Food & Drink

Houston's Best Happy Hour Food Specials for $5 or Less

Published On 05/04/2016 Published On 05/04/2016
punk's simple southern food, chicken-fry biscuit
Courtesy of Debora Smail/Punk’s Simple Southern Food

Punk’s Simple Southern Food

Rice Village

Happy hour: Tues-Fri 4-7pm at the bar
Good ol’ Southern hospitality extends to the no joke wallet-friendly prices at this Rice Village charmer. Just be careful, because you may find yourself addicted to their Southern-fried lineup, including things like $3 chicken-fry biscuits, $5 pimiento cheese balls, and also $5 real-deal Frito pie.




Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 5-7pm
Making your way through the not-so-traditional izakaya menu at this swanky Japanese spot is always a good time, especially when you’re not burning a hole in your pocket. Yakitori, king trumpet mushrooms, and red miso shishito peppers are all only $4 each, and during the season, happy hour oysters can be had for $1 at the bar and $2 in the dining room and on the patio. Get it all with seriously tasty drink specials, including, but not limited to, sake flight Wednesdays and half-price wine Thursdays.

Courtesy of Joshua Black Wilkins

Eight Row Flint


Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 2-6pm
They say talk is cheap. We say so are tacos. Though these high-quality numbers from the ingredient-driven food truck permanently parked at this whiskey bar taste anything but. Normally the lineup filled with awesome stuff like Berkshire pork and charred scallion or grilled Gulf fish and togarashi can run you up to $6, but happy hour lowers that price to just $3.



Happy hour: Mon-Fri 4-8pm, Sat & Sun noon-8pm + daily specials
As we literally just discussed, tacos aren’t known to hurt your bank account. This taco and tequila temple takes things one step further by proving the same to be true for tamales, loaded nachos, stuffed jalapeños, chips and queso, chips and guac, and elote, as all are just $5 at HH. In other totally dope news, there’s also $1 Taco Tuesdays, $5 Green Chile Burger Thursdays, and $1.95 late night tamales.

Dish Society

Dish Society


Happy hour: Mon-Fri 3:30-6:30pm
Craft brews for $3.50 go down easier with $5 farm-to-table bites. Since all of those bites are totally fresh and local -- think goat cheese and berry bruschetta, pretzels with gouda queso, citrus-quinoa-stuffed avocado, and smoky maple pork belly bites with candied Texas pecans -- you won’t even feel bad about stuffing your face.

Beer Market Co.

Beer Market Co


Happy hour: Mon-Fri 2-7pm + daily specials
In addition to a library of over 365 craft brews and money-saving happy hour specials, this sports-gastropub runs nightly promotions to help you eat on a dime. By a dime, we mean like several dimes because we’re sorry, but nothing good costs 10 cents these days. Monday’s 50 cent wings hit the spot, as do Tuesday’s $2 tacos.

Bovine & Barley


Happy hour: Tues-Sun 4-7pm
If you love yourself a good $5 happy hour menu as much as we do, this cool kid’s craft brewpub should be in your #HH rotation. Don’t expect basic eats here. Instead you’ll find excellence in the form of crispy fried chicken skin cracklings, bovine & truffle-hinted poutine, wasabi hot wings, and sesame rib-eye rolls.

Courtesy of State of Grace

State of Grace

River Oaks

Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 3-6pm
So you obviously can’t get that sick seafood tower above for $5 because that’d be insane. You can, however, hit their Oyster Room to get an excellent roster of East Coast, West Coast, and Third Coast oysters, which taste even more excellent when they’re $1 each during happy hour.



Happy hour: Mon-Fri 3-7pm, Sat 3-6pm
The only thing cooler than Monday through Saturday sushi happy hour is the fact that all appetizers, which are already wallet-friendly at $4 each, are BOGO. That means you can get gyoza AND a spicy salmon roll or squid tempura AND a dynamite roll for less than a Lincoln.

