruit Salad, a Salmon Burger on foccacia bread, and a Crawfish and Andouille-Stuffed Chicken Breast. Happy hour here features $1.75 domestic beer and $2.25 well drinks from the well-appointed bar. Knuckledhead's is a fine place to get lubricated before a night of revved-up revelry. -- M.V.
407 E. Seventh, 474-5338
This downtown treasure of a cafe, with its copper-topped bar and exposed stone walls, draws a subdued crowd of regulars who come for moderately priced wines by the glass and bottle ($3.25-$7) and American microbrews at $2.50. HighLife lists some 60 wines, an astounding variety for such an unassuming little place. We love the food, too, from the spicy take on traditional hummus to the house-smoked trout and polenta -- all of it great for food and wine pairing. Vintage jazz generally hums from the HighLife's sound system, dog-eared books and magazines lie topsy-turvy on the shelves, and couches and armchairs beckon those seeking extra comfort. Smokers are a welcome breed here, where air cleaners and a specially engineered ventilation system keep the air clear for everyone.
-- Rebecca Chastenet de Géry
801 Red River, 480-8341
Happy Hour: 5-8pm Wed-Fri
Christopher Stubb (although no one ever called him by his first name) was a primary food source for and main fan of legendary Flatlanders Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore during their formative years in Lubbock. In his later years, he moved to Austin and opened a short-lived outlet for his equally legendary barbecue. This Third Coast music venue with chow uses recipes based on Stubb's originals, serving up a low- to medium-priced menu with real-deal, Southern-style killer barbecue, chicken frieds, and catfish, plus sandwiches and soulful Southern sides, with a full bar to complement the grub and music. Happy hour features $1 drinks and half-price appetizers from the Southern starter selection. It's a perfect showcase for Stubb's great food and the music he supported, and a great spot to start a night of musical frivolity. -- M.V.
West Sixth & Vicinity
Jean-Luc's French Bistro
705 Colorado, 494-0033
Don't shy away from Jean-Luc's in fear of a formal, white-tableclothed French setting. This veteran downtown restaurant recently rethought its bar space, and the result is an expanded cocktail area with cozy tables in addition to its existing long wooden bar, and an excellent new selection of appetizers we just can't bear to call "bar food." If you're thinking Jean-Luc's, think slightly spicy Casablanca Shrimp ($8.95), Home-cured Salmon ($8.95), Mushrooms Persillade ($5.95), or Sweetbreads Napoleon ($8.95). Too much? Then go for the lighter Moules Mariniere ($8.95), Salade Landaise ($8.95), or Sea Scallop Jean-Luc ($8.95). Feel a hangover coming on? Nip it in the bud with French Onion Soup ($4.50) or an order of heavenly French Fries ($3). Then there's the wine, like the full-bodied, crisp Quincy Domaine du Tremblay ($8.50 glass) or the perfect-for-summer Chinon Bouchardiere (cabernet franc), a light, fruity red ($8.50 glass), or the Tavel Rosé Domaine Lafont (grenache), a dry rosé ($7.50).
District Bar and Grill
301 W. Sixth, 476-2399
Happy Hour: 4-8pm Mon-Fri
Sports lovers who want to catch a bit of March Madness during this week's SXSW music mania should check out the District Bar and Grill 4-8pm weekdays. Its happy hour prices include $2.50 well drinks, margaritas, and Bloody Marys, and $2.25 domestic bottled beers. Couple this with 25% off pizzas hot from its wood-fired oven, and you can belly up to the bar for a cozy and cheap meal deal before embarking on your SXSW odyssey. The District's happy hour is popular, though, so come early and secure a seat with a view of the big-screen TV if you plan to catch the game. -- R.F.
