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High-End Happy Hours

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LIQUIDLOVEFor many people, happy hour is about 2-for-1 draft beers and cut-rate martinis, discount drinking during prime after-work hours, probably when you need it the most. Great for socializing with your co-workers or sloughing off stress, maybe, but there’s more to life than cheap drinks. Cheap food, for instance.

Over the past few years, local restaurants have seen the potential of the happy hour to bring people in during slower, pre-prime time. hours and fill seats in their lounges and bars. Restaurants often cut drink prices less than at the local watering hole, but the chance to pair tasty tidbits with that mojito or craft beer can be a serious draw.

Can’t afford a nice meal at a high-end culinary destination? Try happy hour! You’ll often find the same or similar dishes on the discounted happy hour menu as you do on the regular menu, giving you an opportunity to sample a chef’s cuisine without going into debt. It’s no substitute for a special occasion three-course dinner, but it can fill the gaps between those luxe meals.

Although many happy hour menus are pulled from the restaurant’s appetizers, they also offer chefs an opportunity to branch out from the usual, experiment with recipes and play with tapas without the need to retool the main menu.

Here are some of the best high-end happy hour deals around:

HIGH END HAPPY HOURS
Bijou Cafe, 1287 First St., Sarasota, 366-8111, bijoucafe.net
5 to 6:30 p.m., Monday-Friday in the Gossips Lounge. $5 well martinis, well drinks, select red and white wines by the glass; $1 off beer; $5 bar bites, including pommes frites, duck quesadillas, empanadas and other.

Darwin’s on 4th, 1525 Fourth St., Sarasota, 343-2165, darwinson4th.com
5-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, bar area only. $4-$5 bar plates including spicy tuna causa sushi, parmesan truffle fries, pollo anticucho and others; $5 drafts on house-brewed beer; $6 select wine and cocktails, including mojito, sangria, cosmo and others.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, 2001 Siesta Dr., Sarasota, 358-9463, flemingssteakhouse.com
5-7 p.m. daily. $6 select cocktails and select wines; 2-for-$6 Blue Moon seasonal beers;
$6 appetizers including pan-crisped pork belly, roasted mushroom ravioli, baked bries and more.

Kazu’s 2.0, 6566 Gateway Ave., Sarasota, 922-5459, kazus2srq.com
4:30-6 p.m. daily. $3 Sapporo drafts; $2.50 Yuengling; $5 large hot sake; $3 cold house sake; $5 flavored sake; $3 plum wine; $4 sushi and “Japas,” including Siesta roll, gyoza, spicy tuna roll and more.

Libby’s Cafe + Bar, 1917 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 487-7300, libbyscafebar.com
4-7 p.m. daily. $4.50 house wines; $3.75 well drinks and martinis; $5 Grey Goose, Bombay, Dewar’s, Bacardi and Jack Daniels; $6 specialty drinks; 1/2-price draft beer; $1 off domestic imports and craft beer; $2.50 PBR; 1/2-price select bar plates, including crispy Gulf grouper tacos, bratty kid cheeseburger, cheesesteak eggrolls and more.

Louies Modern, 1289 N. palm Ave., Sarasota, 552-9688, louiesmodern.com
10-11 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 11 p.m.-1 a.m. Thursday-Saturday. $2 off specialty cocktails, specialty bourbons and gin-and-tonics; 1/2-price draft beer; $1 off bottled beer; $2 PBR; $5 Grey Goose or house wines; $4-$5 appetizers, including smoked trout deviled eggs and rosemary asiago fries; $10-$14 wood-oven dishes including brisket burger, mussels or calamari pie.

Made Restaurant, 1990 Main St., Sarasota, 953-2900, maderestaurant.com
4-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. $3 20-ounce Bud Light or Yuengling drafts; $4 premium well drinks and house wines; $2.50 PBR; $6 specialty cocktails; complimentary small app plates (in bar only).
Mattison’s City Grille, 1 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, 330-0440, mattisons.com
3-7 p.m. daily. $5 bar plates including shrimp rangoon, crab cakes, goat cheese bruschetta and more; 1/2-price drafts and well drinks.

Michael’s On East, 1212 East Ave. S., Sarasota, 366-0007, bestfood.com
5-7 p.m., Monday-Saturday. $5 specialty cocktails, domestic beers, house wines and selected bar bites.

Pacific Rim, 1859 Hillview St., Sarasota, 330-8071, pacificrimsarasota.com
4:30-6 p.m. Monday-Friday. $4 specialty cocktails; $4 small plates like crispy spring rolls, pac pac shrimp and gyoza, among others; $3 sushi rolls, including spicy tuna, Mexican, California, and others.

Pier 22, 1200 1st Ave. W., Bradenton, 748-8087, pier22dining.com
3-7 p.m. daily. 1/2-price calls, wells, draft beers and house wines; $4 mojitos, martinis and specialty cocktails; $5 small plates, including Annalida’s Drums, Terra Ceia Stuffies, calamari and others.

Roy’s, 2001 Siesta Drive, Sarasota, 952-0109, roysrestaurant.com
4:30-6:30 p.m. daily. $6 appetizers including Wagyu beef sliders, tempura-crusted spicy ahi roll, beef short rib tacos and others; $6 specialty cocktails; $6 select wines.

Selva Grill, 1345 Main St., Sarasota, 362-4427, selvagrill.com
5-7 p.m. daily. $5 signature drinks, house wines and sangria; $4-$9 bar bites, including bass croquettes, pan con pato and Selva ceviche, among others.

The Table Creekside, 5365 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 921-9465, tablesrq.com
4-6:30 p.m. daily. $5 single liquors, featured wines, featured sangria and mojitos; $2.50 draft beers; $5 tapas including bacon jam flatbread, spinach fondue, Chilean sea bass fritters and more.

Did we miss your favorite happy hour? Let us know in the comments below.
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Brian Ries

Brian Ries is the editor of ticketsarasota.com.
Last modified: February 19, 2014
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