HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


Best Happy Hour at a High End Restaurant

  • i

Any rec's for a great happy hour that serves great deals at fine dinning establishments??

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. La Mar's is good. Much cheaper way to try their food than the regular menu.


    La Mar Cebicheria Peruana
    Pier 1 1/2, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111

    1 Reply
    1. What location are you looking for? SF? South Bay? Berkeley?

      1 Reply
      1. re: ssfire

        I don't think any of the few high-end restaurants that aren't in SF have happy hours.

      2. Well, it depends on how high-end you're looking to go. I always recommend the happy hour at Mantra in Palo Alto. Before 6:30 PM, everything is 1/2 price, including anything off the main dinner menu. It runs 7 days a week, and it's a phenomenal deal. I had a tandoori fish entree that was great. I'm not sure it counts as "fine dining." They have white tablecloths and overpriced tasting menus - does that count?

        Mantra Restaurant & Lounge
        632 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301

        3 Replies
        1. re: ssfire

          It's as high-end as La Mar that RL recs. I like the happy hour at Mantra, have been about 5 times now. The fish entrees are my favorite pick there. The food seemed not as refined the last couple times, but still a good deal at half-off. And a good selection of wines BTG and half-bottles. Usually a Champagne BTG that's worth trying.

          Edited to add: The happy hour discount only applies in Mantra's bar and lounge area (and outside). So, no white table cloths for happy hour.

          Here's a shot of the sablefish

          And, the shrimp lollipops

          1. re: ssfire

            Second this one. It is a fabulous deal. Definitely not a destination place but if you are in the area it is worth checking out.

            1. re: ssfire

              Mantra happy hour is now a 1/3 off. Discovered this not too long ago but still not a bad deal. Had some nicely grilled lamb chops (a generous portion I might add) & agree with Melanie about their wine selection.

            2. Not sure if you're looking for happy hour bites or just good bargains, but Michael Mina has a pre-theatre menu T-Sat before 6pm where you can have a 3-course meal for $55 (a deal compared to their regular tasting/prix fixe menus).

              4 Replies
              1. re: alina555

                You can also get some snacks at the Clock Bar at MM. Although I wouldnt call it a Happy Hour.
                By fine dining you might define what you mean by that????? I never thought of La Mar as being fine dining but I do like it and it is a fun place.

                1. re: celeryroot

                  Anyone tried the happy hour at Barndiva in Healdsburg?

                  I've posted on the HH at Stark's in Santa Rosa,
                  It's supposed to continue until the Dow hits 10,000 again, which it has, so i don't know the current status of the deal.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I didnt know they had a hh. They have a special wednesday deal which my neighbors enjoyed. I hope to try this over holidays.......

                2. re: alina555

                  To me, a prix-fixe before 6pm is an early bird special. Happy hour should be a la carte.

                3. Farallon has a deal called "Six until Seven" with selected drinks and apps for six bucks until seven pm.

                  7 Replies
                    1. re: Rich

                      Except it's not really Six bucks each, because Farallon adds a 4% surcharge, a detail that is not mentioned anywhere on the "Six until Seven" bar menu.

                      450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                      1. re: ssfire

                        thanks for the "proceed with caution" addendum

                        1. re: ssfire

                          4% of $6.00 is ONLY 24 cents !!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        2. re: Rich

                          So, has anyone tried the "Six until Seven" deal yet? It seems like a good place for a drink and a snack before a 7PM play.

                          1. re: Glencora

                            Off the $6 menu we had the crab cakes (tiny) and a generous pile of hot crispy truffled fries. Also the ceviche off the regular bar menu ($13, very good) We were given some tasty sourdough bread and delicious butter with crunchy pink salt. Not sure if that ordinarily comes with the happy hour. I think not.

                            The restaurant was full of tourists, but there were more locals in the bar. It was quiet enough to talk easily, cozy in the rain.

                            1. re: Glencora

                              went here tonight and was very impressed (note that the current menu is not the one on the web site). complimentary bread with hawaiian sea salt was excellent. also ordered a housemade chorizo with toast; and mussels in a tomato broth with toast, as well as a hemingway daquiri (normally $11, $6 at happy hour), and a chocolate dessert sampler.

                              portions were on the small side as was to be expected, but still a good value, and the food was fairly rich so the small portions didn't bother me that much. service was excellent, and it's hard to beat the atmosphere of the jellyfish lounge.

