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August 5, 2008

Top Ten Places for Happy Hour Food

RAHappyHour.jpgWhen I started this Top Ten, I was thinking of places for lots of food at bargain prices, in which case you would head for the Bay Cafe in Canton at happy hour. But then I realized Midnight Sun Sam had already done a Best Of happy hour buffets. Unfortunately one of the five places he mentioned has closed its doors, so maybe that's not the best thing to be publicizing. Anyway, I decided to go for a more varied and possibly more interesting (food-wise) list.  

For more suggestions, please check under a previous post. And I hope you'll have other thoughts for us about happy hour food deals and post them below.

Here's my list: ... 

* Arcos in Upper Fells Points has a "Happy Hour Fiesta" menu with two tacos, nachos, quesadillas or guacamole for $4, $3 margaritas and $4 glasses of sangria. Thanks, Bourbon Girl. I wouldn't have thought of it.

* City Cafe in Mount Vernon offers $7 fried calamari or nachos, $8 lobster ravioli, and $9 mini crab cakes or crab and artichoke dip. Special prices for happy hour only.

* Harry Browne's in Annapolis has complimentary hors d'oeuvres and special prices on raw bar items: 50 cent oysters, $5 bowl of mussels, 10-20 steamed shrimp for $8-$14, and clams for $1 each.

* If you aren't looking for quantity, Ixia in Mount Vernon has complimentary hors d'oeuvres at happy hour, provided by one of Baltimore's excellent chefs, Kevin Miller. Dinner may be way out of your price range, but happy hour isn't, with discounted martinis, wine and beer.

* Morton's the Steakhouse, area locations, has a happy hour Bar Bites menu with items like miniature crab cakes and petite filet mignon sandwiches for $5.

* You have to like loud rock 'n roll, but RA Sushi in Harbor East offers a happy hour menu of nigiri, rolls and non-sushi items like pineapple wontons for under $5. Customers like the hot sake for $1.

* Aperitivo Hour at Sotto Sopra in Mount Vernon features "light bites" at the bar for small change, along with discounted drinks and $10 pastas.

* Tabrizi's in Harborview has half-priced tapas for happy hour, which could be something like grilled house-made stuffed grape leaves. Plus you can sit outside next to the water.

* The Tusk Lounge in the Brass Elephant has two-for-one drinks at happy hour, and the bar menu is so reasonable compared to the prices downstairs, it can be considered a deal. Plus there's the elegant setting.

* The "2, 3 and 4 at 5" at the Wine Market in Locust Point stands for $2 beer, $3 mini-appetizers that sound very good, and $4 glasses of wine. Obviously you don't have to be there exactly at 5 p.m.


(Lloyd Fox/Sun photographer) 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:07 AM | | Comments (50)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


But, how much do you tip?

If you have to ask how much to tip, you shouldn't go out to eat.

RtSO: follow your heart.

Does anyone know what hors d'oeuvres Ixia offers for their happy hour or does it change up daily or weekly? I'm curious to check it out.
BTW, Tabrizi's was great for RW, so I'd definitely love to come for their happy hour.

Hellloooo - Fells Point Craig - I think that was a 'joke' .....

McCormick & Schmick’s has a pretty good happy hour menu at the bar. And at Birches’ bar you can $1.50 Miller Lite Long Necks & $1 Mini Birch Burgers Monday thru Thursday.

Fells Point Craig - I think RTSO's comment was tongue-in-cheek

Not really food, but City Cafe happy hour also has "toofers" - 2 for 1 drinks. At $8 a pop, getting 2 mixed drinks is a pretty good deal - they tend to be stiff.

I second M&S

[C]omment was tongue-in-cheek ... There is talk that I might have to the tongue surgically removed, it is so far embedded.

Oceanaire has a decent happy hour menu. It runs from 5:00 - 7:00 and 9pm to close and features 10-12 items. If I remember correctly, it has a few salads for $3.95; $1 oysters; and shrimp cocktail, mini crab cakes, cajun shrimp, truffle french fries, mussels, etc., all for under $10. They also have a sliced flank steak and a lobster flatbread but those I think are in the $11 - $13 range. Pricey for a happy hour but not when compared to the rest of the menu. Good value and good food.

