Tag: Entertainment

Every veteran traveler knows that food is an intrinsic and extremely enjoyable part of traveling; sampling the local cuisine in a new place is like sightseeing for your taste buds, and in order to really fully experience the vibe of a new city, it’s necessary to dive in flavor-wise and savor the local gastronomy.

Unfortunately, however, eating out every meal isn’t an option for most travelers on a budget—thus enter Happy Hours, the frugal traveler’s best friend.

For those uninitiated, Happy Hour—aka “a cocktail hour or longer period at a bar, during which drinks are served at reduced prices”—takes place during a bar or restaurant’s slower times, usually in the afternoon on weekdays. It’s a way that restaurants can coax in customers during a typically dead time of day, which they do so by slashing prices and offering discounts and specials on food and drinks.

For those of us penny-pinching nomads, it’s a way to sample a restaurant’s offerings for a fraction of the price. Aside from being a steal pricewise, happy hour is generally a far quieter time of day, as it starts during traditional workday hours—meaning that you and your significant other, best friend, and/or new friends you met at Lucky D’s (woot woot!) can enjoy yourselves in a quieter, more relaxed setting. No having to put your name in the queue at the host stand, bumping elbows with other tables while trying to find a seat, or losing your voice from having to talk over the loud din.

It’s the perfect mid-afternoon interlude—a quick bite and tasty beverage to ease you into the late afternoon after a lengthy hike at Balboa Park, a sun-inundated afternoon bronzing yourself on the beach, or just to treat yoself because you’re on vacation.

Here we’ve compiled a list of our favorite Happy Hours in the East Village/Downtown area, along with a little bit about what makes each spot so special.

Neighborhood

Located catty-corner from Lucky D’s is Neighborhood, a rustic-chic bar and restaurant that boasts an impressive selection of craft beer, both local and imported. The inside has a relaxing, artisanal vibe to it, filled with earthy, dark and wooden materials that are highlighted by the bar’s intimate mood lighting; the small astroturf padded patio outside is great for people watching along the corner of 8th Avenue and G Street. The menu flaunts a variety of vegan/vegetarian options, and the mac ‘n’ cheese remains a requisite favorite, particularly hamburger helper style if you’re up for it. In the back of the restaurant lies a speakeasy, which on weekends tends to get filled up pretty quickly—make sure to put your name in early!

HH Deal: Monday through Friday, enjoy 2 for 1 local beers from 4-7 p.m.!

HALF DOOR

A staff favorite, Half Door is an Irish-pub style brewery with a cozy, vintage ambience. Situated in an old house, the bottom patio that greets you upon entry is reminiscent of the old verandas from grand hotels of the Gilded Age, perfect for catching some sun and people watching on 9th & Island. Walk inside and it feels like you’ve entered a much cooler version of your Grandfather’s study, filled with unassuming upcycled cool—comfortably worn love seats, floral wallpaper, distressed coffee tables and repurposed church pews. The two-story ceiling to floor liquor cabinet creates a dreamy effect when progressing to the second level, the afternoon sunlight playing through the different bottles to cast a kaleidoscope of colors while walking up the stairs. The second story is even homier, full of leather chairs, couches and bookshelves filled with classic tomes; walk out onto the beautiful twinkle-lit outdoor patio and get a premier view of Petco Park and the intersecting streets below.

Normally pretty busy, the ‘happy hours’ are a more mellow time at Half Door; it’s an ideal place for solo happy-houring as much as social outings. Bring a book or laptop and ride solo, or come with friends and pick out a classic board game from upstairs! They brew their beers onsite, with most of the menu items being modern updates to classic Irish cuisine.

HH DEALS: Monday through Friday, from 4-6 p.m.
$5 house beers, $6 draft beers
$5 well wine
$5 well cocktails, $6 specialty cocktails
$5 fried goat cheese, $5 truffle fries, $5 mac & cheese
$6 pretzel bites
$7 ahi tuna taco
$9 sausage flatbread

Pro tip: We recommend the Mac ‘n Cheese with the Roark Red Ale.

Bubs at the Ballpark

Located on the same block as Petco Park, Bubs is a convenient stop for food and drinks before a Padres game. The Sports bar offers standard American bar fare, a wide variety of local craft beer on tap, and plenty of plasma screen TVs for gameday viewings. The garage door windows open up on sunny days, and the elevated patio provides a great boost for people-watching. They have an in-house basketball court, shuffleboard, and video games at the ready, a fun way to pass the time while waiting on food or a table. The kitchen is open til 1 a.m., for those nights when you need a feed a little later than usual. We recommend the burgers and the wings (half off during happy hour)!

