The Heroes of Happy Hour

It doesn’t matter if you’re an office nine to fiver, a round-the-clock entrepreneur or side hustling freelancer, the happy hour ritual is a sacred practice for those who grind. These happy hour hot spots all offer something special, from amazing drink specials to Zen-like waterfront views. Add them to your post-work hangout rotation, if you haven’t already.     

Osorio’s Latin Fusion, Appleton

Happy hour at Osorio’s runs from 3-6 p.m. every day. This includes Saturdays and Sundays when the restaurant is open for holidays like Mother’s Day (hint hint). Pints of local craft beer start at $3, house margaritas and sangria start at $4. For $5 you can score a fruit margarita or cantarito, the margarita’s lesser known, but equally delicious cousin. Osorio’s version of the classic Mexican cocktail is made with blanco tequila, lemonade, a splash of cranberry juice, lemon-lime soda and a pinch of salt. “For 20 bucks you can get a little drunk and a little full,” says Osorio’s co-owner Kimberly Finnell. “We designed the menu so there’s something for everyone. Even if you are a nondrinker, there are great deals on appetizers.” Finnell recommends the loaded queso dip topped with sautéed vegetables and chorizo or choose from steak, chicken, carnitas or spinach and mushroom quesadillas. Classics like guacamole, nachos and veggie flautas are also on the menu. Pro tip: hit up Osorio’s happy hour on Thursday when the restaurant hosts live music starting at 5 p.m., except on the second Thursday of every month a mariachi band starts at 6 p.m. “When there’s that hour crossover of live music and happy hour, it’s my favorite hour of the week,” Finnell says. 

Greene’s Pour House, Neenah 

For an award-winning happy hour, make a trip to Greene’s which won the 2016 Golden Fork for Best Happy Hour. From 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays, the restaurant offers half-price domestic beer and cocktails. That alone is pretty enticing, but combine that with the daily food specials and you have a delicious little happy hour. On Mondays, get bone-in wings for 50 cents a piece. (An order of six wings is usually $5.99.) Choose from wing sauces in standard flavors like buffalo or honey BBQ or try something a little more experimental like mango habanero or curry masala. Dry rubs in lemon pepper, sweet heat and Southern style are also an option. The wings are served with celery and bleu cheese or ranch for dipping. Owner Bobby Greene says Tuesday happy hour is popular because beef tacos are just $1. Stop by on Wednesday for buy one, get one half-price pizza or Thursdays for buy one, get one half-price appetizers. During summer months, the restaurant will open up the retractable front windows for happy hour with an alfresco feel.

Waverly Beach Bar & Grill, Menasha

If you’re in the mood for a happy hour with a beach party vibe, float on over to Waverly Beach. Managing partner Chuck Storino says the happy hour specials, and spectacular views of Lake Winnebago, set their happy hour apart. Every week Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m. all drinks are buy one, get one free. This is great for those nights you get stuck at work and miss the typical 6 p.m. happy hour deadline. On Fridays, Wisconsin’s favorite cocktail, the old fashioned, is just $2.75 all day. Belly up at the restaurant’s indoor bar or head outside to the tiki bar or patio with 45 tables on the water’s edge. The bar and grill’s 500 feet of Lake Winnebago shoreline makes it a go-to spot during warm weather months. “[We added] lounge seating so you can lay on pool chairs and hang out,” Storino says. During the summer, Storino says Waverly Beach offers many drink specials every day along with a large number of prize giveaways for certain drink purchases. Prizes have included canoes, fire pits, bicycles and even a trip to Las Vegas. Your bartender can fill you in on the giveaway du jour. 

Stuc’s Pizza, Appleton 

If you think a bar is a prerequisite of happy hour, think again. ”We don’t have a bar, but that didn’t deter us from trying it,” says Dustin Drahos, general manager at Stuc’s Pizza. “It gives people something to do while they are waiting for their pizza.” This is helpful because Stuc’s handcrafted-to-order pizzas take about 20 to 30 minutes to make – the perfect amount of time to knock back a cold one. Happy hour runs from 3 to 5 p.m. every day of the week at Stuc’s Appleton location. The Neenah location does not currently offer alcoholic beverages. During happy hour, beer and glasses of wine by Bota Vineyards are a dollar off regular prices. Drahos says regular beer prices range from $3 to $4.50, so during happy hour most beer is just $2 to $3 a pint. In addition to some bottled imports and the necessary Bud Light, Spotted Cow and Amber Bock on tap, Stuc’s offers a lineup of local craft beers. “The majority are Wisconsin-based like from Pigeon River Brewing Company and Titletown Brewery,” Drahos says.

Ground Round, Neenah

Happy hour is serious business at Ground Round in Neenah, taking place seven days a week and twice each day. From 3 to 6 p.m., all drinks are a $1 off regular prices and items on the bar bites menu (like taco dip, cheese curds and wings) are half price. A complimentary taco and nacho bar is located in the restaurant’s sports lounge on weekdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. For the late-night happy hour from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m., the deal is sweetened with $1.99 Long Islands and margaritas. Every day of the week also features a drink special, like half price bottles of wine of Mondays. Food and Beverage Manager Ryan Batley says Tuesdays have become a popular happy hour night for two reasons: all burgers are buy one, get one free and there is a meat raffle at 6 p.m. For $3, participants receive a numbered paddle that matches a number on the raffle wheel. If the wheel stops on your number, you are the proud owner of a delicious hunk of meat. Batley says during the summer, late-night happy hour is best enjoyed on the outdoor patio around one of the restaurant’s three fire pits. 

Beefeaters British Grille and Ale House, Appleton

For a British-inspired happy hour – no passport required – head to Beefeaters, which is part of Good Company Restaurant Group. Happy hour runs 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday in the restaurant’s English-style pub and comes complete with a complimentary appetizer cart. The cart’s ever-changing offerings could include anything from Cajun potato chips and tacos to pot stickers and chicken wings. Happy hour goers never know what to expect and that’s half the fun. Select domestic bottled beers are $3 during happy hour and the pub has five Wisconsin craft beers on tap including one seasonal selection and one rotating tap. During happy hour, all Wisconsin and Upper Michigan beer bottles and cans, house wines and sangria are $4. The restaurant’s core tap beers are U.K. favorites Smithwicks, Bass (both $4 per pint) and Guinness. If you feel like keeping things a little more local, order a $4 rail old fashioned made with Gary’s Old Fashioned Mix, bottled in Freedom. Pro tip: Good Company Restaurant Group also operates Pullmans at Trolley Square and Good Company in Appleton, both of which offer acclaimed happy hours as well. 

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