Five New Local Options to Shake Things Up With Your Happy Hour Crew
Happy hour is the best hour, and there’s a Tiki Tatsu-Ya coming soon
By Emily Beyda,
1:25PM, Fri. Jun. 22, 2018
Is there anything happier than happy hour? While it’s true that sometimes these after work gatherings get a bad rap in a city as rich in bars and underpaid creative types as Austin (looking at you, wildly popular memes about getting wasted at Applebee's), happy hour hopping can be a great way to taste your way through town on a budget.
For those of us with nontraditional work situations, it’s the perfect way to add some structure to our days. For you mythical real-job-havers of the world, it’s a great reminder that, you know, you’re allowed to actually stop working and enjoy yourselves in the evenings. Happy hour deals seem to spring up like mushrooms after a rainstorm, and, just this month, we’ve welcomed several newcomers into the fold.
Guild, the seafood-driven, seasonally-inspired restaurant, is expanding their happy hour to include exclusive new items. The happy hour – Tuesday through Friday, 5pm-7pm – now offers mixed dozen oysters, vegan summer ceviche, lavender-brined fried chicken, clam beignets, and whitewater mussels. But we all know it’s really about the bevs: Get ready for the Fiery Mule with jalapeno slices, the Dark N Shandy, and their Gin-ger Tini with grapefruit soda. You might be able to handle all three if you order extra brioche with your coastal platter.
This new restaurant’s gentile setting in the historic Victorian house, Haynes-DeLashwah House built in 1890, belies the unpretentious good time to be had inside. The menu highlights South Texas classics with a contemporary twist, all of it made with locally-sourced meat and produce from the Hill Country, and wild caught Gulf Coast seafood. The high quality ingredients shine in dishes like the ceviche tostada, where super fresh lime juice-marinated seafood is topped with avocado and pepper sauce, or the housemade smoked cheddar jalapeno sausage with whole grain mustard. Wash it all down with an impossibly refreshing glass of their watermelon mint paloma.
You probably waited in line for a long time in the early days of Loro, hoping to get your hands on a slab of that Franklin-style smoked meat with a twist. Fortunately for your aching arches, the happy hour scene here is considerably more chill. Running a little early, from 2-5pm for the day drinking varsity squad members, the menu includes a couple of boozy slushies (the best way to wipe away the cares of a sweaty workday), and a limited selection of favorites from the menu. Try the cheeseburger, which honestly would make a respectable late lunch for two. It boasts supersized umami with the red onions and Muenster cheese, some of that famous brisket, and a housemade dill pickle spear. At happy hour, the brisket is served in tostada form, piled on to crispy mini-tortillas and topped with creme fresh and shishito salsa verde.
Known for being a great place to pick up pastries before heading to a fancy friend’s house for brunch, Walton’s is stepping up their happy hour game with their brand new summertime bon apero series. They’re offering fruity summertime cocktails like the peachy green, a refreshing blend of Deep Eddy peach vodka, iced green tea, and mint simple syrup, as well as continentally-inflected “fancy snacks.” Try the smoked salmon tartare, served over challah toast with apples, capers, dill, and chevre labneh, or the mini croque-monsieurs, a rich combination of gruyere and ham napped in bechamel-soaked pain au levain. It’s almost enough to help you imagine making enough money to vacation in France this year.
My friend Erin always says that she can tell how long someone has been dating in Austin by asking them if they’re willing to go on dates to The Domain. If you’re on the far side of that curve, or happen to, you know, actually live somewhere other than downtown or the east side, the northern branch of Second Bar & Kitchen’s new happy hour is a welcome respite from the happy hour adjacent traffic on I-35. Serving savory bites like truffle fries, flatbreads, and a weirdly addicting chorizo-topped guacamole fundido, as well as a list of special happy hour only cocktails, it might tempt even the happily coupled to make the drive up north.
Ok, so, it’s not technically officially open yet, but we’re too excited about this one to leave it off the list. According to their June 14 post on Instagram, they’ll open later this year. Ramen Tatsu-Ya and Kemuri Tatsu-Ya already offer some of the most booze-friendly menus (and the cutest novelty glasses) in town, and this new venture, poised to open right next door to their South Lamar location, promises to be a happy variation on the theme. The team promises funky interpretations of classic Tiki drinks like the Zombie and the Singapore Sling, plus brand new creations mixing Tiki’s aesthetic exuberance with Japanese flavors, as well as their take on Tiki cuisine.