RtSO - Don't worry; most of the Sandbox got the joke considering the volume of posts regarding tipping.

Speaking of IXIA - I am going there for the first time tomorrow for their Blind Tasting event. Does anyone know what I can expect? Does a "blind tasting" mean that we get what the chef decides what we'll get? Thanks for any info, Sandbox.

wow $7 calamari that is such a good deal, i cant believe you actually found a place that has it so cheap, i mean usually its like 7.50 for normal price, i am glad you let me know about this deal

Good point, but if you're just interested in cheap, go to Midnight Sun's free food post that I linked to. This is in comparison to the restaurant's regular prices. EL

Babalu Grill has 2 for $5 mojitos and margaritas, $2 domestic drafts and bargains on bar food (4 dry rubbed ribs with mango salso for $6 has been particularly tasty).

Don't forget BaBa Lu Grill in Marketplace. 2 for 5 Mojitos (a good summer drink) and everything on the bar menu is less than 5. Most of the items are good.

morton's only has bar bites at their bar 1221 locations which is annapolis and bethesda, unfortunately not baltimore.

Please look at the comment by the Morton's PR person under the previous post I linked to. Apparently it's available now in Baltimore. But you're right, it's recent. EL

McCormick & Schmick’s deal...$ 2 burgers and appetizers at the bar.

Raffy's in Perry Hall has excellent Apps that are half priced during happy hour.

The happy hour at oceanaire is the only good thing left about the place. We also like the happy hour and think the prices for what you get is really worth it.

I 3rd BaBalu grill. Just hate paying that garage fee. I guess you can avoid it by parking in Little italy

Dan Rodricks has a great post on his blog today on non-posting of prices for menu specials and tipping.
Here it is. There is a great suggestion on how to handle incorrect pricing coupled with a server's attitude.
Loved it, even if he is again usurping the Queen's turf :-)

Susan WNAJ - do you think Dan has any idea of the pandora's box he just opened? Anybody know Springs1's email address? I'd like to alert her to Dan's blog. LMAO.

I just wanted to respond to bill's comment. EL is correct. The Morton's in Baltimore does indeed offer Bar Bites now, along with Annapolis and Bethesda. It's not just available at locations with Bar 12*21 anymore. Baltimore just began offering the Bar Bites menu and "Power Hour" from 5 - 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 - 11 p.m. on weeknights at the beginning of July.

Piano Rob, you mean a "blind tasting" doesn't involve blindfolds?

First Rodricks took Steiner's radio show, and now he has his eye on Dining@Large.

Nothing against Dan R., but I don't think his blog has the following, or the rabid (and I mean that literally i.e. Springs1) subjects that the Sandbox has. Long live the Sandbox!
We are a very cosmopolitan bunch: Colorado, Florida, and London. Can he top that?

Susan WNAJ - I get the feeling now and again that there are even more Sandboxers from faraway places than Emily, Rob and me. Take Springs1 for example...she was from Louisana, I'm positive.

There are a couple of other Colorado folks lurking out there. I know, because I've gotten e-mails from them saying things like, "You should have said..." or "Tell them about...". But there's only one that I can tell for sure has posted anything.

[S]he was from Louisana (sic): I would have guessed Pluto.

Tsunami on Central and Bank is awesome at HH. Half price sushi rolls, beers and vodka drinks 5-7 m-f. I've made a meal of it. Good crowd and bartenders. I think they do some kind of late night deal on Thursdays too.

Confidential to RtSO--that is SO unfair to Pluto!

Springs1? What did I miss?

Here's the link. EL

Was I the only one who found Springs1 to be entertaining? It seems so...oh, well.

'Tis true! We are a diverse bunch, from far-off mystical places such as...uh... College Park... dang. *slinks off*

PS- I must've missed the whole Springs1 thing, but I love trolls. They're so cute and angry.

