Best happy hours for good beer

Hit these bars for craft suds at Bud Light prices.

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  • Photograph: courtesy the Pony Bar

    ponybar05

  • Photograph: courtesy the Stag's Head

    stagshead08

    The Stag's Head

  • Photograph: Michael Kirby Smith

    sweetafton01

    Sweet Afton

  • Photograph: courtesy the Gate

    thegate13

    The Gate

  • Photograph: courtesy Washington Commons

    washcomm01

    Washington Commons

Photograph: courtesy the Pony Bar

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Pony Bar
This Hell's Kitchen saloon beckons Port Authority refugees and office workers with one of the best beer selections north of 14th Street. While happy hour is interpreted more literally than we're used to—it runs daily from 4:20 to 5:20pm—the small boozing window offers deals on some seriously big beers. A flag-waving menu of 20 drafts and two casks leans toward brawny, high-alcohol brews from craft superstars such as Founders and Lagunitas, all of which go for just $4 (a buck off the already cheap $5 price tag). If you can make Pony a regular stop, ask a bartender for a scorecard and vie to become an "All American" by drinking and rating 100 different beers. Should you complete the task, you'll be rewarded with a free Dickies work shirt. 637 Tenth Ave at 45th St (212-586-2707, theponybar.com)

The Stag's Head
Stag's Head offers one of midtown's longest and most hops-oriented happy hours: At least half of the 16 drafts are just $4 or $5 from Monday through Friday, 11am--7pm (usually $6--$8). The patriotic taps rep cultish, far-flung outfits such as Pretty Things—a "gypsy brewer" that borrows other producers' facilities to make beer—and Colorado's Great Divide. Improve your beer IQ during free Wednesday-night tastings (6pm), when guest breweries pair their suds with themed snacks; recently Pennsylvania's Victory showed off its wares alongside Philly cheese-steak spring rolls. 252 E 51st St at Second Ave (212-888-2453, thestagsheadnyc.com)

Sweet Afton
On Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30am to 4pm, the bar's stellar eight craft brews—as well as a rotating cask selection—go for $4 a pop (regularly $6--$7). The top-tier pours make a great match for gut-busting fare like the Irish breakfast sandwich (packed with sausage, bacon and black pudding) or a Pat LaFrieda--blend breakfast burger crowned with a fried egg ($9). Catch the same bargain Monday through Friday from 4 to 7pm. 30-09 34th St between 30th and 31st Aves, Astoria, Queens (718-777-2570, sweetaftonbar.com)

Washington Commons
The party starts early and doesn't slow down during the weekday happy hour at this Prospect Heights hang. Off-duty teachers colonize the handsome U-shaped bar starting at 3pm, followed by a steady flow of tie-loosening office workers and neighborhood folks who stream in until 8pm for $2 off quaffs from the 16-tap selection (most are usually $6). Choose an Avery New World Porter from Colorado or sample something more local like Captain Lawrence Brewing Company's Espresso Stout from upstate. When the weather warms up, expect the leafy outdoor patio to be packed with revelers and their furry friends. 434 Park Pl at Washington Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-230-3666)

The Wild Goose
This Irish watering hole keeps the deals going all day and night long on Mondays and Tuesdays (noon--4am). Sidle up to the long wooden bar and order any of the 46 beers on tap (normally $4--$6), including brews from California's Bear Republic and local favorite Sixpoint, for half price until last call at 3:30am. And if an early-in-the-week bender isn't in the cards, come by Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 7pm for the same discount. 530 Forest Ave between Davis and Lawrence Aves, Staten Island (718-720-3800, thewildgoosepub.com)

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ud3ah
ud3ah

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