Boston happy hours are all about food. (Why, you ask? The Puritans started it.) Still, not all happy hour specials are created equal -- dismal, stringy wings or overcooked sliders aren’t deals at any price. So here are our picks for the best deals in town and when you need to hit them up. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered for every day of the week.
BISqAddress and Info
When: Monday through Thursday 5:30-7; Sunday 5:30-close
Buck a shuck nights are only as good as the oysters. At BISq, the happy hour oysters may be inexpensive -- but they’re not “cheap.” You get premium quality, beautifully shucked oysters that you can wash down with a selection from the eclectic wine list or rotating local taps. Of course, you probably won’t be able to resist some of the best charcuterie in Boston while you’re there, but with all the money you’re saving on oysters, who cares?
$1, $3, and $5 tapas
EstragonAddress and Info
When: Monday through Thursday 5-7pm
One of Boston’s best tapas bars has a beloved “tapas blitz” during the week. Get more than half off menu favorites like grilled baby octopus, crispy fried chickpeas, and roast Brussels sprouts with chorizo (plus, there are usually off-menu specials). You never know what might be on offer so it’s best to go several times to check it out. You know, for science.
All you can eat tacos for $9
LolitaAddress and Info
When: Mondays after 5pm
Mondays are terrible. So start celebrating Taco Tuesday Eve by eating all the beef or chicken tacos your little heart desires at sexy, red-lit Lolita. Monday might even turn out to be downright fun (trust me here) since you have to order one of their killer margaritas or some sangria in order to indulge in taco nirvana. Tough times, right?
$2 grilled cheese
DanteAddress and Info
When: Tuesdays after 5:30
If you had too many margaritas on Monday night while you were eating a nonstop string of tacos, perhaps you need a little comfort food the day after. Chef Dante de Magistris has your back with a different melty, gooey, crispy, soul-satisfying grilled cheese every single Tuesday. For two dollars. Two. Dollars.
$45 dinner for two
Myers + ChangAddress and Info
When: Monday and Tuesday 5-10pm
Start your week off right with some of the best, most interesting Asian food in town -- for cheap. Chef/owner Joanne Chang and Executive Chef Karen Akunowicz put their own spin on happy hour by offering a few different prix-fixe menus on Mondays and Tuesdays perfect for date nights. With items like green curry lobster and Korean BBQ sloppy joes, you might never resort to Monday night takeout Chinese again.
The Kinsale and The AsgardAddress and Info
Government Center and Central Square
When: Mondays after 5pm
These quarter-priced wings are anything but quarter-sized. Big, meaty, and flavorful, the wings from these twin Irish restaurants let you eat your carnivorous heart out on Mondays no matter what side of the river you call home.
$2 sliders and more
5 Napkin BurgerAddress and Info
When: 7 days a week, 4-7pm & 9pm-close
Sometimes you really need a tiny burger. Sometimes you need to eat that tiny burger in a fancy place (i.e., not your car) with a good beer. If such a need overtakes you, check out 5 Napkin Burger’s generously available happy hours at the bar all week long. The happy hour specials also include vegetarian options and hand rolls if you’re feeling really fancy.
Haru SushiAddress and Info
When: Monday through Friday, 3-7 & 10-close; Saturday 3-6
Like 5 Napkin Burger, Haru is a NYC-based small chain that’s looking to win Bostonians’ hearts and stomachs. Their happy hour may be the strongest tool in their arsenal, offering top quality sushi and apps at a wallet-friendly price. Get panko-crusted shrimp and avocado skewers for $6, or a spicy salmon roll with preserved lemon and eel for $7 -- specials are available at the bar and sushi bar.
Half off bar bites
Morton’s The SteakhouseAddress and Info
When: Sunday through Friday, 4:30-6pm & 9pm-close
If you’re dining out on your client’s business account, by all means, go to Morton’s for the full experience. If you’re going as a mere mortal, check out their happy hour specials at the bar instead. Truffle fries and filet mignon sandwiches might just make you feel like a millionaire.
