What to get happy about

 

-Frita Batidos - www.fritabatidos.com : Cuban Inspired Street Food by famed Chef/Owner Eve Aronoff

Happy Hour is available Sunday-Thursday 4-6 PM and the last hour of service nightly (Hours: Sunday – Wednesday 11am – 11pm, Thursday – Saturday 11am – Midnight)

Happy Hour Specials: Any beer $1 off , Cuba Libre $2, Beef Frita $5, Happy Hour Basket of Fries $1.5

 

- The Earle, of course [1] Summary: Mussels $2.50 between 5:00-6:30. Wine bar food and drink 20% off from 5:00-8:00. Desserts and coffee drinks 20% off after 8:00.

OK, The Earle is definitely the elder statesman of the AA happy hour scene. I love the cozy cave-like atmosphere in the winter. Everyone seems to know about their main special in the Wine Bar - which is a lovely dish of steamed mussels or 'moules mariniere' I think the French might call them for $2.50, between 5:00 - 6:30pm. The garlicky, wine-y broth from these is excellent with the huge hunks of bread and fresh cream butter they serve alongside. You can eat this for dinner.

Extending the happy hour table, from 5:00 - 8:00 everything in the Wine Bar is discounted 20%. The menu and the beverages. And then there is an after 8:00 happy hour, which discounts coffee drinks and desserts 20%. I would like to make a special mention of a dessert at The Earle that may be my favorite in AA. I don't know what it's called - every time I'm there they seem to call it something different. It's a dense torte-like cake with pears on top, served in a pool of anise cream. I think about this cake in random moments of yearning. I'd love to know the recipe. Try it so we can yearn about it together.

- Gandy Dancer [3] Summary: "Sunset Special" prix fixe, limited menu (by request) about 1/2 off regular price from 4:00-6:00. This appears to be an AARP special, but they don't discriminate.

For some reason I don't often think of the Gandy Dancer as a place to go out to eat, even though they have some of the best ambiance in town. The historic building, tastefully decorated with greens and lights, was especially festive just before the holidays. With the trains whistling by outside, it seemed like we were in a scene from the Polar Express.

Somewhat like their location, their happy hour special is also somewhat hidden. You have to know about it and expressly ask for it. I think it's called the "Sunset Special" or something like that. It's a special menu that they will bring you before 6:00. It's basically a limited prix fixe menu with 2 different wines, a couple of salads, a few entrees, and dessert and coffee from which to choose. Most of the items on the special are approximately 1/2 the cost of the same items on the regular menu.

I had a nice glass of white wine, the lobster ravioli (very rich), and of course that famous Chuck Muer bread that everyone loves. I do remember that the service was great. Honestly, although the food was good I was paying more attention to the friends I was with and to the storybook atmosphere.

- Vinology [4] Summary: $1 mini-burgers before 6:00, nice wine flights

I've been to Vinology a couple of times and have been disappointed that they didn't have more to offer in the happy hour special. However, the last time we were there (about a week ago) we discovered that they now have $1 mini-burgers before 6:00. We ordered 4 of these for our table as appetizers and were delightfully surprised at how good they were, really juicy and perfectly cooked. We also got a bowl of pommes frites to share and they were excellent.

I was so happy with the burger that I ended up splurging on the "Australian Adventure" wine flight for $26. This included 2 cabernets and 2 shirazs. I thought it was a bit expensive. However, once I tried it I was very happy. Each of the wines was excellent and in the $11-$16 per glass range. And they weren't just tiny 2 oz. pours, they were real glasses of wine.

Then we were so happy with that we ended up ordering a dinner to share. And it was also excellent. I think that Vinology might have the best food and wine downtown right now. Sadly, they are probably also the most expensive.

- Habitat Ultralounge

  • Monday: Happy hour lasts all night! Special pricing on Weber’s Prime Rib Dinners and Steamed Garlic Mussels. 
  • Tue-Fri: 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
  • $.75 off Beer and Wine
  • $1.25 off Mixed Drinks

- Melange Summary: 1/2 off appetizers in the bar. Very low and dark seating. This place is for people who can see in the dark better than I can or for people with flashlights. Food is kinda nouveau weird-ish. We tried the "beef seared on a rock" thingy. Now we can say we've done it. And it was tasty.

- Gratzi Summary: Used to have 1/2 entrees at the bar before 6:00. Is this still the case?

- Sidetrack Summary: Just to add a little bit of Ypsi, the Sidetrack has happy hour until 6(?), and then late night happy hour starting at 10pm(?) - drinks 1/2 off, and good food!

Also, there's a cool happy hour site called DrankBank that shows daily drink specials at all the bars in Ann Arbor.

- Mediterrano Summary: Happy hour Monday - Friday 4pm - 7pm

  • $3 Michigan and European craft beers
  • $5 Wine by the glass
  • $5 Premium well drinks
  • Small plate menu starting at $3

- Carlyle Grill Summary: It's the busiest happy hour in Ann Arbor. If you want a seat a table I would suggest getting there early as they fill up fast. They have a full patio that has happy hour as well. 

All day happy hour Sunday & Wednesday and every other day it's 3pm - 7pm (Friday & Saturday until 6pm)

  • $3 Wine by the glass
  • $4 Premium well drinks
  • $2 Domestic drafts $4 Craft drafts
  • Small plates are the best around starting at $3