Meghan McCarthy thinks bigger. She likes deeply discounted drinks and bottomless glasses. Why go to a bar and pay $7 for a mojito — delicious though it may be — when the price drops to $2 during happy hour?
Don’t, McCarthy says.
“People are giving good deals (during happy hour) because they want you to come in and enjoy their food, enjoy their drinks, so maybe you’ll stay for dinner,” says McCarthy, co-founder of Happy Hour Boulder (www.happyhourboulder.com), an online listing of happy hours in Boulder and beyond.
McCarthy says happy hours allow her to sample food and drinks that might otherwise carry a price tag that would burn a hole in her wallet. That’s fine, many bar/restaurant owners say. But when happy hours attract only temporary business, leaving owners with minimal profits, they just aren’t worth the trouble, some say.
“All I figured out is that I was just giving money away when you’re pouring good alcohol in martinis (and selling it cheaply),” says Frank Kaven, who no longer offers happy hours at his business, Martini’s Bistro, 543 Terry St., Longmont.
“Quite frankly, I don’t think you lose money,” says Monica Smetana, owner of Praha Restaurant & Bar, 7521 Ute Highway. “If people take advantage of it, I think every couple or few people who come in ... it’s a benefit. It may be their first time. They’re exploring us. We gain customers, as a matter of fact.”
Employees at Tortugas (218 Coffman St.) and Sugarbeet (101 Pratt St.) say they hope to offer happy hours, though Sugarbeet co-owner Justine Witherspoon says the business provides drink and appetizer specials. With monthly beer specials and coinciding events, Left Hand Brewing Co., 1265 Boston Ave., has created its own niche in the happy hour world.
Just beware, McCarthy warns:
Be a responsible consumer. Just because the sign reads “happy hour” does not guarantee a good deal. Check out several places. Are $1-off specials truly exceptional in the grand scheme of what bars and restaurants offer?
Make it a meal. Look for places that offer great appetizer/food specials as well as good drink prices. The right happy hour can offer an affordable, light dinner, McCarthy says.
Make a deal and a contact. Happy hours offer great networking and social opportunities, whether you’re in a cramped saloon or a quiet night spot.
Look for added discounts. Web sites such as www.pennydrinks.com offer doubly reduced drinks at certain bars through a monthly fee.
Be kind and tip. Treat your bartender with respect. McCarthy recommends tipping $1 per drink and around 20 percent for any food orders.
Longmont Happy Hours
4th & Main
380 Main St. 303-651-2053
The time: 5 to 8 p.m. daily except Thursdays, when ladies enjoy drink specials (rotates)
The deal: $1 off all alcoholic drinks
Something special: In addition to its regular happy hour, 4th & Main provides drink specials for its Thursday business-professional and ladies’ nights. Call the club for details.
A Bit of Billiards
700 Ken Pratt Blvd. No. 105. 303-776-3952
The time: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
The deal: $2.50 for bottled domestic beers; $1.50 for 10-ounce domestic draft beers; $4 for 25-ounce domestic draft beers; $9 for pitchers of domestic draft beers; $2.50 for well drinks; and $3.25 for wine
Something special: The Billiards offers nightly specials on pints: • Tuesday, Blue Moon
• Wednesday, Sam Adams
• Thursday, Killian’s
• Friday, Saw Tooth
• Saturday, Black Jack
• Sunday, Mike’s Hard Lemonade
1600 Hover St. 303-772-2555
The time: 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
The deal: 50 cents off every drink
Something special: Eagle Grill offers music on Friday and Saturday nights, but in the future, the venue will host Wednesday and Thursday evening karaoke as well. Look for a change to the grill’s menu, including appetizer offerings.
Group Therapy Bar & Grill
1644 Main St. 303-776-8840
The time: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., noon to 1 p.m., and 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
The deal: Every drink is discounted (generally by about 50 cents)
Something special: Group Therapy prides itself on its $1.75, 20-ounce Busch Lite draws.
Hunter’s Restaurant & Pub
600 S. Airport Road. 303-485-9980;
The time: 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and all day on Sundays
The deal: $1 off well drinks, house wines and draft beer
Something special: Hunter’s caters to ladies from 5 to 10 p.m. each Friday with $1 domestic draft beers and well drinks.
30 S. Main St. 303-772-9797
The time: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday
The deal: 50 cents off every drink; $3.50 for Jagermeister and Red Bull on Thursdays; $1 domestic draws from 7 p.m. to close on Saturdays
Something special: Its regulars call it a home away from home, but it may be McCarthy’s bar staff that truly gives this place a welcoming vibe.
512 Main St. 303-772-0252; www.mikeoshays.com
The time: 4 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturdays
The deal: Two-for-one deals on all well drinks; $1 off all 13 beers on tap; reduced prices on all draft beers and house wines; 50-cent oyster shooters ($1.50 with vodka); $4.95 peel-and-eat shrimp
Something special: O’Shays just celebrated its 25th year in Longmont, and night manager Sarah Papini owes much of the success of the business — and its happy hours — to faithful regulars who have come to depend on its specialty dishes.
7521 Ute Highway. 303-702-1180;
The time: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday
The deal: Two drinks for the price of one
Something special: With its serene atmosphere, Praha offers a break from the noisy bar scene and a place conducive for romance.
Red Zone & Pumphouse Brewery
540 Main St. 303-702-0881; www.pumphousebrewery.com
The time: 3:30 to 6 p.m.
Monday through Friday
The deal: $3 off appetizers; $2.50 for all bottled and house-brewed beers (at least eight on tap), house wines (chardonnay, cabernet and merlots) and well drinks
Something special: For a limited time, Red Zone carries a raspberry blonde wheat beer with a hint of cherry for the season.
Shorty’s Pit Bar-B-Q & Opera House Billiards
300/302 Main St. 303-651-7773
The time: 4 to 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close daily
The deal: 50 cents off draft beers and house wines; free snacks (with drink purchase); two-for-one specials on well drinks
Something special: Staff have added drink specials to coincide with Opera House Billiards’ new dance nights (9 p.m. to close each Friday).
Storyville Creole Café
246 Main St. 303-651-1127
The time: 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday
The deal: $1 off all alcohol; $1 Bud Light drafts; complimentary catfish poppers
Something special: From 7 to 9 p.m. each Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, Storyville also
offers live music.
424 Main St. 303-772-7469
The time: 8 to 10 p.m. Fridays
The deal: Two domestic beers for the price of one
Something special: This bar rests humbly in its niche on Main Street, and according to its management and regulars, that’s why it has remained a mainstay for eight years.
Valerie Singleton can be reached at 303-684-5319 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.