9350 Fuerte Drive, La Mesa
Landlocked pirates, beware! The Brigantine — a microchain that touts more seafood specials than one’s sextant can fathom — finds true north during Happy Hours from 4pm to close on Sundays and Mondays, and 4 to 7pm from Tuesday through Saturday. Here’s the booty: $1 off draft pints, wells, select wines, and a $4.75 house margarita (which just kinda sucks, real talk). Stick with the discount beer and supplement as needed with $2.75 fish tacos, $4 clam chowder, $1.50 oysters on the half-shell, and a boatload of other snack specials. Better yet: Taco Tuesdays, featuring $1 off select tacos. Of course, one would fare well simply cutting to the chase with $2.75 pepper vodka oyster shooters.
1946 Fern Street, South Park
(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)
South Park Abbey
Attention, sports fans! It doesn’t matter your game, South Park Abbey has 36 taps of super-select beer (seriously, you’ve never heard of at least half of these) to accompany five-buck burgers (coming from a burger dude, yes, they rule) every weekday from open ’til 5pm. Check it out. All day Monday (rejoice!) and 3 to 7pm Tuesday through Friday, take $3 wells and pints and buck-fitty 8-ounce tasters. Sporting men like ourselves like to live on the edge, so try your luck with the daily $3 pint, which — along with everything else — sends 3 percent of proceeds to your choice of the Abbey’s-endorsed foundations.
1640 Camino Del Rio North, Downtown San Diego
Okay, the Yard House is a nationwide franchise, but make no mistake. This isn’t Applebee’s. The Gaslamp tap house offers over 130 brews, including more than a few San Diego favorites. In the name of science, let’s indulge the fact that a yard of beer is approximately 1.4 liters (i.e., a rite of passage). Anyhow, you won’t find the classic bulb-ended yard glass at this tap house, but, from Monday through Friday, 3 to 6pm and Sunday through Wednesday from 10pm to close, you can take domestic pints at $3.75, crafts and imports from $4.25 to $6.75, half-yards from $7.50 to $10.50, wells for around $4.50, plus a heap of half-off appetizers.
9143 Campo Road, Spring Valley
It’s hard not to appreciate what the Bancroft has done. In a space that looks like a scene cut from Back to the Future Part III, a handful of hardcore kids have turned a foreboding Spring Valley dive into a raucous nightlife venue and all-day (6am to 2am) pub. So! From 3 to 7pm every day, you get $2.75 wells, $2 Tecate bottles, and $3 Heinekens. Of course, un-Happy Hours are just as good, as owner Rob Logic regularly has free crockpot snacks by the door and perpetual punk-rock tall boys (PBR, Schlitz, Colt 45) at four bucks a pop. Breakfast boozers will appreciate the San Diego Sunrise or a Sunday Bloody Mary Sunday, both five bucks.
1271 University Avenue, Hillcrest
Yep, the former Ruby Room now goes by a name that 99 percent of us will mispronounce upon entry (it’s “mur-OH,” after the Gaelic mermaid, so ya know). Happiness runs weekdays from 5 to 8pm, with $3 wells, $1 off their many and magnificent drafts (16 crafts), and $5 beer flights. But the true treasure is Ryan Roots Cocktale Confessionals (Thursday through Sunday and Mondays after 9) when the mixology you receive is dependant upon the best erotic tale you can tell. Anticipate John Waters and Jodorowsky on the screen as you jockey for a drink with parables of the peen. If you’re just getting your feet wet with the drink, ask Mr. Roots to surprise you. You won’t be disappointed.
5225 Kearny Villa Road, Kearny Mesa
Kearny Mesa and the surrounding areas (hello, Mira Mesa) have become the de facto home to San Diego’s craft-beer luminaries thanks to ample warehouse space and laximus zoning regulations. So what better place to sample America’s Finest than this mesa alehouse, which highlights 20 taps on the hoppier side of San Diego with happy time running Monday through Friday from 3 to 7pm. Take a buck off all drafts, bottles, and food or come on the weekend from open to 7pm for wells at $2.75, any draft for 3 bucks, and a dollar off all food. Super discount wings every Monday from 5 to 8.
711 University Avenue (at Whole Foods), Hillcrest
7th Ave. Pub
Surprise! San Diego’s most selective sommeliers have been heading south to ole Meh-hee-koh to find the finest wines to stock their bars, and, believe it or not, it’s taking off, con gusto! Head to the entry room of Whole Foods in Hillcrest from Monday through Friday from 4 to 7pm or Saturday from noon to 3pm for $5 food specials created by Tijuana chef Martin San Roman of Tour de France and Rincon San Roman fame. Pair it with a glass of Valle de Guadalupe wine (the largest selection of Baja vintages north of the border) for $5 during Happy Hour, or munch some daily specials that include burgers, sushi, and fish & chips.
Tahiti Felix’s Tattoo Shop and Tiki Bar
Sure, you know Tijuana: Zona Norte, Playas, Revu — but hidden behind a bamboo façade on Septima and Negrete lies a wonderland of anachronistic culture that will shake the very foundations of your concept of this strange bordertown. Enter Chino, your dedicated Argentinian tattoo artist and bartender who offers: Hungover Sundays with a caguama (40 oz.) of beer at 50 pesos ($3.80) and Bloody Marys at 35 ($2.65); Crappy Tuesdays (50-peso caguamas); Classy Wednesdays (tiki drinks 2-for-1); Tropical Cumbia Thursdays (50-peso caguamas and the special of the day); and Sailor Jerry Fridays, when the sailor’s ink sinks (tattoos!) for 50 bucks apiece and tiki drinks are 40 pesos.
3029 University Avenue, North Park
(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)
This Palm Springs transplant melds Asian fusion with traditional Chinese cuisine in a deep-east glamorous (if not cavernous) dining room. You know the place: where the now-iconic 50-foot pink-and-purple cartoon dinosaur — painted by Madsteez — stomps along University Avenue’s historic JCPenney building. Crunch into Good Fortune Hour ’til 7 daily for $4 wells, $6 large martinis, $4 red or white wine, $4 drafts, $4 domestic bottles, and $5 import bottles. Nibble happy with $3 edamame hummus and wonton chips, $3 veggie spring rolls, $4 cream-cheese wontons, $5 salt & pepper shrimp, $4.50 dumplings, $5 jalapeño calamari, $4 beef skewers, and $3 edamame bowl. Invoke Tiki Tuesdays for $5 rum and punch cocktails and $8 pupu platters.
992 Palm Avenue, Imperial Beach
The Salty Frog
Imperial Beach can be a perplexing sector to navigate, but between the dirty dives and thuggish caverns, there exists a sanctuary of spirits and suds where, every day from 4 to 8pm, you can guzzle wells and imported bottles for an easy $3.50. If you’re lucky, a local band like Whiskey Circle will be playing on a Tuesday, when the bartender will flip a coin and, if heads is up, you take your grog for 25 cents. Herald the dawn with an Avodkalypse Sunday, when 4 bucks grants access to the Bloody Mary bar of every hangover’s dreams, including Ballast Point mix, celery, okra pickles, horseradish, Tajin, pickled beets, several hot sauces, cucumbers, olives, and everything else you could possibly imagine.