612 W. Sixth, 476-0612
Happy Hour: 4:30-6:30pm Mon-Fri
If you really want a meal without ponying up one shekel for food, go to Ninfa's on Sixth Street from 4:30-6:30pm Monday through Friday. At the bar, they offer dollar-off margaritas (fueled by a healthy dose of tequila), $2.25 imported beers, and $2.00 domestic beers with a free all-you-can-eat happy hour buffet. Although buffet items change every day, they usually include crispy tortilla chips, two kinds of salsa, pico de gallo, and chile con queso. The Ninfa's green chile salsa is some of the best I've ever tasted. When I ate there, the buffet also featured Old El Paso-style beef tacos; other nights might offer flautas or quesadillas. Although Mama Ninfa recently sold her bloated Tex-Mex empire to Serrano's, she has retained control of this one restaurant in Austin. Her happy hour deal is a downtown dreamland for those who want a strong drink and a quick feed. Who can say no to flavorful tacos, good chips, and delicious, creamy green chile salsa? -- R.F.
807 W. Sixth, 472-0693
Happy Hour: 4-7pm daily
Hut's hails from a time before the boom, before the computer chip industry, and before the hip celebrity scene invaded Austin. Although it has moved around several times since it opened in 1939 and has seen more than its share of owners, Hut's has stood in its present location since 1969. The funky diner-style building, built in stages between 1939 and 1954, is an architectural artifact from bygone days when cars had fins and real men sported pompadours. Walking into Hut's proffers a snapshot of Austin from another era. Likewise, the prices at Hut's will make you feel like you've stepped back in time. Every day from 4-7pm, longnecks are $1.25, and Bud Light drafts are just 75 cents. In lieu of a traditional happy hour, Hut's offers two-for-one meals from 6-10pm Mondays through Thursdays: two-for-one veggie burgers Monday; battered-and-fried, with a choice of chicken fried steak, fried chicken, or a fried veggie patty on Tuesday; hamburgers Wednesday; and chicken burgers Thursday. If hamburgers and fried stuff turn you on, don't pass up Hut's happy hour.
Z' Tejas Grill
1110 W. Sixth, 478-5355
Happy Hour: 5-7pm Mon-Fri
Located less than a mile from downtown, this dizzyingly popular West Austin hangout has long been in need of expansion. Now, a brand-new, tree-sweeping upper deck heightens the appeal of happy hour. Stop in between 5-7pm on weekdays, when drop-dead margaritas are balanced by half-price appetizers, which range from catfish beignets to quesadillas.
-- Meredith Phillips
The Warehouse District
Miguel's La Bodega
415 Colorado, 472-2369
Along with Manuel's, this place gets my vote for best happy hour deal. Starting at 5:30pm, Miguel's serves half-price appetizers paired with cheap drinks. The savory Duck Tacos topped with zesty pineapple salsa (only $2.25) are out of this world. Other appetizers include flautas, gorditas, and fried calamari. When I ate there, the fried calamari was slightly tough, but for a prodigious plateful served with lip-smacking chipotle aioli -- at a whopping $2.75, who can complain? Well drinks are 75 cents off and margaritas are $1 off. With well over a dozen types of designer tequila and lively salsa music to chase it down, Miguel's La Bodega will leave your toes tapping and your tummy happy. New Yorkers who hunger for a taste of Big Apple chutzpah will get it here if they ask for the smarmy bartender named Darshan. He'll dish out abuse as sweet as divine sighting. -- R.F.
314 Congress, 236-9463
More than one critic has touted the Grape Escape as the place to go to get a wine education. Indeed, this downtown hot spot, with its Tuscan-inspired decor and beautifully displayed wines, specializes in wine flights. Ordering a flight, quite simply, gets you four wine glasses, each filled with an ounce and a half of a different wine, plus a tasting "cheat sheet" and a little pencil to record your own thoughts about what you're imbibing. Flights feature names like "Funky Whites" and "The Best of the California Wineries and French Chateaux," and these hand-selected wines are also available by the glass, half glass (yes, you read right), or bottle. The Grape Escape has taken pains to pair its flights with its food, too, offering pizzas, salads, and the like listed as good matches for a particular wine selection. The early crowd at the Grape Escape is a sea of suits from the downtown legal and financial offices, but come 6pm, things loosen up a little and the mood becomes more casual and lively. -- R.C.
