20 great happy hours in Madison
Grab cocktails and drinks for a discount
When the work day is done and you’re looking to unwind with a delicious dish and cocktail but don’t want to break the bank, then happy hour is for you. Many Madison businesses offer drink and food deals if you’re hoping to go out with some co-workers, meet a group of friends or treat yourself after a hard day’s work. We’ve found 20 restaurants with great post-work happy hour deals.
Avenue Club and the Bubble Up Bar
If the Sunday Scaries got you down, hop over to the Bubble Up Bar. Avenue Club not only hosts its happy hour Mondays through Thursdays, but it also has a Sunday happy hour. The spot offers half-priced apps, Wisconsin taps and Old Fashioneds, plus two for one Tiki drinks. Avenue Club has many starters, including house smoked onion dip, stuffed mushrooms and chicken sliders with spicy honey, pickles and chili aioli, so good luck choosing just a few. Sunday-Thursday, 3-6 p.m.,1128 E. Washington Ave., 257-6877
Bassett Street Brunch Club
Who said happy hour needs to be in the afternoon? Bassett Street Brunch Club has two different happy hours, one every weekday from 3-6 p.m. and another from 8-10 a.m. Start the day with half-off mimosas and then come back for $3 tap beers and rail mixers, $4 specialty wake-up call cocktails and $5 classic cocktails, glasses of wine and appetizers. Monday-Friday, 8-10 a.m., 3-6 p.m., 444 Johnson St., 467-5051
Step up to the bar at Belair Cantina for $5 happy hour quesadillas, cantina nachos and los tres amigos, a three dip combination of guacamole, black beans and queso fundido. While house wine and local tap beer is on special, it’s worth grabbing a frozen margarita made with el Jimador Tequila. Stop by on a Tuesday or Thursday for $2 tacos, $2 Mexican taps and $2 mystery tequila shots to add to your happy hour experience. Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m., 111 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 620-6040
Every day of the week (yes, even on weekends!), Canteen hosts happy hour. If that’s not enough, night owls on Friday and Saturday nights can enjoy a happy hour from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. If you’re hoping to get a drink special, Canteen has numerous options, including half off margaritas and $2 Tecate cans. Did we mention that tacos also are half off?! Try the fried, Tecate-battered cauliflower taco with guajillo chile sauce, crema, tomatillo-radish-red onion slaw and cilantro for a tasty vegan option or the barbacoa beef brisket with arbol chile salsa if you’re hoping for a bit of a kick. Daily, 2-5 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., 111 S. Hamilton St., 285-5703
Eno Vino Downtown/Eno Vino Wine Bar and Bistro
At both Eno Vino locations, you can “un-wine-d” with Merienda Hour, a Spanish tradition of a light snack and refreshment. For drinks, get $1 off signature cocktails or $2 off glasses of wine. If you’d like to pair your drink with a snack, Eno Vino offers $3 off bruschettas, merienda and flatbreads. With more than 15 food options, you’ll want to bring a couple friends along so you can try as much as possible. Monday-Thursday, 4-7 p.m., All day Sunday at Eno Vino Wine Bar and Bistro, Sunday 4 p.m.-midnight at Eno Vino Downtown, 1 N. Webster St., 10th floor, 455-0663; 601 Junction Road, Suite 9, 664-9565
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, Everly’s happy hour is for you. Out of the eight food offerings, only two aren’t vegetarian-friendly. It’s the perfect time to try Everly’s roasted carrots and kimchi for $5 or potato curry samosas with vindaloo curry and cilantro chutney for $3.50. Everly’s happy hour lasts for four hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to get an aesthetically pleasing Instagram shot. Monday-Friday, 2:30-6:30 p.m., 2701 Monroe St., 416-5242
Since the seating is limited and the specials are at risk of selling out, the key to happy hour at James Beard Award semifinalist Jonny Hunter’s Forequarter is getting there right when it opens. There are two food specials: crispy meat or vegetarian tacos with homemade corn tortillas and thin, crispy double cheeseburgers (BONUS: Get slightly elevated versions of these two dishes during late night). The main difference between late night and happy hour is the drinks. Happy hour is all about wine, while late night features classic cocktails and cheap beer. Maybe you’ll have to hit up both. Monday-Friday, 4:30-6 p.m., 708 ¼ E. Johnson St., 609-4717
Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co.
Every day has a different deal at Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. But the best days are Tuesdays for free chips and salsa and $4 margaritas and pints. If you’re not craving chips and salsa, visit the Dane for “Wing It Wednesday.” For $15, get 1-pound of pub wings and a pitcher of beer. Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m., Downtown, 123 E. Doty St., 284-0000; East side 876 Jupiter Dr., 442-1333; Hilldale, 357 Price Place, 661-9400; Fitchburg, 2980 Cahill Main, 442-9000
The happy hour deals at HopCat are out of this world—mainly because the Cosmik fries are half off. The Cosmik fries, beer-battered fries with cracked black pepper seasoning, were named in the top 10 french fries in America by Food Network Magazine. Get adventurous by getting the loaded Cosmik fries with hickory-smoked bacon, red onion and pickled jalapeños. Along with the fries, get $5 off burgers and half off shareables. Monday-Thursday, 3-6 p.m.,10 p.m.-midnight, 222 W. Gorham St., 807-1361
Fridays already are one of the best days of the week, but Lucille is bumping up the game with Happiest Hour at 4 p.m. During Happiest Hour, get free pizza along with the rest of the happy hour deals. While the drink specials change daily, what doesn’t is the offer of 20% off all items in-house. If you’re a beer drinker, visit happy hour Tuesdays for “Zach’s Taps.” Zach Nelson, Lucille’s beer steward, highlights different breweries each week, so it’s a good chance to taste new brews. Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m., 101 King St., 283-0000
For a snack-filled happy hour, Madison’s is a good option. There are deals on bruschetta, wings, sliders, cheese fries and nachos, so it might be worth grabbing a couple co-workers and sampling all five options. The drink specials cover almost any type of drink from Old Fashioneds to wine and tap beers to Tito’s Vodka drinks. Tuesday-Friday, 3-6 p.m., 119 King St., 229-0900
Enjoy looking at the water with a drink at Nau-Ti-Gal. The deals are simple but worthwhile: half price appetizers and $1.50 off of any drink. For seafood lovers, try the Basa Bites or Firecracker Shrimp. If you’re hoping for something more classic, cheese curds are always a good option.Tuesday-Friday, 4-6 p.m., 5360 Westport Road, 246-3130
Next Door Brewing Co.