HH DEALS: 3-6 p.m., Monday through Friday
$4 select local drafts
$5 well drinks
50% off wings, 50% off all red baskets (chips, salsa & guacamole / seasoned fries / onion rings / regular or special tots)

Bootlegger

Of course we couldn’t leave our downstairs neighbor off the list! Bootlegger has a laidback speakeasy-esque vibe and is a convenient place to grab a quick bite before heading upstairs for that much needed nap after a day full of San Diego sightseeing. Full of comfortable booths and trendy old timey décor, the place comes alive during weekend afternoons. In addition to have a daily happy hour, they have specials on certain menu items throughout the week, with two of our favorites being $2 tacos and $10 nachos (beer included!) on Tuesdays and $10 build-your-own-burgers on Thursdays (draft domestic also included). For Saturday and Sunday brunch, they have $15 bottomless mimosas from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

HH DEALS: Monday, Wednesday, & Friday from 3-7 p.m.
$5 wells & calls, house wines and draft specials
$5 small plates

Knotty Barrel

Around the corner from Lucky D’s lies Knotty Barrel, a chill gastropub with a full bar and selection of over 100 local, domestic, and imported beers. It feels like a comfortable mountain lodge, with barrels and rustic wood incorporated into their design scheme—be sure to check out the bar, which is covered with a hodgepodge of beer labels from around the world that the owner spent years collecting. They have an enclosed back patio with a fire pit and a variety of games like Shuffleboard and Connect 4; on Thursday nights they have trivia starting at 8 p.m.!

HH DEALS: Monday through Friday, from 3-7 p.m.
Discounts on select appetizers
$6 potato skins / house-made beer cheese
$7 Chipotle BBQ sliders / 3 way fries / fried pickles

Basic

The MO of Basic is simplicity, summed up in the name of the restaurant itself and evident in everything from its menu offerings to the general feng shui of the place. Simple, uncomplicated thin crust brick oven pizza is the order of the day at Basic, a restaurant that feels more like an open-air lounge with a chic industrial aesthetic. The building was converted from an early 20th century warehouse, with straightforward, efficient décor comprised of brick, wood and metal elements; the shag carpet is made from recycled rubber tires, and the building still has its original brick walls, with large garage door-style windows that stay open on beautiful days. Munch on free pizza samples while shooting pool during happy hour, or check out their Art Nights on Tuesdays evenings.

HH DEAL: Every day from 4-7 p.m.
$4 bottles and cans
$5 all draft beers & well cocktails
$6 Absolut or Jack Daniels cocktails
$7 all house wines
Free samples of Basic pizza (except on game days)

Tin Roof

Just a short 5 minute walk from Lucky D’s, Tin Roof brings a little bit of Southern charm to San Diego; though spacious, the Nashville inspired bar is an intimate spot where you can enjoy live local music and great people watching! They have tables for beer pong, jenga, and cornhole; on the patio outside is a large place to play shuffleboard. Bonus: they serve weekend brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, with bottomless mimosas and $5 bloody mary’s!

HH deals: Monday through Friday, 3-7 p.m.
Half off all drinks and appetizers

Weekly specials: $5 Jameson & Fireball all day, everyday
Tuesday: $2 Tacos, $3 Mexican Beer 
Wednesday: $5 well drinks 
Thursday: $3 Tall Boys 
Saturday and Sunday: Brunch 10am-2pm, bottomless mimosas & $5 signature bloody mary

Big Thyme Sandwich Co

A four-minute walk from Lucky D’s, Big Thyme is a local favorite for fresh, tasty sandwiches with locally sourced ingredients. The dining area is a simple and rustic little cave, with ochre red walls, wooden tables and beautiful local art on display. They offer Domino’s, cards, and Nintendo 64 to entertain yourself before the big feed, with outdoor patio seating also available. All sandwiches are well-portioned and served with a side of house-made potato salad or fries; they have a variety of vegan and vegetarian options, and all of their sandwiches are available on gluten free bread.   Their beverage offerings including craft soda, fresh juice, beer and wine—even a kombucha float! Try the Reuben or the grilled cheese, which many say is the best they’ve ever had.

Azteca

Azteca is a hole in the wall, no-frills over the counter taco shop, but what it lacks in ambience it makes up for in rich and authentic flavor. If you’re looking for a quick meal of fresh, homemade Mexican food at a very friendly price, look no further. They’re open late and it’s worth the four-minute walk from the hostel, but be wary that the outside area can be a little ‘colorful’ at certain hours—maybe best to bring some company with you while getting your grub on. Try the breakfast burrito, a real crowd pleaser.