310 Congress, 472-7555
Happy Hour: 4-7pm daily; 10:30pm-midnight Fri & Sat
A longtime denizen of Austin's recently revitalized downtown, Manuel's has a happy hour fit for Aztec royalty, but with a price tag that won't leave you feeling like you've just pierced a vital organ with a stingray spine. Where else can two people graze on interior-style Mexican food while they sip Manuel's famous margaritas for just under $20? Every day from 4-7pm, the restaurant offers half-price appetizers and cheap drinks. Golden Margaritas are just $2.95, imported beers cost $2.50, and domestics just $2. Pair this with fresh shrimp, chicken with mole, or a potato-and-corn-stuffed gordita, and you've got yourself a happy hour feast. You may want to think twice, though, if you just want to fill up on chips. Although Manuel's offers the ubiquitous complimentary chips and salsa, the chips themselves taste like they come out of a plastic bag -- a bit of a disappointment considering Manuel's otherwise well-made cuisine. For those of us who have trouble making the late afternoon roll call, try their even happier hours on Friday and Saturday nights, when appetizers again become half price from 10:30 to midnight. -- R.F.
South of the River
Güero's Taco Bar
1412 S. Congress, 447-7688
Happy Hour: 3-7pm Mon-Fri
Güero's is an architectually entertaining Tex-Mex place whose biggest claim to fame thus far is the patronage of President Bill Clinton. But with the passage of time, such fleeting glory abates, and Güero's may someday be remembered instead for the clever names of its happy hour food specials. From 3-7pm Monday through Friday, you can savor such offerings as Nacho Big Daddy (nachos w/everything plus guacamole and beer, $7.99), In Queso Emergency ($4.29), or Grill and Swill (steak or chicken taco with margarita, $5.25, or beer, $4.50), names that will surely stand the test of time. Or you can choose the simpler route, with black bean tamales for 25 cents apiece, or the highly recommended tacos al pastor for $1.39 each. -- M.P.
Shaggy's Caribbean Grill
1600 S. Congress, 447-5375
Happy Hour: 3-7pm Mon-Fri
Shaggy's has a daily happy hour from 2-7pm, but the real deals are the daily specials, which run all day long. Sundays bring $2.75 Bloody Marys and $2 mimosas, and Mondays bring $2 for any pint (and there are a lot to choose from). Tuesday is $2 bottle day, Wednesday features $2.75 well drinks, Thursday has $2.75 Cuba Libres, Friday gives you domestic pints for $1.50 each, and, to round out the week, Saturday is $2 margaritas. Shaggy's hosts live music every night, and there's never a cover. So pick your day to wander in, grab a drink, hear some tunes, and try some cinnamon fries. -- M.P.
Mercedes Martinez Tex-Mex Restaurant & Bar
1613 S. First, 440-1889
Happy Hour: all day Mon; 2-7pm Tue-Fri
Named for the owner's mother, who inspired many of the recipes used for the dishes here, this Tex-Mex eatery is the newest addition to the colorful, thriving Mexican restaurant row on South First. The patio overlooking Bouldin Creek is a relaxing place to while away a few hours before attacking the clubs again. The happy hour deal here is $1.50 domestic beers, $2 imports, and $1 for their Tiny Ritas. And as long as you're drinking, everything on the appetizer menu (quesadillas, stuffed jalapeños, chile con queso, etc.) is available for half price. -- V.W.