At Next Door Brewing Co., happy hour is Hoppy Hour with $1 off draft pints. Sample one of the year-round beers like Bubbler, Kaleidospoke and Darth Porter or the seasonal offerings like Oktoberfest and Raspberry Sour. When it comes to food, the appetizers are half off. Pair your drink with Next Door’s rendition of poutine with twice-fried potatoes, Muenster cheese curds, beef brisket, gravy and scallions. Don’t worry if you’re a vegetarian, there’s an equally delicious vegetarian version with crimini mushroom gravy. Monday-Thursday, 4-6 p.m., 2439 Atwood Ave., 729-3683
If you haven’t stopped at The Post in the Park Hotel on Capitol Square, happy hour is the perfect time. Try the Burrata Mozzarella Caprese, BLT Sliders or Tuna Tacos with soy-chile-glazed ahi tuna, scallions and sesame seeds in a crispy wonton shell for $5. Make sure to bring a friend when you go because the drink specials are all buy one, get one free. While you’re there, don’t forget to stop by the Bucky on Parade statue. Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m., 24 S. Carroll St., 327-1101
If you’ve yet to try RED’s lychee martini, happy hour is the time to do so. The martini, which has Reiko sake, Soho lychee liqueur, simple syrup and lime, is a refreshing and sweet cocktail to pair with one of RED’s kitchen specials. Grab spicy tuna, spicy salmon, shrimp tempura or avocado rolls at a discount. If you’re not a sushi person, try the specialty shu mai. The current special has pork and crab along with bok choy, mushrooms, pho broth, Thai basil, micro cilantro, summer radishes and scallions. Monday-Thursday, 4:30-6:30 p.m., 316 W. Washington Ave., Suite 100, 294-1234
Salvatore’s Tomato Pies
If Salvatore’s Tomato Pies has a “pizza” your heart, then visiting during happy hour is a must. This happy hour gives customers half-off 10-inch pizzas. Grab your favorite pie or try something new, this deal is a great time to do it. In addition to pizza, wine and beer are buy one, get one free at the downtown location and wine, beer and rail cocktails are buy one, get one free at the Sun Prairie restaurant. Thursday-Friday, 4-6 p.m., 912 E. Johnson St., 238-6040; 121 E. Main St., 318-1761
Get fancy during happy hour at Sardine’s Oyster Happy Hour. Get a dollar off East Coast oysters and $5 house red, white and rosé wines. If you’re a beer drinker, Kronenbourg 1664, a golden pale lager, is $3.75 during happy hour. Since happy hour is only available at the bar, check out some bar specials like the bistro hot dog with Gruyere and Dijon mustard or grilled salmon sandwich with goat cheese, olive relish and citrus vinaigrette. Daily, 4-6 p.m., 617 Williamson St., 441-1600
Stop at the newest restaurant from Vintage Brewing Co., Tangent. For $4, try one of your favorite VBC brews or one of the beers of Tangent’s own creation like Late To The Party, a coconut cheesecake tart sour ale. Tangent also has a special $5 happy hour food menu with things like patatas bravas, corn salsa and chips and cheese curds beer-battered with Tangent’s Amble On. Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m., 803 E. Washington Ave., 819-6241
For great people watching and a view of the Capitol Building, check out Tavernakaya’s sidewalk patio. Try items like the O.G. Pork Bun or Togarashi Fries with ginger-wasabi aioli off the happy hour menu. When it comes to drinks, order a chûhai, or Japanese highball, with Jinro Soju, soda, a little sugar and fruity modifier. We suggest trying the ginger flavor, but other options include lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, cranberry and pineapple. Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m., 27 E. Main St., 286-1548
Tempest Oyster Bar
If you’re looking for seafood during happy hour, visit Tempest Oyster Bar. There are specials on oysters, scallops, oysters Rockefeller, shrimp cocktails, fish cakes, conch fritters and the smoke stack composed of whitefish salad, lox, trout, caviar and horseradish creme. While you can get $1 off taps, $4.50 rail mixers and $7 house wine, it’s worth trying a house cocktail—like the Exocet with Citadelle gin, basil, lemon juice, simple syrup and sparkling rosé—for $8. Monday-Friday, 4-7 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-midnight, 120 E. Wilson St., 258-1443
Notable Drink Deal Mention
While the Audrey doesn’t have any food discounts during happy hour, it’s worth noting the new restaurant located inside the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace. Happy hour is a daily occurrence that lasts four hours at the Audrey— named after Audrey Munson, the woman who served as the muse for Wisconsin, the sculpture on top of the Capitol Building’s dome. Get $2 off Wisconsin-brewed draft beer and $2 off canned beer, among other specials. The Audrey’s beer program has 30 Wisconsin-brewed cans at all times that rotate frequently, so you’ll almost always see something different when you stop in. Daily, 2-6 p.m., 9 E. Wilson St., 255-0165
Maija Inveiss is digital content editor of Madison Magazine.
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