Pokez

Also within walking distance is Pokez, Classic Mexican fare with an herbivore-friendly twist. It’s a more upscale version of a traditional taco shop but still in a very welcoming price range, with free chips and salsa included when dining in. Their focus is on vegan/vegetarian and gluten-free Mexican cuisine in a hip and edgy atmosphere, a ruggedly chic update of a traditional cantina with lots of exposed brick and wooden design elements.

Hodad’s

Featured on The Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives,” Hodad’s is a San Diego local favorite— Guy Fieri calls Hodad’s as the best burger he ever ate! The “good old fashioned run-down-your-arm sloppy hamburgers” offer very generously portioned beef burger patties—be advised ahead of time that a single is more like a double, and even that can be hard to fit in your mouth! The store itself is full of California kitsch, with skateboards, surfboards and license plates from across the states decking the walls and picnic table style benches. Enjoy huge milkshakes and malts topped with a heaping scoop of ice cream, as well as house-made potato wedges and onion rings. The Ocean Beach location is packed around the clock, whereas if you catch the downtown location at the right time you can squeeze in without a wait.

Bootlegger

Of course we couldn’t leave our downstairs neighbor off the list! Bootlegger has a laidback speakeasy-esque vibe and is a convenient place to grab a quick bite full of comfortable booths and trendy old timey décor. In addition to a daily happy hour, they have specials on certain menu items throughout the week, with two of our favorites being $2 tacos and $10 nachos (beer included!) on Tuesdays and $10 build-your-own-burgers on Thursdays (draft domestic also included). For Sunday brunch, they have $15 bottomless mimosas from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sushi Deli

Considered the best of the Sushi Deli stores, Sushi Deli 2 features Japanese inspired cuisine, a creative twist on classic sushi. Known for their great prices, Sushi Deli 2 offers lots of daily specials and generous portions of high quality seafood, all wrapped up in an aesthetically pleasing presentation. Leave feeling satisfied and without putting a dent in your wallet!

Tin Roof

Just a short 5-minute walk from Lucky D’s, Tin Roof brings a little bit of Southern charm to San Diego; though spacious, the Nashville inspired bar is an intimate spot where you can enjoy live local music and great people watching! They have tables for beer pong, jenga, and cornhole; on the patio outside is a large place to play shuffleboard. Bonus: they serve weekend brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, with bottomless mimosas and $5 bloody mary’s!

Tajima Ramen

Considered one of the top Japanese restaurants in San Diego, Tajima Ramen maintains consistently quality throughout their restaurants, with rich, flavorful broths and a variety of enticing appetizers. The décor feels very Shinto-chic, with lots of dark wood, ambient orb lighting and gilded mandalas; the Gaslamp spinoff is rumored to have less of a wait than the other stores, with wooden booths and picnic table style seating.

Grapes & Hops

Across the street from Lucky D’s lies Grapes & Hops, a deli and spirit vendor offering a variety of fresh sandwiches, salads, beer and wine. The place has a neighborhood deli shop feel, reminiscent of something you’d see in a New York borough. They use top quality Boar’s Head cold cuts, along with flavorful bread and fresh veggies, and the service is fast and efficient. While they don’t offer indoor seating, there’s outdoor tables available for munching in the San Diego sunshine. Even better, grab one and have yourself a picnic in Balboa Park!

Oscars

Another hole-in-the-wall, Oscars offers authentic Mexican seafood at a very agreeable price. Known for their shrimp ceviche, they also offer $1 fish tacos Monday through Thursday from 2:30 to 5:30—a delicious bang for your buck.

Rockin’ Baja

Rockin Baja Lobster is inspired by the lobster village of Puerto Nuevo in Baja California, a pacific paradise of lobster fare which the owner visited frequently as a child. With décor modeled off of the traditional Puerto Nuevo style, they offer delicious Mexican seafood at great prices. Our manager recommends the sizzling garlic shrimp!

Gaslamp Pizza

Located in the heart of downtown San Diego, this family owned and operated pizza joint offers pizza by the slice and delivers! Go here for late night New York style pizza.

Ciro’s Pizza

A chill pizza joint with a full bar and a wide variety of local craft beers on tap, Ciro’s is a staple for Lucky D’s patrons. They offer large New York style slices, Stromboli, chicken wings, and garlic knots with great happy hours! Ciro’s is open late on weekends, with a DJ’d dance party in the back, and all Lucky D’s guests receive a 20% discount when they present their key card at the register.

Brooklyn Bagel Company

A counter-serve bagel shop serving breakfast and lunch sandwiches with a variety of toppings, Brooklyn Bagel Company is a very American sandwich shop with great coffee drinks and free wifi. It can be a little busy at peak times, but the service is always quick and efficient. (10th & Island)