Tree House Grill
2201 College, 443-4200
Happy Hour: 3-6pm Mon-Fri
Being a mile and a half south of the Congress Avenue Bridge puts the Tree House Grill about three minutes from downtown by car, and it's immediately recognizable because of the 600-year-old oak tree wending its way up through the patio. Whether you sit outside or in, the oak is a presence that complements the Italian cuisine, especially the experience of half-price appetizers weekdays from 3-6pm. Smoked Norwegian salmon, sausage and peppers, and steamed mussels are just a few of the appetizers offered here for prices ranging from two to four dollars. And look for $1 off glasses of wine and $2 imported beers to wash down such daily specials as antipasto and crab claws. -- M.P.
614 E. Oltorf, 444-0012
Happy Hour: all day Mon-Thu
Every once in a while, you find someplace where you want to eat at least once a week. For me -- and judging by the situation in the parking lot and the lines winding out the door, apparently for everyone else in town, too -- Curra's falls into this category. The fact that it has a convenient happy hour (all day Monday-Thursday and until 6pm Friday) doesn't hurt. Nor does the fact that it offers an avocado margarita, stellar limeade, and on special occasions, delicious horchata along with consistently above-average food. -- M.P.
Old Alligator Grill
3003 S. Lamar, 444-6117
Happy Hour: 3-7pm Mon-Sat; all day Sun
This popular South Austin Cajun joint boasts a very devoted happy-hour crowd. What's not to like? Whether you choose to belly up to the bar or lounge at an outdoor table under the trees, you can woof down boiled shrimp (10 cents each), fiery hot wings (25 cents each), and guaranteed safe fresh oysters (25 cents each) until you pop. (The owners get all their oysters from a Louisiana company that developed a process that kills any potentially harmful bacteria in the beloved bivalves.) Wash it all down with $2 pints of draft, $1.75 domestic bottled beer, $2 Bloody Marys, and $1.75 well drinks. While we find its frozen margaritas ($3 at happy hour) to be a little on the watery side, the grill is the home of one of our all-time favorite appetizers. Cajun Kisses ($4.99 at happy hour) are delectable shrimp filled with cheese-stuffed jalapeño, wrapped with smoky bacon, and grilled to a perfect crisp. They'll fill up your stomach and light up your lips. -- V.W.
North of the Capitol/ East of UT
The Clay Pit
1601 Guadalupe, 322-5131
Happy Hour: 4-6pm Mon-Fri
This classy new contemporary Indian eatery makes its home in the oldest commercial building in Austin, the Bertram building (c. 1850), a substantial limestone edifice to the west of the capitol. The happy hour here is still relatively undiscovered. Slip into the well-appointed bar from 4-6pm and choose from the inviting list of single malt Scotches, vodkas, or tequilas, unless you're a martini lover and the sophisticated martini menu grabs you first. Once drinks are ordered, nibble on a basket of whisper-thin chipatis with three tempting chutneys while perusing the appetizer menu, where everything is delicious and half price for the moment. The Mussels in Garlic Curry Sauce ($6.95) are simply divine, and we're also partial to the Coriander-crusted Calamari ($5.95) with an aioli sauce for dipping. Vegetarian options include both Pakora ($3.95) and Samosas ($3.50), and baskets of warm, fragrant naan fresh from the tandoor can be had for a pittance. One happy hour visit may not be enough. -- V.W.
Calabash Caribbean Restaurant
2015 Manor, 478-4857
Happy Hour: 4-7pm Tue-Fri
This brightly painted Eastside home is Austin's premier Caribbean restaurant. The regular menu of authentic island dishes from around the Caribbean is pretty affordable even without discounts. For your happy hour drinking
pleasure, the Calabash will gladly make you a deal on its delightful selection of giant rum drinks ($1 off) or give you a price break on Caribbean and other imported beers. Relax on its comfortable, tree-shaded patio with a frosty Red Stripe and feel your troubles drift away. -- V.W.
