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The best Boston happy hours

Even though happy hour for drinks is banned locally, you can still take it easy on your wallet with these dining deals

Happy Hour
Photograph: Pixabay Happy Hour
By Gerrish Lopez and Time Out Boston Staff |
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Unfortunately bars and restaurants in Boston are not allowed to offer discounted deals on alcohol — conventional happy hours have been banned in Massachusetts since 1984 — but if you’re looking for an after-work bite that won’t break the bank, there are plenty of great dining deals. From neighborhood joints to high-end restaurants, these are the best places to find a happy hour food deal in Boston. (Happy hours are always subject to change, so be sure to check with each place first.) If you’re looking to slurp down some budget-friendly bivalves, check out our list of the best oyster happy hours in Boston. For another way to sample small plates, see our list of Boston’s best food halls. 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

1
Pagu
Photograph: Matt Li
Restaurants, Japanese

Pagu

icon-location-pin Central Sq

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.

2
Earl's Kitchen
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Vivian C.
Restaurants, Canadian

Earls Kitchen + Bar

icon-location-pin 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.

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3
Grendel's Den, Bars, Boston
Photograph: Michael Young
Bars

Grendel’s Den

icon-location-pin Roxbury

Descend the stairs into this Harvard Square staple for their legendary happy hour, when the entire menu 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.) In addition, the "9 at 9" deal, which is offered after 9pm from Sunday-Thursday, features nine items (e.g. quesadilla, double cheeseburger) for $5 each.

4
Phoenix Landing
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/anax44
Bars, Pubs

Phoenix Landing

icon-location-pin Central Sq

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.

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5
Hong Kong
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Ally G.
Bars, Dive bars

Hong Kong - Boston

icon-location-pin Quincy Market

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.

6
Oceanaire Seafood Room
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Karen W.
Restaurants, Seafood

Oceanaire Seafood Room - Boston

icon-location-pin 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.

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7
Pabu Boston
Photograph: Courtesy Pabu Boston
Restaurants, Japanese

PABU Boston

icon-location-pin Downtown

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.

8
Morton's
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Morton's the Steakhouse
Restaurants, Steakhouse

Morton’s The Steakhouse - Boston Seaport

icon-location-pin Seaport District

The bar at Morton’s in the Seaport offers a happy hour menu Sunday-Friday, 4:30pm-6:30pm and 9pm-close. The bar bites menu includes short rib steak tacos, petite filet mignon sandwiches, and mini crab cake BLTs, among other favorites, for $7-$9 each. Round out the experience with something from the award-winning wine list.

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9
McGreevy’s
Photograph: Courtesy McGreevy’s
Bars, Sports Bars

McGreevy’s

icon-location-pin Back Bay

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.

10
The Red House restaurant
Photograph: The Red House Restaurant
Restaurants

The Red House Restaurant

icon-location-pin Harvard Sq

This cozy spot in Harvard Square offers 6-for-$5 shrimp cocktail plus 2-for-$1 oysters (minimum 6) every day from 12-5pm and 9pm-close. Between 5pm-9pm, those prices merely double, making this a great spot for enjoying fresh shrimp and oysters any time.

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11
Empire
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Empire Asian Restaurant & Lounge
Restaurants, Contemporary Asian

Empire

icon-location-pin 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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