Sign up here for our daily Boston email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun the Hub has to offer.
1. BISq1071 Cambridge Street, Cambridge
2. Estragon Tapas700 Harrison Ave , Boston
3. Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar271 Dartmouth St, Boston
4. Restaurant Dante40 Edwin H Land Blvd, Cambridge
5. Myers + Chang1145 Washington St, Boston
6. Kinsale2 Center Plz, Boston
7. The Asgard350 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
8. 5 Napkin Burger105 Huntington Ave, Boston
9. Haru Sushi55 Huntington Ave, Boston
10. Morton's Steakhouse2 Seaport Ln, Boston
Contrary to popular belief, BISq is not a soup shop, instead it's an inviting, upscale small plate restaurant with an impressive wine list and none of the pretension. Although it specializes in charcuterie, you can also find flavor-packed dishes like, lobster with pear butter and Brussel sprouts, oysters on the half shell, Grilled Swordfish Belly, rotating taquitos, and Chicken Liver Mousse with pickled shallots and bread sticks. Every Friday and Saturday evening it offers a Suckling Pig Roast, first come first serve, and on Sunday there’s a brief brunch window for American classics like, Steak and Eggs, Corned Beef Hash, and Fried Chicken.
The South End is known for its quirky, trendy dining joints and Estragon Tapas fits the bill with the unlikely pairing of authentic Spanish tapas and an extensive wine list with the American diner appeal of its black and white tiled floor, vintage furnishings, and art deco decor. Choose from giant helpings of spiced paellas, vegetable small plates like Coles de Bruselas (roasted brussel sprouts with chorizo), fish options like Gambas al Ajillo (seared garlic shrimp), or land-born offerings like Pincho Moruno (pork skewers with a sesame miso dressing). Out of the Spanish wines, specialty cocktails, and 20 beers, the favorite is the tart and refreshing Tamarind Margarita that you can get by the glass or the pitcher. Pro tip: stop in Monday through Thursday for “Tapas Blitz” (small plates for $5 or less a piece).
Lolita is Back Bay’s vampy, dimly lit tequila temple with over 50 different types along with Mexican-inspired cuisine. Pair tequila flights, one of the many margaritas (think a Spicy Cucumber made with blanco tequila, serrano chilies, and muddled cucumber), a plain old cerveza, or, if you’re feeling fancy, a $100 tequila with one of many authentic Mexican dishes like, thick yucca fries, crispy beef and pork empanadas, and flavorful Carne Asada with skirt steak, roasted red peppers, and charred jalapeños. On the less traditional side, the menu features Pork Meatballs al Pastor with pineapple chile sauce and sweet, crunchy Chopped Jicama Salad with manchego cheese and chile-lime ranch dressing. The kitchen stays open late Thursday through Saturday, and Monday is all you can eat tacos.
Situated in the Royal Sonesta Hotel right on the Charles, Restaurant Dante serves a modern Italian menu and wine list with a view. Enjoy your grilled octopus, slow roasted duck gnocchi, poached Artic Char with roasted turnips, or hyper-fresh beef “Cut of the Day” in the simple, elegant, and light-drenched restaurant. Or if the weather is warm, have your meal on the spacious patio with a local brew or a specialty, house-infused cocktails like the Black Dhalia (cranberry black tea vodka, lemon, and house-made grenadine) or the Beatrix Kiddo (tequila, mint, cucumber, lime, and habanero vinegar). If you try nothing else, give the traditional, rich, custardy Tiramisu a try… you won’t be disappointed.