2002 Manor 479-5006
Happy Hour: 4-7pm Mon-Fri
Hoover's is fast becoming Austin's new favorite spot for down-home cooking. We've seen UT athletes, state politicians, business folks, and neighborhood church ladies enjoying the homestyle fare of native son Hoover Alexander in this comfortable, unpretentious place. Stop by here at happy hour and you'll find a discount on beer and well drinks, with appetizer prices cut in half. Sample an order of the incendiary pepper sauce-marinated and smoked Aus-Tex Wings ($4.99), and when your lips stop quivering, try the Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas ($4.99). The smoky burn of chipotles is evident in the house Salsa & Chips ($2.49) and the rich Tex-Mex style Queso ($3.99), as well. This whole joint is smokin'. -- V.W.
504 Trinity, 478-8444
This "just off Sixth Street" brewpub and bar runs its happy hours according to its larger nightly specials, most of which make for a very crowded large space. Tuesdays are the Tank's pint nights, which require the purchase of a special $5 glass which can be refilled for a buck all night. Wednesdays bring a dollar off the regular priced beers, and drink specials switch to liquor for Thursday night martini specials (a three-drink shaker for $6) with a pasta bar for ballast. End-of-the-week celebrations start early, when the bar pours $2 everything (liquor, beer, whatever) all night. -- Pableaux Johnson
Waterloo Brewing Company
410 Guadalupe, 477-1836
Happy Hour: 3-7pm Sun-Fri
Drinking cheap at this Warehouse District standby can be pretty easy, so the challenge becomes drinking cheapest -- and their whole day specials take the fuss out of that as well. All day Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, Waterloo beerkeeps will pour a pint for $2.25, with prices dropping to $1.50 on Wednesdays. Thursday, a pint will cost you a buck more ($2.50, and still a good price), with Fridays holding the brewpub's only traditional happy hour, with $2.50 pints from 3-7pm. It's a lot to memorize, but the math gets really easy if you can hit the 'Loo for its daily "Happiest Hour" (5-6pm), when pints of their house brews flow for a mere $1.25. -- P.J.
Bitter End Bistro & Brewery
311 Colorado, 478-2337
Happy Hour: 3-6pm daily
Unlike the other popular beer bars, where nightly special schedules read like Mexican train schedules, the Bitter End (and its comfortable underground tap room, the B-Side) has a more straightforward system: $2 pints from 3-6pm daily. The stylish (but narrow) restaurant bar fills up fast and furious most weekdays, but the darker, more intimate B-Side usually has a few secluded nooks up for grabs. It's also a great chance to sample the full range of gold-medal brewmaster Tim Schwartz's latest creations -- a worthwhile pursuit if ever there was one. -- P.J.
Happy Hour Pool Parties
The Cue Lounge
409-A Colorado, 322-0051
Happy Hour: 4-7pm Mon-Fri
The Cue Lounge is a TV generation's nirvana, with its small ratio of people to screens: Large TVs hang in typical fashion near the bar. A nearly wall-size screen glows above the pool tables in the back. Small, tableside monitors are inset at each booth that lines the wall, and a rooftop satellite dish provides countless channels for personal surfing while you dine. This pool hall/restaurant space is huge, however, and accommodates some dining and lounge areas out of videowaves' way. A handsome horseshoe-shaped bar, the restaurant's most attractive feature, seats a large crowd at dark wooden stools. A quaint side bar is a more intimate spot for four. Pool is taken seriously here, as the name of the restaurant might suggest, with five full tables in the back room going for $10/hour. During happy hour, pool is half price and so are appetizers. The Cue also discounts all drinks from its full bar by a dollar and offers a small free buffet replete with chips and dips toward the end of the week. Besides that, it serves a full menu of casual food until 1am. Another bonus: There's an ATM machine inside. -- Ronna N. Welsh
304 W. Fourth, 473-8801
Happy Hour: 4-7pm Mon-Fri
Many out-of-towners know the Gingerman from its other locations (Houston, New York), where it receives constant raves for being a top beer bar. Besides offering 100 different types of bottled beer, the bar pours over 80 kinds from the tap. Happy hour will get you 50 cents off pints and $1 off pitchers. There is only one pool table here (75 cents a game), watched over by a wall of beer cans. But the game is still serious, if not subdued. Patrons prize their seats in this place, snatching up a dark, leathered corner booth near the pool table, a chair near the jukebox, or an end stool at the bar. Small groups come early to stake claim to one of three cozy lounge areas inside, each appointed with furniture and side tables you'd envision in an Englishman's personal library. As the weather warms, the back courtyard fills with groups crowding around a dozen large picnic tables, carved with the initials of patrons past. They don't serve food here, but munchies from the bar, like soft pretzels and empanadas, keep this twenty- to thirtysomething crowd around much of the night. -- R.W.