                        3. Flemmings Steak House also has a "5 for 6 before 7." 5 wines, 5 cocktails, and 5 appetizers (seared ahi, crabcakes, calamari, etc) plus a pretty decent burger .. each is $6 before 7pm (I think 7 nights a week)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: marilees

                            I've visited Fleming's Walnut Creek a couple of times for this; worth a shot if you are in the area. The burger might be the most solid hit of the food options; choice of fries or onion rings to go w/ it. also tried the crabcakes and the carpaccio, decent as well.

                          2. Garibaldi in Oakland has a great happy hour for a very expensive restaraunt

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: mustardgirl

                              Sorry, I have to disagree.

                              Garabaldi's has an average entree price of about $20, and $10 cocktails. I'd call that a mid-range restaurant. Maybe upper-mid. You can order three courses for about $40, or just have one course and get out for $20. Gary Danko, for example, you can't get fewer than three courses at $65. Three at Commis is $60 - in both cases, it's up from there. Boulevard average entrees are over $30. None of those places is at the extraordinary end of dining prices - simply very expensive.

                              Of course your words might differ --- but I think the OP was talking more about Commis/Danko class restaurants when discussing "high end".

                              On the other hand - looks like a fun happy hour menu. Prices are knocked only a little off, no discount on the signature cocktails, but the addition of a nice-sounding burger.

                              1. re: mustardgirl

                                The post-remodel Garibaldi's isn't all that expensive. First courses $8-12, mains $18-25.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  Morton's has a happy hour. I've never been so I can't comment as to the quality.

                              2. TWO was my favorite place in this category [subsidized facier food for cheap, not free].
                                I was dismayed it closed.

                                Has anybody been to this place in North Beach:
                                Supposedly HH from 3-6ish + all day Sunday? Any info on what the food deal is and quality?

                                12 Replies
                                1. re: psb

                                  I don't really see why it should matter if the happy hour is at a fine dining restaurant or not. A great happy hour is a great happy hour. My favorite in the city has to be at Fly Bar, where you can get gourmet personal pizzas for $4.50 with a draft beer for $3.

                                  Getting a little more upscale, it's not really a happy hour per se, but from 5-6pm, NOPA has cheap bar snacks.

                                  1. re: vulber

                                    >I don't really see why it should matter if the happy hour is at a fine dining
                                    >restaurant or not. A great happy hour is a great happy hour.
                                    er, this that to me, or to the OP?

                                    anyway, a great happy hour may be a great happy hour, but there is a difference
                                    between getting say PBR for $1 and free chicken wings vs. "fancy cocktails"
                                    discounted by $1-3 dollars and getting say dollar oysters [not something you can
                                    really fill up on], or half priced normally expensive food. so the issue isnt what's
                                    "better" but within each category what are good options ... fundamentally are you looking to get tanked on the cheep, or are you looking for great food deals.

                                    1. re: psb

                                      sorry, that was at the OP. and that was my point essentially, that it should be about finding great deals, many of which don't have to be found at high-end restaurants (like fly bar)

                                      1. re: vulber

                                        I figure issey's looking for happy-hour deals that let you try expensive restaurants' food on the cheap. That's a perfectly reasonable goal.

                                    2. re: vulber

                                      Has anyone tried the happy hour at Propect? I wandered over there the other day (it's just a couple of blocks from the "temporary transbay terminal") and was tempted by the menu (IIRC a list of $5 items from the bar menu and good prices on some of their specialty cocktails).

                                      ETA: the happy hour menu is on their website (that Pisco sour is calling my name):
                                      HAPPY HOUR 4 pm - 6 pm

                                      Fleur d’Orange
                                      citrus vodka, st. germain elderflower liquor
                                      sparkling wine, soda, twist 5

                                      Coca Infused Pisco Sour
                                      lime, simple syrup, egg white, bitters 5

                                      Half a Man
                                      bourbon, sweet vermouth, angostura bitters, rocks 7

                                      House Vodka Martini
                                      made your way 7

                                      Beer Selections
                                      Trumer, Pilsner, California 5
                                      Port Brewing, High Tide, Fresh Hop IPA, California 5

                                      Sommelier Wine Picks
                                      Sparkling – Rotari, Brut Rosé, Trento, Italy NV 5
                                      White – Riebeek Cellars, Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa 2010 5
                                      Red –Chateau Redortier, Grenache, Beaumes-de-Venise, Rhone 2004 5

                                      Snacks 5 each
                                      Chickpea Fritters – herb yogurt
                                      Kennebec Chips – french onion dip
                                      Trotter Tots – lobster aioli, salsa verde
                                      Pork Belly – steamed buns, brussels sprouts, miso
                                      Fried Oyster Po’ Boy – tasso aioli
                                      Chicken Wings – sweet chili, bbq sauce

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                        just went here tonight. stark contrast to the wondreful happy hour i had the night before at prospect. the menu on the website is incorrect (not only that, we arrived at 5:57 and they were rushing us to order in time and we mistakenly ordered the pork belly, only to be informed at 6:01 that it was not on the menu and we would not have a chance to get a replacement).