Doc's Bar & Grill

Doc’s Bar & Grill


Daily specials vary
While this totally chill Austin import’s happy hour specials hit right above the threshold at $6 each, the daily food specials fit right inside that sweet spot. Half-price burgers smothered with things like blue cheese and peppercorn sauce (Mon), $5 sliders and colossal pans of cheese fries (Tues) and $1 crispy tacos and $5 nachos (Wed), and $5 wing baskets (Thurs) are just a part of the good times. Real cheap drinks specials are another.



River Oaks (& Woodlands)

Happy hour: Everyday 4-7pm, Thursday all day
Though you may think this Latin American classic requires fancypants, impeccable ahi tuna ceviche, chicken and beef empanadas, and ethereally light chicken wings with habanero-papaya sauce are all within budget when you dine at the bar, lounge, or patio during happy hour. Sadly, you’ll have to throw out an extra two bucks if you want the $7 lobster corn dogs (worth it).

Red Lion Pub

River Oaks

Daily specials: Burger Mondays + “Night Owl” bites
Perfect pours, rowdy Brits, and traditional pub eats keeps this neighborhood watering hole steadily packed. The best bang for your buck is on Mondays, when 1/2lb burgers are $5 a pop; and late night, when Night Owl specials include $5 keema pizza and mac & cheese, $4 pile o’ frites, and $1.50 sliders.

BRC American Gastropub

BRC Gastropub


Happy hour: Mon-Fri 3-7pm
Named after a big red cock (calm down, it’s a rooster) that sits proudly out front, this spunky haunt is a fine place to prevent/cure a hangover by filling yourself with delicious eats whilst you drink. Partaking in $5 “Apps & Taps” -- some of which include BACON JAM -- is exactly how you do that. Get chicken-fried pork belly with bacon jam, cheddar biscuits with bacon jam, and queso-smothered poutine and salmon tartare crostini that aren’t covered with bacon jam, but that’s OK.

Oporto Fooding House & Wine


Happy hour: Mon-Fri 3-6:30pm
Sometimes happy hour is less of a tornado of fire shots and pizza and more of a classy affair, as is the case at this sultry Portuguese spot. Cheap petiscos include $5 piri piri patatas, smoked salmon crostini, and grilled chorizo with romesco. Also $5? The super refreshing glass of sangria you are using to wash it all down.

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1. Punk's Simple Southern Food 5212 Morningside Dr, Houston, TX 77005

Grandma’s fried chicken, sweet corn hushpuppies, and other Southern favorites are on the menu at this spunky Rice Village soul food spot from Clark Cooper Concepts. All the recipes have been handed down for generations, including Chef Brandi Key’s buttermilk biscuits which are offered -- stuffed and smothered -- in a mix & match biscuit bar, which sounds like it belongs in fat kid heaven. The interior feels like a modernized version of a Western saloon, carrying the restaurant's concept through both space and cuisine.

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2. Izakaya 318 Gray St, Houston, TX 77002

This Midtown gastropub serves up Japanese small plates from culinary jedis Manabu Horiuchi (of Kata Robata) and Jean-Philippe Gaston (of the late and great Cove). The drinks are as important as the food, and you’ll have just as much fun partaking in flights of Japanese whisky as you will making your way through the not-so-traditional izakaya menu. Heavy wood tones and painted concrete floors add a luxe industrial element to the space, as do the prismatic murals done by a local tattoo artist. Snag a spot on the patio in warmer months.

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3. Eight Row Flint 1039 Yale St, Houston, TX 77008

Eight Row Flint is a modern Texas icehouse in the Heights featuring over 100 whiskey selections (and named after the heirloom corn first used to distill whiskey in the US). To pair with your whiskey flight or bourbon on tap are tacos via food truck, located on-site, and delivered to your post at the bar. They offer five kinds of tacos, chips, guacamole, and of course, queso. And while the whiskey is the star of the beverage program -- and you should definitely drink it -- Eight Row Flint appeals to the non-whiskey drinker with 16 beers on tap and a larger selection in bottles, as well as craft cocktails served shaken, stirred, or frozen. And if you’re feeling fancy, their “Cheap Thrills” is a $3 whiskey shot, offered (and suggested) alongside a High Life for just $1 extra.