The Hole in the Wall
2538 Guadalupe, 472-5599
Happy Hour: 4-7pm Mon-Fri
If you're making multiple SXSW rounds, you're bound to wind up at this "world famous" restaurant-bar. The Hole in the Wall, as the name suggests, is a tiny, no-frills haunt for all types who like their music loud and will deal with others' smoke in their face. It has been at the forefront of Austin music for decades; truly, it is a local institution. The bar sits opposite the UT campus, but still draws on crowds from around town, who come for the live music nightly. It serves some good Texas pub grub for lunch and dinner, including a sandwich called "The Reality," which is all about loving chicken fried steak. The large back room of the bar is quieter, filled with pinging pool balls and ringing arcade games. Pool goes for 50 cents a pop. During happy hour, pitchers of Shiner Bock are $5 and most well drinks are priced under $3. A free, small buffet takes over an entire pool table on Friday afternoons. -- R.W.
The Ritz Lounge
320 E. Sixth, 474-9574
Happy Hour: 4-8pm Mon-Fri
The Ritz is a huge space filled with two long bars, a quirky lounge area, eight pool tables, a small movie screen, and a space for music. The main sunken floor fills up early with regular foosball, air hockey, and pool players, and with loud jukebox tunes. With its prime Sixth Street location, the Ritz stays crowded like this until the end of the night. When happy hour groups finish their games, they gather around the collection of bright, vinyl-covered chairs and tables in one of two lounge areas downstairs or head upstairs for live music. Pool here costs 75 cents, although three tables are free. The Ritz prices beer at $1.50 a bottle and $2 for draft at happy hour. Well drinks start at $2, and the bar attracts its share of after-office mixed drinkers along with barstool regulars and serious late-night pool players. There is no food here, but patrons can run next door for a slice of pizza when hunger sets in.
604 Neches, 477-1268
Happy Hour: 4-7pm Mon-Fri
Lovejoy's is another "typical Austin" bar, because of its quirky concept. It is a modest homebrew bar and coffeehouse that prides itself on serving "intelligent ales for discriminating palates" and on its diverse clientele. The bar fills up with a mix of young coffee and beer drinkers of all persuasions, a crowd commonly defined by their disinterest in surrounding dance clubs and daiquiri bars. Lovejoy's houses probably the most interesting wall art of all the pool lounges, like the "Texified" rendition of the Last Supper. It is also the only place that prefers a coffin for a table top. Big booths line the walls and found furniture fills up the remaining roomy space. Lovejoy's brew is cheap most of the time, and especially during happy hour, at $2 for a pint for its own house brews or for local Shiner and Celis beers. All other pints are just $2.50. It stocks two full bars as well, making a point of advertising snifter and coffee drinks. Pool at its two tables is free during happy hour. -- R.W.
Marisco Grill, Jazz: A Louisiana Kitchen, The Iron Cactus, Knucklhead's Garage Bar And Grill, Highlife Cafe, Stubb's Bar-b-q, Jean-luc's French Bistro, Hut's, District Bar And Grill, Ninfa's, Z' Tejas, Miguel's La Bodega, Manuel's, The Grape Escape, Güero's Taco Bar, Shaggy's Caribbean Grill, Mercedes Martinez Tex-mex Restaurant & Bar, Tree House Grill, Old Alligator Grill, The Clay Pit