Ambiance reminiscent of a reclusive lord’s library

Saiko Sake & Sushi
  • Saiko Sake & Sushi

Brick Bar

1475 University Avenue, Hillcrest

T Lounge

Located beneath the billowing rainbow flag of Hillcrest east, the Bamboo Lounge recently rebranded to the T Lounge and, with their renovations, included a happy hour of polychromatic proportions. More than just a lounge, the locale is home to a gallery curated by Thumbprint and a lush Asiatic garden out back. Two-dollar wells from 4 to 6, $3 Budweiser from 4 to 10, and $4 you-call-its from 6 to 8 daily. Sangria, $5 all day on weekends. Two dollars off grub from 5 to 7. The hot wings ($7 during happy hour) are some of the crispiest in town.

Bottega Americano

1195 Island Avenue, East Village

(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)

Bottega Americano

Perhaps the chicest Italian joint in town, Bottega Americano’s bar and lounge goes felice from 3 to 6 daily. That means $6 wells, $5 wine, $20 carafes, and $5 drafts from ten mostly local taps. Meat and cheese boards are three items for $12 or five for $19. Of their salumeria selection, highlights include the speck, duck prosciutto, pistachio mortadella, and the black truffle and pork salami. “For the Table” items (a variety of appetizers) are $4, Chef’s bruschetta is $5, all pizzas go for $10. All food specials kick back in from 10 to close, Thursday through Saturday.

The Safehouse

2930 University Avenue, North Park

(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)

Safehouse

Beer and Japanese cuisine coalesce like Kabuki dancers at this uptown patio. Weekdays from 4:30 to 7 and 11 to midnight, take $2 off beers, $1 off buns, or a Sapporo and sake combo for $6 all day. Thirty taps of mostly local favorites accompany eight sticky buns. Among the best offerings, braised duck, pork belly, and soft-shell crab buns are $3 during HH. Bloody Marys are a buck on weekends from 10 to noon if you buy brunch. And, in what should already be a trend everywhere, phone charger USB ports run the length of the bar.

The Hopping Pig

748 Fifth Avenue, Downtown San Diego

The Hopping Pig Gastropub

One of the most recent arrivals in Gaslamp’s gastropub offerings, The Hopping Pig’s happy hour runs a gluttonous 11:30am to 7pm daily. Select drafts go for $4.50 (take $1 off the rest), wells and wine are $4.50, Bloody Marys $5, and mimosas (orange, watermelon, pineapple) are $3. When your stomach starts to growl, take $2.75 fish tacos, carnitas tacos, and BBQ pork sliders. To focus in on the porcine side of the pig, the carnitas tacos are decent for the price but lack the moisture and richness one finds across the border at places such as Mercado Hidalgo.

Saiko Sake & Sushi Bar

2884 University Avenue, North Park

Saiko Sushi

Specializing in premium sake and sushi, Saiko rolls happy seven days a week from 4 to 6:30 with $4 drafts/wine and $5 sake. The $2 app menu includes edamame, kim chi, seaweed, and sonomono salad. Select rolls (Saikorama, California, spicy tuna) and appetizers (grilled eggplant & cucumber, salt & pepper chicken wings, crispy chicken skins) go for $5. Don’t skip the Saikorama (tempura fried yellowtail, salmon, and krab topped with wasabi aioli and caramelized soy sauce) and chicken skins (think of a slightly leaner pork rind).

Bully's East

2401 Camino del Rio South, Mission Valley

Bully’s East

A classic steakhouse with ambiance reminiscent of a reclusive lord’s library, Bully’s is all about prime rib. Eight-ounce cuts go for $19 on Wednesdays. From 4 to 6:30 on weekdays, Bully’s menu opens up for happy hour with favorites including Manila clams ($10), crab-stuffed mushrooms ($5), baked brie ($7), super lump crab cakes ($10), fried artichoke hearts ($4), and volcano shrimp ($9). Thirsty appetites will appreciate domestic bottles and drafts at $2.50, wells for $3.50, and wine at $5. Hangovers will rejoice over Saturday mimosa specials, which increase by a buck an hour (starting at $1) from 9am to 1pm.

Wine Steals

1243 University Avenue, Hillcrest

(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)

Wine Steals

Wine Steals

Wine Steals

Home to one of University’s liveliest patios, Wine Steals touts over 30 vintages from around the world. Happiness rules Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 7 with $5 cask wines, $4 drafts, $2 off all wines, and food specials. Weekends, 16 ounces of mimosa go for five bucks from 11am to 4pm. In addition to happy hours, daily specials include $4 sangria after 7pm Tuesdays, $5 wine tastings from 5:30 to 7:30 Wednesday, ten wine tastings for $10 from 4 to 6 Saturdays, and half-price flights from 11am until they run out on Sundays.

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