Everybody loves to brag about their “bargain radar”—uncovering quality products on the cheap is why thrifting is such an exhilarating experience. Finding a dollar pair of Levi’s that fit just right can certainly make one’s day—and hey, they are probably great, other than the lingering possibility that somebody died in them. But in the universe of food and drink happy hour specials, the products are not secondhand, but poured and prepared fresh—it’s just that timing is everything.
The first time I walked into High Beck Tavern on a Monday night to see a stack of free pizzas waiting for me, I felt like I was a part of a covert booze operative—a cloak-and-dagger happy hour event meant only for those in on the secret. But unless you are unemployed or are a part of the bustling weekend food and retail industry, going out on a Monday can be hard to rationalize, even if free pie is part of the equation.
Stock & Barrel wants to make you happy, so we stepped out of the office and found some blissfully economic Friday, Saturday, and Sunday bar specials that will keep you toasty with only a pocket full of change.
251 W Fifth Ave.
Monday – Friday, 5-6 p.m.
$0.75 well liquor and domestic drafts
The Vic Village spot has a deal so sweet it enabled me to dig through the blue leather seats of my Buick Regal and find just enough loose change to get me a nice buzz going after a grueling workweek. Don’t believe me? For seven dimes and a nickel, Shrunken Head will serve you a well liquor of your choice during the Friday “happiest hour” from 5-6 p.m. Or hell, if you got a buck fifty, why not make it a double? The bartender Joe greeted me with a smile, and I greeted him with a bunch of coins and an even bigger smile. We bonded over our love for dissonant Yo La Tengo songs, Belle & Sebastian’s unfortunate turn to disco, and our affinity for discounted liquor. He took my pile of change with a beam of bartender optimism as I waddled out, now suitably tranquil and ready for my weekend.
2169 N High St.
Saturday, 3-9 p.m.
$0.99 drafts and well drinks
Yeah, it’s that kind of bar-—the type of place where you can crawl into the shadows of old wooden booths, carved with the ghosts of campus past. The Library Bar shares its ambiance with your friend’s dilapidated attic—right down to the plastic foosball table and chipped engravings of hearts and phalluses covering the walls. I make eyes with the bartender and order a 99-cent draft of Honey Brown. I take the first gulp, swallow, and chat up an older couple sitting next to me who have been coming to the Library Bar since before I was born. “We love it here. It’s home,” they say, giving me a crooked, yellow smirk. For six bucks plus tip, I caught a nice buzz on a variety of watered-down suds with my newfound compadres, which for a Saturday evening could not have been any less perfect—especially in a place boasting so many perfect imperfections.
254 S Fourth St.
Sunday, 10 p.m. to close
$2 off craft drafts
The barcade’s “reverse happy hour” is the perfect option for getting upside-down on a Sunday. Knocking back a cold brew after performing a flaming somersault slam dunk in NBA Jam is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures, especially if your inner child is a bit of a boozehound. This bar understands that getting drunk before 5 o’clock can be an ill-advised life choice, so the bartenders decided to cheat the happy hour game by offering cheap drink specials after 10 p.m. on Sunday nights. I roll in and head straight for the usually deserted TRON machine after ordering a $4 Left Hand Milk Stout. Two hours and four stouts later, I realized that TRON was not only the hardest goddamn game I have ever played, but also the compulsion to shatter my pint glass into its mocking cabinet was unrelenting. So instead, I decided to make friends with the Street Fighter crowd and let out my aggression in a series of well-timed sonic booms.