From the creator of Boston-favorite Flour Bakery, Asian-inspired Myers + Chang cooks up American twists on Taiwanese, Thai, and Vietnamese classics in its quirky South End location. The “punchy and craveable” menu options range from “Dim Sum-y Things” like a rich Crab Rangoon Dip to “Buns, Baos, Rolls + a Taco” like a tangy Korean BBQ Sloppy Joe to “Mama Chang’s Favorites” with options like, Wok Roasted Mussels with grilled garlic toast and Twice-Cooked Lamb Belly Stirfry with hot mustard and noodles. At lunch try variations on Vietnamese Banh Mi like Braised Shortrib and Asian Pear with traditional carrot-daikon slaw, pickled jalapenos, and sriracha aioli dressings. Stop in with a date on Monday or Tuesdays for themed menus and great deals on shareable meals.
The Kinsale wasn’t always located in Boston’s Government Center. Previously designed and built in Ireland, the pub was dismantled and transplanted stateside where today it maintains a cult following of guests thirsty for craft bottled and canned brews and hungry for an extensive pub food menu of starters, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and traditional Irish dishes, like Shepherd’s Pie with lamb, potato, market vegetables, and natural jus, and Fenian Chicken Pasta with sautéed chicken, applewood bacon, sundried bacon, red onions, mushrooms, fresh basil, orechiette, and cream sauce. Enjoy the rib-sticking fare in Kinsale’s warm, cozy space, decorated with Celtic motifs and fine, Irish-crafted wood from floor to ceiling.
Present meets past at the Asgard Irish Pub and Restaurant in Cambridge, where flat-screen TVs are juxtaposed with centuries-old, Ireland-imported décor and furnishings in what is a hotbed for khaki-clad MIT students who visit for the cheap wing deals and extensive craft beer list. Try Asgard’s bar bites, like the Ale Onion Soup with sherry, ale, brown bread, and Irish Cheddar, truffled tater tots, baked Brie with brown bread crostini, and genuine Irish meatloaf with seasoned beef and pork, mushroom gravy, haricots verts, and mashed colcannon, traditionally made with potatoes and cabbage.
If you find yourself wandering Back Bay absolutely famished, 5 Napkin Burger offers you hunger antidotes in the form of thick, juicy, and satisfying burgers made with 100% Aspen Ridge chuck and served on house potato bread. The Original 5 Napkin Burger is topped with gooey Gruyere, rosemary-garlic aioli, and slightly sweet caramelized onions to balance out all that savory. If you’re feeling extra decadent (you’ve come to the right place), the Truffle burger is a no-brainer, with its house-made porcini ketchup, fired egg, and black-and-white truffle butter. As a prelude to your beefy entrée, opt for avocado hummus with crispy peas and pomegranate or tuna poke nachos with marinated tuna, avocado, chips, and wasabi cream.
Chain darling Haru Sushi’s Back Bay location offers all of the usual sushi, sashimi suspects, alongside an extensive selection of high-quality Japanese sides. The menu is comprised of salads, soups, hot entrees (try the Crispy Duck with ginger-scallion pancakes and black plum hoisin), and specialty rolls, like the Boston Uncommon, with crunchy spicy salmon, tuna, avocado, mango black tobiko, and gold lead (only available at the Boston location, so Haru snobs, you most definitely have a reason to come here). The restaurant’s cocktail concoction highlights include fun, fruity options -- like the tropical Svedka Mango-Pineapple and hibiscus syrup-mixed Tiki Taki Martini -- to bolster its colorful and fresh array of sushi and seafood.
What started with some hamburgers in Montreal has turned into the Morton’s Steakhouse national phenomenon serving variations of steak and high class seafood from swanky locales. In Seaport, Morton’s dishes out Ahi Tuna Towers, a hearty, meaty Beef Short Rib Bolognese, Whole Baked Maine Lobsters, and a variety of Prime cuts of steak (think Center Cut Prime Rib-eye and a Bone-In Veal Chop) in front of panoramic views of Boston’s waterfront. Enjoy classic cocktails and some of the world’s finest beers (think Lindemans Raspberry Lambic and Fuller's Vintage Ale) at the bar with some cheap bar bites like Mini Crab Cake BLTs.