#32 Happy Hour

As we wind down our work day, some of us feel a need to top the 7-10 hour grind with non-work related happiness. From 8:30ish to 4:30ish, Portlanders soak up LCD rays with the desire to get more satisfaction out of life. This behavior is what Henry IIX called “hobbies”. Portland’s #1 hobby is the Happy Hour.

Portlander’s testify to the glorifying nature of “Happy Hour” and the levels of pleasure it has brought us over the years. Meeting friends/coworkers/lovers after a mediocre-to-hard days work can instantly transform a crappy day into a fantastic one. However, the once heralded Portland happy hour seems to be in decline. As 4-6 pm becomes the staple, I’ve found the ease to be “happy” after work fading away.

In the professional world, a work day never ends at 5. For the few times you have left before 5:30, I can only imagine the sheer guilt consuming you. Leaving before projects have been completed to provide the body with sustenance* will add to your unhappiness. Why are the old popular happy hour joints suddenly shortening their hours to 4-6? We can blame this decrease on the general popularity of happy hour, Californians, or point our finger at the Oregon Restaurant Association.

The Oregon Restaurant Association has been building a media campaign in which Portland provides the ultimate culinary experience. The pretentious vile spewing from this PR frenzy has led smaller restaurants with bars to up-the-ante and go “high class,” setting aside the happy hour. Old happy hour staples such as Portland City Grill and Henry’s have been raising prices, shrinking hours and offering less options for the hungry and thirsty. If you are not a restaurant, per se, the down economy and increased number of bars will probably do you in. Brazen Bean, once heralded for its happy hour, closed its doors in a confusing hurry. At 6 O’clock, you can still see 23 year old women standing in front of the ol’ Bean doors, madly making phone calls in an attempt to find cheap martinis.  (Editor’s note: Although Brazen Bean has been closed since 2008, you can replace this joint with any ol’ spot)

In the past three years, I’ve noticed a complete dwindling of shock appeal, as far as awesome happy hours deals go. Now, as the $4 Quesadilla and $2.50 Pabst becomes the staple for more established joints, I find a complete disinterest in having to hunt for a great happy hour in some dive bar (*Cough* Low Brow *Cough*).

Fellow Portlanders, please share those remaining happy hour gems which still offer jaw-dropping deals. Your fellow citizens will love you for it. Otherwise, we will have to find real hobbies.

*at a reduced rate of course

13 thoughts on “#32 Happy Hour

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  3. Check out Kell’s Irish Restaurant and Pub on SW 2nd Ave. downtown. Its got a great menu, but the happy hour hours could be a little more desirable. M-F it’s only 4-7, and then again from 10 to midnight. Weekend hours change. But drinks are 3 bucks, and theres a really big happy hour menu that brings prices down from around 8 bucks to 3 on all items.

  4. Tube on NW 3rd and Couch has $2 drinks and cheap beer everyday untill 10. If you tip reliably the pours get strong.

  5. For the author:

    Not to be a prick or anything, but “Henry IIX” should actually be “Henry VIII”.

    Of course I may be somewhat off-base here as I realize that I may have missed some mental illness/guilt-driven, revisionist course on Roman Numerals at PSU or one of the other wonderful Institutions of Higher Indoctrination here on the Left Coast, and elsewhere. Cornell perhaps…

  6. How about the lack of lunch specials? When I lived in Kansas City, I knew the weekly lunch specials at a dozen restaurants. Here, if there is a special at all, it’s either $.50 off one of their regular items or, a different kind of omelet that’s at least as expensive as anything else on the menu.

    Where is my Wednesday “Hot Turkey Sammich”? Where is the Thursday and Friday Lasagna day? Preferably under $5. Grrr…

  7. At our place, Happy Hours deals are supposely a good deal for beers and food. But somehow people only start to show up after 9 pm. (when Happy Hours are over)

  8. Off the top of my head I can name 2 great happy hours. Veritable Quandary from 4-7 has 20% – 50% off the bar menu which is filled with seasonal local cuisine (and a mean burger). While still in the narrow 4-6 window The Carafe on Market by Keller Auditorium offers the best bang for your buck. Half price beers, a 3 dollar Croque Monsieur (go madame for a dollar) , cut-rate escargot and a number of other choice Parisian bites (even foie gras!) are on offer at this under the radar French Bistro all week.

    While there has definitely been an over-all decline in the happy-hour experience lately there are some good ones out there. If you get out of the played out NW/Pearl dining scene where “fine dining” – defined as overpriced, so-cal inspired, cliche fusion menus served in what could only be described as the dining room from THX 1138 where the food is as beige, tan, grey and bland as the people eating it – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    Check out Southeast, Alberta and 20th, even good old SW has some great spots. This trend is by far focused on the trendy third and Pearl Disrict™.

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