When it’s time for happy hour, Philadelphia booze hounds flock to some of the best bars and best restaurants in Philadelphia for creative menus featuring primo beers, wines and cocktails at a fraction of the regular cost. Usually falling between 5 and 7pm, happy hour serves multiple purposes: comfort after a long work day, pre-drinks before taking in an evening of Philadelphia theater or a cheap start to some hard-thumping shenanigans in Philadelphia nightclubs. To steer you in the right direction, we focus this list on those spots that offer a little something extra, like extended happy hours, worthwhile food pairings or stunning views (which you can find more of in our guide to the best rooftop bars Philadelphia has to offer). It should keep you pleasantly tipsy for months to come.
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Best happy hour deals in Philadelphia
Tucked inside the swanky Rittenhouse Hotel, Scarpetta’s happy hour special—half off glasses of wine, signature mixed drinks and beer—will scratch your upscale itch without breaking the bank. Into cocktails? The bartenders at Scarpetta are practically giving them away: the cucumber gimlet and the vanilla-infused Palermo old fashioned will set you back around $7.50.
Zahav’s happy hour knocks $4 off every cocktail and offers up $3 beer and wine. It’s an excellent choice if you want to try what can be one of Philly’s hardest-to-get-into—and priciest—dining options on the cheap. Have a Z&T, Zahav’s take on the classic gin and tonic made with za’atar-infused gin, byrrh, fresh citrus juices and dolan blanc, with a side of the restaurant’s award-winning hummus (which is half off during happy hour!).
Dollar-priced oysters could sound suspect anywhere else, but not at Oyster House. The Rittenhouse restaurant is a go-to in Center City for seafood all-around, but a sort of “old faithful” for oysters, especially. For happy hour (Mon–Fri 5–7pm and Sat 9–11pm), they're paired with drinks that make sense with oyster flavors—mostly shooters, like a mini-sized Bloody Mary called “The New Englander.” But if that’s not your thing, don’t fret: They also feature a $3 draft beer menu.
Margaritas don’t come any cheaper than at El Camino Real, where you’ll nab a not-too-sweet, not-too-sour margarita for half-off every weekday from 5 to 7pm. A special late-night happy hour every Sunday through Thursday keeps the deals flowing from 10pm to midnight, when happy hour prices go back into effect. The food menu of burritos and tacos also comes reasonably priced—happy hour or not. For effective margarita absorption, of course.
The accolades for Bud & Marilyn’s don’t end at its fried chicken and cheese curds (both of which go for $3 during happy hour, by the way). Stop by the happening Gayborhood restaurant during happy hours—Monday to Friday from 5 to 7pm—to score yummy drinks like a Frosé (a slushy made out of rosé) for $6, or guzzle the restaurant’s exclusive Yards-brewed “Bud’s Best Pale Ale” for just $4 on draft. For late-night crowds, happy hour kicks in again at 10pm to close Monday through Saturday.
Truly one of the most “Philly” of the city’s happy hours, this South Street dive is home to “The Citywide Special”—a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a shot of Jim Beam for $3. In a nutshell, it’s an all-day happy hour that grew so popular that most other bars in the city have used it as a template for their own happy hour menus. But, nothing beats the original. Time your visit with the bar’s Thursday-night drag show for maximum entertainment value.
Located 19 floors above Broad Street inside the Bellevue, XIX is home to one of the best views in the city. That makes its happy hour especially appealing for anyone who might otherwise shy away from the intimidatingly fanciful digs. The bar features select specialty cocktails and private label wine for $8, and draft beer for $5. Opt for the High Tea on the Avenue, a refreshing concoction of gin, Earl Grey tea, lavender syrup and an egg white.
Discounted cocktails change from night to night throughout the week at this snazzy Center City bar, and there’s always a featured sake option and a smattering of refreshing spins on old classics. If that’s not your jam, grab a mixed drink, beer or house wine for $4—combined with the Korean barbecue beef satay for just $3 or a pork bun or banh mi for $4.
This funky dive bar—spacious and complete with graffiti and lots of fun, makeshift seating—is a must for beer lovers. Catch drafts half-off every day, twice a day—from 5 to 7pm and then again from 10 to 11pm—with a lax vibe and billiards, to boot. If you’re vegetarian, you’ll want to pop by on Mondays, when the bar menu’s veggie-heavy items are half price from noon to 10pm.
A shoe-in for gin lovers, chef Marc Vetri’s “Italian gastropub” Alla Spina offers $7 on-tap negronis, an extensive rotating list of beer specials and a $3 Fernet Branca shot from 4:30–6:30pm Monday through Friday. For a snack, snag the pig head bruschetta for five bucks, or your option of an oyster or chicken nugget for $1 if you’re just looking to satisfy a teensy craving.
Consider this a hidden gem in the city’s Gayborhood for happy hour—the bar you probably want to start with before heading to any of the area’s other watering holes or restaurants. The standard happy hour time happens every single day from 5 to 7pm, and those ordering at the bar can continue scoring happy hour prices on drinks and small plates till 10pm. Beers and wine run $4–$5, while cocktails, such as a the “ginger jadoo,” with whiskey, ginger, lemon juice and ginger ale, run $6 across the board. A menu of Indian small plates, like vegetable samosas, spinach chaat and peanut chicken chili bao buns will set you back $3 to $5.
An easy decision if you’re out and about in Washington Square, this Curtis Center bar gets kudos for having generous portions with its happy hour “snacks” menu (see: the quesadillas and the pulled pork for $5) and a small but diverse rotation of draft beers for $4. Mixed drinks are priced at $6, and all house wines are marked down to $5. Be sure to get there early to snag one of the comfy outdoor booths that offer views of Jewelers’ Row.
“Two-Dollar Tuesdays” are a hallmark of Philly happy hours. It’s a hard-to-beat deal that takes the pressure off getting to happy hour on time after work, given that it runs all day. At Fox & Hound, choose from a mind-bogglingly large draft list that consists of dozens of craft beers, many of which are local. All for—you guessed it—two bucks. Just try to get there early; crowds pile up fast after 5pm.