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Happy Hour
Photograph: PixabayHappy Hour

The best Boston happy hours

While you won't find a happy hour for drinks in Boston, you can still go easy on your wallet with these dining deals

Written by
Time Out Boston Staff
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Happy hour drink specials? Not in Boston. Deals on alcohol haven't been allowed since 1984. However, if you’re looking for an after-work bite that won’t break the bank, there are plenty of deals on food that take the sting out of a regular-priced drink. From neighborhood joints to high-end restaurants, these are the best places to find a happy hour deal in Boston. Happy hours often change, so be sure to check with each place first. If you’re looking for budget-friendly bivalves, check out our list of the best oyster happy hours in Boston. For a full meal on a budget, try some of Boston's best cheap eats. If you’re just looking for a drink, then our list of Boston’s best bars is for you.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

Best food happy hours in Boston

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Central Sq
  • price 3 of 4

This modern Central Square restaurant draws crowds who rave about the creative riffs on Japanese classics meshed with Spanish tapas. For sampling of some of the menu favorites, stop by daily between 3-6pm for $1 wafflatos,” $3 patatas bravas, $5 chicken “nugz,” and more. The deal is only available at the bar, where there are plenty of creative cocktails to pair.

  • Bars
  • Harvard Sq

Descend the stairs into this Harvard Square staple for their legendary happy hour, when the entire menu (spanning from brisket nachos to a brownie in a mason jar) is half-price every day from 5-7:30pm. There is a $4 minimum beverage purchase per person, and the deal not available on the outdoor patio tables or for take out.

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  • Restaurants
  • Canadian
  • Back Bay

Both locations of Earls Kitchen—in the Prudential Center and  Somerville’s Assembly Row—offer two happy hours. Stop by from Monday-Friday (3pm-6pm) and Sunday-Thursday (9pm-close) for discounts on menu favorites such as chicken tacos, Korean hot wings, and truffle fries. As a bonus, the Pru location has a breezy rooftop patio.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • price 3 of 4

This Brookline standby is always packed for good reason. Sit in a booth, a table, the tatami room, or the sushi bar and choose from an extensive menu of standard and creative sushi offerings. From 5pm to 7pm and 9pm to 1:30am, the happy hour bar menu features 50% off bar snacks like shumai, rangoon, tako yaki, and haru maki.

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  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Central Sq
  • price 2 of 4

This no-frills pub/club combo in Central Square has an extensive happy hour menu that will get you prepped for a night of Guinness and dancing. From 5pm-7pm every day, enjoy menu favorites for almost half off. Happy hour items include quesadillas, nachos, curry fries, fried brussel sprouts, soft tacos, and more.

  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Quincy Market
  • price 1 of 4

This Quincy Market bar and club known for brightly-colored scorpion bowls offers one of the few happy hours in the neighborhood from 5pm-8pm (daily except Saturday). Fill up on bar bites like chicken fingers, spicy poppers, veggie tempura, and firecracker popcorn chicken for $2.25 each. That should fortify you before you dive in to one of those party-starting drinks.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Downtown

For a most classy happy hour option, head Downtown for a sampling of Oceanaire’s super-fresh seafood selection. The Admiral’s Hour menu, offered in the bar area Monday-Friday from 4pm-7pm, includes discounted small bites (e.g. fish tacos, oysters, steamed mussels) and more substantial fare such as a daily crudo, shrimp and grits, and a lobster roll with matchstick fries. Enjoy a classic or contemporary cocktail while you’re there.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Downtown
  • price 4 of 4

Michael Mina’s elegant izakay-style Japanese spot in Downtown Crossing is a high-end favorite for date night. Happy hour offers a more accessible way to experience some of the magic. From 4pm-6pm and 9pm-10pm, Monday-Friday in the bar and lounge area, enjoy bargain-priced fried chicken karaage, hand rolls, daily robatayaki, and more. Pair with sake or one of the daily cocktail creations.

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  • Bars
  • Sports Bars
  • Back Bay
  • price 2 of 4

For a dose of Red Sox history, Dropkick Murphys fandom, and affordable fare, head to McGreevy’s. While the menu at this beloved sports bar is always affordable, a slate of happy hours throughout the week offers an extra perk: 50 cent wings on Mondays (4pm-close), $5 half-pound burgers on Tuesdays (4pm-close), half-price apps on Wednesdays (4-7pm), $1 personal flatbread pizzas on Thursdays (4-7pm), and $1 oysters on Sundays (all day until they run out). Check their website for full details.

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary Asian
  • Seaport District

This Seaport stalwart is known for big, celebratory gatherings, especially on the weekends. Sushi lovers head here on Wednesdays (starting at 5pm) for one of the city's best sushi deals: unlimited sushi for $29. Choose from standard rolls like spicy tuna and California or house creations like the red dragon. Other small items like the crispy, spicy salmon rice bites are also available.

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