Bucky... she would have been barely entertaining if:
1) she didn't randomly capitalize CERTAIN words.

2) she didn't write long, un-edited posts that kept repeating the same things over and over.

3) she didn't write long, un-edited posts that kept repeating the same things over and over.

4) she used decent grammar... i almost fell off my chair when she referred to herself and her husband as "he and I's..."

5) she didn't quibble over $.04 that was overcharged in 2001.

I think it is proof that EL gets blogs, new media and all those buzzwords that she's attracted a bunch of regulars. The folks from way out of town without some original tie to Baltimore are just the frosting on the knowledge cake.

The only thing holding us back from becoming the Metafilter of Baltimore food is the software.

I started to read Springs1 diatribe, but partway through my eyes started to glaze over...

I visit the blog because its fun and you get the greatest tips here.

Like RtSO wrote, Its The Only Blog You'll Ever Need!

Pigtown - I understand she was hard to read, but I was entertained. Doesn't this just crack you up?

I truly think he did this ON PURPOSE to not only get a bigger tip, but to pocket the money he would have made off of a table that was his friends. Like, since our table was $36 and something cents around, he would have rung up his friend's table for that amount and WE would have paid the $47 and something cent amount, so he would have been able to scam money that way and made a higher tip from the higher check amount. So literally, he would have stolen around $13, because $36 x 15% = $5.40 and $47 x 15% = $$7.05, which the difference is $1.65. Those are the exact amounts of the checks anyways, but you get my picture that he would have made at least $1.50 tip and would have been able to pocket the almost $11 we would have paid.

I laughed and laughed and laughed...that's why I kept egging her on.

P.S. Pigtown - I got #2 & #3...and that made me laugh, too.

Bucky... me too. it was like watching a car crash. when i read her first post, i cut and pasted one particular sentence, because it was just such a run on... it had 140+ words in it. after about 10 words here, i kind of lose my train o..

uh. where was i?

Just to let everyone one know that Babalu are being underrated about they're Happy Hour, as well Blue Sea grill for the same reason and they're typical menu.
you should of be there for the RW, also both places OFFER COMPLIMENTARY VALET PARKING.

Please remember to post just once. If you're patient, it will happen. Thanks. EL

Also for miss Large i have an idea for your next top 10:
Best Restaurant week menu

I mean you almost always, as far as I can tell, let the server forget the ranch without reducing the tip or interrupting or anything. I think that's a clear indication of your fundamentally fair nature.

Bucky, that was my favorite COMMENT, but I think it went right over her head. Springs1 is some serious ENTERTAINMENT.

pigtown, what's wrong with "he and I's," as in "He an I's goin downy ocean?"

I don't know--I am not as easily entertained by car crashes and wreckage, I guess.

Sometimes the best happy hour venue is your own home, so you don't have to worry about driving when it's over. I just wish I had food here. Other than pistachios. Maybe the best happy hour is at Dahlink's house, where there is always good food cooking. Dahlink - is there a shuttle? We'll bring a nice hostess gift.

Maybe Springs1 is actually Owl Meat in disguise. He disappeared, she appeared.
Aha: that explains it. Springs1 is Owl Meat's latest multiple personality!?!

Susan WNAJ--I had exactly the same dark thought about Owl Meat's latest identity. But putting together that blog would entail some serious work--is he that obsessive about yanking our chains?

Bourbon Girl--when I say I am cooking dinner, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I am putting food on the table. And no happy hour, most days, anyway. Sorry to disappoint!

Bourbon Girl,
Pistachios? That's what the snack du jour around my place is too. Goes great with Maker's.

I don't think Owl Meat is Springs1. He's probably off hunting down Snickers.

Except Springs1 has a history of blogging elsewhere - you need to click on her name, to get to her blog.

(Then, click on her profile and read her blog about the need for more courteous driving. THIS is where I got scared.)

So if Owlie set this up, he went to A LOT of trouble. More than just establishing another nom de guerre.

So why aren't there any Italian delis on this list?

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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