In the 1990s and 2000s, you never heard much about Happy Hours except perhaps in old style bars.
I never thought about having HH in my restaurant in the 90s. Now almost every chic restaurant in town has some version of inexpensive eats and drinks for at least a couple of hours of the day. The hours vary so widely that I bet you could eat and drink at a discount somewhere all hours but prime time lunch and dinner.
For the millennials among us, this is the first time they have experienced the Happy Hour craze. For us older patrons, it’s interesting how there seems to be no stigma attached to embracing the half-priced bottles of wine and $10 entrees. Instead of your group rolling their eyes at the thought of cruising for cheap beer, everyone has their favorite place to go.
I asked friends of all ages why they thought Happy Hour was having a revival. The economy and expensive wine, beer and vodka prices were mentioned. The aging group of hipsters, the ones in their 40s, are not at all embarrassed to fill up on small plates and $5 martinis and be home by 8 p.m. The younger generation finds it a good way to start the night.
Here are some of the places I visited at happy hour that I really enjoyed. I have a feeling they were just the tip of the iceberg.
Let me know where you like to hang between 4 and 6 p.m. And get happy.
(2905 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City. 816-931-6400)
Our Kansas City Mexican restaurants are one of the biggest values in town at any hour. El Patron makes it even sweeter from 2 to 6 p.m. with half-priced mojitos and margaritas as well as half-priced appetizers.
Genessee Royale Bistro
(1531 Genessee St., Kansas City. 816-474-7070)
The regulars are going to absolutely kill me for even mentioning this, but how could I not recommend the place I go almost every Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. Genessee Royale is only open this one night for happy hour. Usually they close at 4 p.m. There are always a few nibbles and an unusual cocktail, all different every week, and lots of people who know each other. It’s like a cocktail party in a friends loft except you have to pay.
Grand Street Cafe
. (4740 Grand Ave., Kansas City. 816-561-8000)
Martini Mondays at Grand Street Cafe are famous in the Plaza area. Martinis are $5 from 3 to 6 p.m. There is also beer for $2.50, wine for $3 and cocktails for $3. There are reduced prices of some appetizers also.
Harry’s Country Club
(112 E. Missouri Ave., Kansas City. 816-421-3505)
Harry’s is a good bar at any time of the day but their long Happy Hour, from 3 to 7 p.m. most days and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, sweetens the pot. There’s a big list of drinks for $5, a list for $6 and a bunch of food from $3.65 to $8.95.
(444 Ward Parkway, Kansas City. 816-931-5888)
Kona Grill at Happy Hour is always a scene. It has been since the day they opened. Happy Hour runs from 3 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Reverse Happy Hour from 10 p.m. to midnight Mondays through Saturdays. There are half-priced drinks, and half-priced appetizers, pizza, and sushi.
Le Fou Frog
(400 E. Fifth St., Kansas City. 816-474-6060)
If you are like many of the people I know and love Fou Frog but can’t afford it very often, check out their Happy Hour menu. Mussels, oysters, salad with goat cheese, a plat du jour and more at reduced prices.
(5270 W. 116th Place, Leawood. 913-752-9025)
Those who are used to the prices of Mexican food on Southwest Boulevard may find the price tag at Aaron Sanchez’s place sting a little. Happy hour takes the sting out from 4 to 7 p.m. and then 10 p.m. until close. There are $2 drafts, $3 well drinks, $3 wine by the glass and some $3 shots.
The Tavern at Mission Farms (10681 Mission Road, Leawood. 913-213-6588) and The Tavern in the Village
(3901 Prairie Lane, Prairie Village. 913-529-2229)
The Tavern has Happy Hour from 4 to 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to close. Apps are $6; wines are $5, beer $2.50 and cocktails $5.
Lou Jane Temple’s road to food has been a long and winding one. First as a rock n roll caterer back stage to the stars, then with her own Kansas City based catering company, Cafe Lulu, food writing, novelist, private chef. Lou Jane has written and had published nine culinary mysteries and one cookbook. She recently moved back to Kansas City and eagerly awaits the next chapter of her food career.