Happy Hour Hacks

A cheat sheet for some of Cincy’s best drink deals

Whether you’ve just completed a long workday or are heading out at the start of the weekend, not much is better than strolling into a bar during Happy Hour — especially when it includes a wide gamut of specials on food, drinks and desserts (bonus!). For this year’s Drinking Issue, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite Happy Hours in town to help you navigate Cincinnati’s expansive bar scene and fulfill any craving you have.

Best Rosé Wednesday

Whether you prefer your rosé sweet, dry, still, sparkling or otherwise, head over to Liberty’s Bar & Bottle and raise a glass to blushy blends of all types. Each Wednesday, the bar features a different selection of rosés, all available by the taste, glass and bottle. Recent wines have includes rioja, beaujolais, Rhone blend and Loire cab franc. This year, Bee’s Barbecue cooks up savory creations in conjunction with each Rosé Wednesday; selections include beef brisket, hot link sausages, mac and cheese and coleslaw. À votre santé! 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Wednesdays. 1427 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, searchable on Facebook

Best less-than-$5 ramen

Kaze — otherwise known as OTR’s favorite sushi bar — offers up one of the most extensive Happy Hour menus in town, available in its sushi bar, main bar and beer garden. Drink selections include High Life draft ($2), Sapporo draft ($3), house wines ($4), house hot sake ($4) and great deals on specialty cocktails ($5; usually $8). Try The Cutie Honey with vodka, elderflower, Aperol and lemon, or the Hot Haven with Bacardi, lime, simple syrup, pineapple and jalapeño. Filling food options include the Kaze slider ($2.50) with kimchi, cheddar and charred scallion aioli, and ramen ($4.50), a house favorite with pork belly, bok choy and poached egg. Happy Hour also features deals on sushi varieties like blackened salmon ($4.50 for eight) and vegetable with avocado and cucumber ($3.50 for six). Half-price bottles are available all day Sunday to help you end your weekend on a high note. 4-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 4-6 p.m. Saturday; 4 p.m.-close Sunday. 1400 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, kazeotr.com.

Best excuse to get day drunk

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, and Palomino celebrates that notion by starting up their Happy Hour at 3 p.m. daily. Specials continue until close and include tons of food, wine and cocktail options (and even $2.95 gelato for dessert!). Try the vegetarian truffled matchstick fries with whole grain Dijon aioli ($4.95), the gluten-free (and also veggie-friendly) wild mushroom ravioli with gorgonzola cream, roasted mushrooms, toasted hazelnuts and truffle oil ($6.65) or the Public House Burger ($9.95). Cocktail selections (all $5.95) include the Hibiscus Margarita with tequila, hibiscus, fresh lime and house margarita mix and the Elderflower Greyhound with house-infused vodka, elderflower liqueur, grapefruit and orange juices. For $2 more, opt for a craft cocktail like the Buffalo Trace Manhattan with sweet vermouth and orange bitters. Happy Hour also includes $1 off all drafts. 3 p.m.-close daily. 505 Vine St., Downtown, palomino.com.

Best boozy ‘Smash Bros.' session

Every day offers a different special at 16-Bit Bar+Arcade, where adults can feel like kids while still indulging in the bliss that is alcohol. The bar boasts a massive schedule of fun, themed events, all of which are listed on their website. Highlights include Deathmatch Mondays, which pits players against each other in a different game each week and features $7 stadium cups all night long (which you get to keep!). June’s games include Overwatch for Xbox One (June 19) and Super Smash Bros. Melee for Gamecube (June 26). Weekly Gotta Get Down on Friday and Saturday Night Fever events include $2 off featured cocktails, all with creative retro themes (think the Punky Brewster with rainbow sherbet vodka, cranberry, orange juice and cherry garnish, and the Bill Nye with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters and cherry). Specials vary daily. 1331 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine, 16-bitbar.com/cincy

Best reason to call in sick on a Friday

Let’s be honest: It’s hard to concentrate at work when the weekend is literally just hours away. So instead of forcing some unenthusiastic concentration, call up your boss and head to HalfCut instead. The craft beer café begins its Happy Hour at noon every Friday, offering $2 off draft beer (usually $6 per glass), wine (usually $7-$8 per glass) and growler fills (usually $7 for 32 ounces; $14 for 64 ounces) until 4 p.m. It also holds Happy Hour 4-6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, so it’s a great after-work stop too (if you’re insistent on getting things done). HalfCut currently has 16 beers on tap, 18 canned and bottled beers and eight different types of wines. 4-6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; noon-4 p.m. Friday. 1126 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine, halfcut.com.

Best Nadarita

Sidle up to Nada’s bar between 3 and 6 p.m. daily and order a $5 Nadarita with tequila, house curaçao, agave and fresh lime. If you’re craving a cocktail, try The Mule: cachaça and house ginger beer topped off with fresh lemon. Happy Hour specials also include Dos Equis, Dos Equis Amber and Pacifico draft, all for $3. Soak up your drink(s) of choice with $5 guacamole, queso or tinga quesadillas or $3 sliders, chicken tacos or pastor tacos. You can also grab a salsa trio for $4, which comes with fire-roasted tomato ancho salsa, jalapeño salsa verde and habanero “kreeper” salsa. 3-6 p.m. daily. 600 Walnut St., Downtown, eatdrinknada.com/cincinnati.

Best reason to drink wine before liquor

Don’t be afraid to combine different types of alcohol (in moderation, of course). Via Vite offers half off all beers, wines by the glass and cocktails every Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m., available al fresco on their Piazza Bar, covered terrace and open-air courtyard (and main bar). Cool off with classic Italian cocktails like the Via Vite Negroni with Beefeater gin, Campari and Carpano Antica Vermouth served on the rocks (usually $11); the Sgroppino with Madisono’s ruby red grapefruit sorbet, grapefruit vodka and prosecco (usually $10); and the Aperol Spritz with Aperol, prosecco and soda, served on the rocks with a fresh orange (usually $9). But first, check out the restaurant’s extensive wine list, which includes everything from German riesling (usually $8 per glass) to Italian rosso veronese (usually $9 per glass). 3-6 p.m. Monday-Friday. 520 Vine St., Downtown, viaviterestaurant.com.

Best cheese-stuffed pretzels

Head to the bar at The Presidents Room Thursday through Saturday for $3 drafts, $5 house wines and half off an insanely satisfying snack: gooey cheese-stuffed pretzels with fontal and spicy beer mustard (usually $12). Daily specials feature $10 haus burgers on Thursdays; $10 Cacio e Pepe — fettucini, pecorino, romano and toasted black pepper — on Fridays; and $5 desserts on Saturdays (add a coffee for only $1). If you’re dining with friends, order a charcuterie platter for $22 (serves 2-3) or $30 (serves 5-6). Select menu items are also half off during Happy Hour, including deviled eggs with smoked salmon roe (usually $7); calamari fritti with crispy calamari, fresh red chili, scallions, lemon, black garlic aioli and nduja marinara (usually $13); and bruschetta with spring pea, mint, marcona almonds and a grilled Sixteen Bricks baguette (usually $11). 5-7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. The Phoenix, 812 Race St., Downtown, thepresidentsrm.com.

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