                                        the cocktails were excellent, as to be expected, given the Range connection.

                                        the food, however, was very disappointing. i don't really understand why high-end restaurants try to attempt upscale bar food.

                                        the fries were weirdly mushy, the oyster poboy was more like a slider and barely had any coating or crispiness, the octopus was all right, the trotter taquitos were just plain weird, and the chicken wings were good, but nothing that i couldn't get at your average sports bar for much less.

                                        the portions were pretty tiny, although given how expensive the full menu is, the portion size was to be expected.

                                        i loved the ambience and the cocktails (other than the fact that you have to walk nearly a full block to get to the bathroom if you're seated at the front), but was overall very disappointed. then again, the reports about their regular menu have been good, so maybe they just don't put much effort into their happy hour. then again, i've never been a huge fan of boulevard.

                                        1. re: vulber

                                          Where did you have a wonderful happy hour the night before?

                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                            ha, whoops. meant to say at farallon.

                                    3. re: psb

                                      Joe DiMaggio's is part of a chain. There are some reports here:


                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        Yeah, I'm hoping the deep pockets of a chain might lead to a heavy subsidy,
                                        although I dont think Morton's has much of an HH. The $50/person deal until the end of the year isnt bad tho.

                                        Does McCormick+Smick/Spengers actually have decent food? Didnt they have
                                        some absurdly cheap HH deals?

                                        Another respectable HH is at Tokyo GoGo. Again that is in the "adult HH" category, not
                                        the "get wasted" category. Palio d'Asti had a good option, but they seem to have gotten rid of it. Of course places like TWO and TGG often ended up kind of $$$ ... once you started ordering a lot of Oysters, or the $4/bite toro ...

                                        If I ever make it out to NBeach at the right time, I'll analyze the JdM HH and report back.

                                        1. re: psb

                                          Morton's has $6 snacks at happy hour, but I've never heard anything good about the food, and most people don't have to come to San Francisco to visit one.

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            Well, I'll let you all know how the bar-bites were when I visit it next week prior to either the 7 or 8 o'clock curtain of two shows I'm seeing. All I want is a snack at 6pm.

                                    4. Does the Grand Cafe bar count?

                                      1. I know I might get darts thrown at me, but I actually think the Trader Vic's happy hour is pretty great. Half off all cocktails as well as the bar menu. It's not gourmet food by any stretch, but it's not horrible either, if you can forgive the occasionally oversauced dishes.

                                        Where else can you get a premium burger and a mai tai for $10?

                                        1. Thanks to this thread, although I won't treat it as Happy Hour, I've found where to eat before I see Melba Moore (8pm with unreserved seats) at Hotel Nikko and She Stoops to Comedy (7pm) at 533 Sutter.

                                          Morton's and Farallon's bar-bites will do just fine.

                                          1. Thanks SF chowhounds for all your helpful input! I'm sorry I didn't get back on the post to clearify my request. Robert got it right in his assessment and was a bit more articulate than I when he stated:

                                            "I figure issey's looking for happy-hour deals that let you try expensive restaurants' food on the cheap. That's a perfectly reasonable goal."

                                            For example, Nobu in LA has a great happy hour with appetizers 1/2 off at the bar. While we might spend $300 on 2 people when can escape with great food for a fraction of the price.

                                            Again, thanks for all the great leads!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: issey

                                              I seem to remember a few years ago, maybe around 2006 - The Ritz had a champagne happy hour. Does it still exist ?

                                            2. Happy hour at Epic Roasthouse is pretty good.

                                              Epic Roasthouse
                                              369 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: steve h.

                                                Steve H, what's good for HH at Epic Roasthouse? Have u tried the 3B's for $20? Burger, beer, brownie?
                                                HH menu:

                                                Epic Roasthouse
                                                369 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                                1. re: hhc

                                                  I have and I liked it!
                                                  The bar gets crowded and noisy but it has great views. I typically snag a (real) table by the window. The club chairs are mighty comfortable. It's an interesting water hole.

                                                  edited to add: The burger feeds two.