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Happy hour/ early bird in SD

I'd like to take my girl out for some great food but money's tight, so I'm looking for a great deal on great food and drinks. My idea of great food involves meat without hormones, produce without pesticide, fresh seasonal ingredients, and, of course, great flavors. I'm open to most any style of cooking if it's well executed. My idea of great drinks includes well made craft beers and wines and cocktails made with fresh juices and quality liquors, I love creative bartenders but I do not like sugary, artificially flavored novelty drinks.
On my list: The Better Half and Laurel.
Any other places with happy hour or early bird specials to try?
We're happy to make dinner out of the appetizer menu, we often do that anyway.
I'd prefer North Park/ Hillcrest or nearby neighborhoods, but I'm willing to travel for something special.

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  1. Whisk-n-ladle has a pretty decent happy hour and fits everything but the neighborhood. I also like farmhouse. Don't think they have a happy hour per se but everything on the menu is under $20. It might be just beer and wine though.

    1. Thee Bungalow used to do an early bird special that was a pretty good value. But that was before the Cohen Group took it over. You might call and see if they're still doing EB or not.

      1. There's an online coupon for Better Half 'Blue Plate Special' soup or salad, choice of entree's and a dessert for $15.00, a real deal. Also, if you find a Community Magazine, there's a coupon for a buy one get one entree for the Linkery, that may be an option.

        6 Replies
        1. re: cstr

          I am just curious what do you mean with "There's an online coupon for Better Half 'Blue Plate Special' soup or salad, choice of entree's and a dessert for $15.00, a real deal" ?

          1. re: honkman

            Went online searching for restaurant coupons, found a coupon for BH $15. special and also Alex's for free fries. Cafe San Diego.com

            1. re: cstr

              You don't need a coupon that's there normal $15 5-7pm special menu they have everyday.

              1. re: honkman

                Oh well, so much for that web site, it's still a deal. I think the OP would like BH.

                1. re: honkman

                  Just went to Better Half the other night. Looks like the chef is the new owner and there are several changes. (They said the website is owned by the original owner and they are unable to make any modifications on it so that is why there is no updated information) The Blue Plate Special has now increased to $20 but does offer a few more choices for entrees. 1st course is still either soup or salad and there were only 2 choices for the dessert one of which was a scoop of ice cream. Corkage is now $15. (They said that people were taking advantage of them with the $5 corkage...probably meaning no one was buying their wine). Some nice touches with their amuse bouche and palate cleansing lemon sorbet cone just before the entree. However, the meal overall was not memorable, service was spotty due to the inexperience of one of the waiters, and little mistakes by other staff such as removal of our forks from the amuse bouche plate which were then set back on the table so we could use the forks again, and not giving us back the food we asked to be boxed (we ate just half of it because it was too salty for our taste, and we thought we would bring it home and fix it a little so as not to waste. Of course this was partly our fault because we didn’t realize that we didn’t have our doggy bag until we got home.) With the 18% mandatory gratuity, this meal would still be over $50 without any extras, and for that price, we are not sure if we would return.

                  1. re: wcrchow

                    Have to agree @ $20., with the limited choices, the deal is dulled. I never bring wine to a place that has a licence but that's just me.

          2. Wine Vault & Bistro has their 5-course tasting menu for $25 tonight. IMO, the best deal in town.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mimosa

              According to an email from Wine Vault today, they have raised the price for the 5-course tasting menu to $30, and the wine pairings are now $20. It's still a good value, but not quite the incredible deal it was before.

            2. Thanks for the tips, the Wine Vault tasting menu sounds like just what I'm looking for, unfortunately I'm not free tonight. I also checked out Community Magazine on line and to my surprise there were coupons for some places I already like or want to try. In the past I haven't had good luck with coupons, but I'll try these, anyone know where I might get a copy of Community Magazine?