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4. Pistolero's 1517 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

This Montrose taco and tequila temple covers all the bases when you're craving Mexican. From Dia de los Muertos decor to street-style corn and house-infused tequilas, you're getting a fiesta with every visit. It's known for great happy hour deals in addition to Taco Tuesday, when you can snag the stuffed tortillas for $1 each.

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5. Dish Society 5740 San Felipe, Houston, TX 77057

This modern spot in the Galleria offers an upmarket take on Southern fare with supplies from the nearby Atkinson Farms and Black Hill Ranch, among others. Counter service by day and table service by night create a balance between casual and classy, especially with the addition of a table service "social hour" in the late afternoon. A craft beer or something from the approachable wine list will keep your taste buds occupied while you peruse through the menus of shareable plates and larger entrees like brisket stuffed sweet potatoes and citrus-glazed salmon.

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6. Beer Market Co. 920 Studemont St, Houston, TX 77007

The cozy drinkery in Washington houses the largest selection of brews in the city – 365 to be exact – which it rotates regularly so that "you won’t get bored." It also has TVs flanking every inch of wall space, plenty of covered outdoor seating, and seriously good pub grub, from burgers to wings. There's even a stage set up for live music when there are no big games on.

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7. Bovine & Barley 416 Main St, Houston, TX 77002

This cool-kid's craft brewpub is famous for their ginormous HTX marquee letters and forty-two taps of barley. The spacious room is a nice change from other downtown Houston bars where you’re used to being packed like sardines. A projector wall gives this hotspot the edge for catching a game, and the fantastic food deals on their meat-centric menu will fill you up without breaking the bank.

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8. Oishii Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar 3764 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77046

Sushi, tempura, teriyaki and other classic Japanese fare run the show at this family-owned Greenway restaurant. The space is undecorated and casual, putting focus on the reliably good food at reasonable prices, especially during happy hour when many rolls and appetizers are buy-one-get-one. It's a great solo lunch spot, especially for businesspeople, given the free Wifi access.

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9. Doc’s Motorworks Bar & Grill 1303 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

Austin import Doc's is a great neighborhood bar with a relaxed vibe and zero pretension save for the impressive 50 taps of craft brew, which we'd never object to. This Montrose spot also has a 100-seat patio and plenty of Tex-Mex-inspired pub fare. It's the kind of place where you can kick back and watch the game with friends, go on a casual date or just show up by yourself for a beer with some friendly strangers at the bar.

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10. Américas 2040 W Gray St, Houston, TX 77019

This Pan Latin restaurant in River Oaks delivers traditional dishes modified by ingredients native to the Americas. Ceviches, empanadas and other small-plate choices make for a communal dining experience with a variety of flavors. The interior is modern and theatrical, with art-inspired booths and light fixtures, and a patio provides a great space for enjoying discounted plates and drinks at their beloved happy hour.

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11. Red Lion Pub 2316 S Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77019

This friendly, British neighborhood pub in River Oaks keeps a steady crowd due to daily specials like $5 Burger Mondays and Fish & Chip Fridays, all of which are complemented by cheap pints, pours, and bottles. There's surprisingly great Indian food on the menu as well, and you can often snag a beer and curry combo deal. Belly up to the bar for a may even find a few real life Brits to faff around with.

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12. BRC Gastropub 519 Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77007

This spunky bar and kitchen in The Washington Corrider is named after a big red cock (truthfully) and serves as haven for beer and comfort food lovers. Burgers and mac and cheese are always in the menu, in addition to other pub grub favorites and over 20 taps of craft beer. If you're an adult but a kid at heart, order one of their boozy milkshakes for dessert.

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13. Oporto Fooding House & Wine 125 West Gray Ave. Suite 500, Houston, TX 77019

An offshoot of Greenway’s Oporto Wine Café, this food and wine bar in Midtown is like the café’s younger, cooler brother. The fun, chic space creates a welcoming atmosphere where guests can munch and mingle over Portuguese and Indian-influenced tapas while peering into the beautiful open kitchen. It also has a thoughtful roster of over 50 boutique wines, including the largest Portuguese wine collection in the city.