A friend in the wine business says that selling wine to restaurants and supermarkets is like “hand-to-hand combat”. I guess what he means is there is a lot of competition. Wines lists have certainly evolved in the past twenty years. The happy hour scene in the San Gabriel Valley has really heated up. It used to be that McCormick and Schmick’s was the only game in town for upscale surroundings and low prices. Although the time of the $1.99 burgers and $3 beer is long gone, there are four restaurants in a one-mile radius that are fighting for your last dollar with some pretty impressive wine/beer selections.
First, how did the happy hour first come into our lives? It was an old Navy term – the sailors would get a break from their daily activities and drink beer and fight on the ship. Drinking on the ship was soon outlawed and the “happy” part went away. During Prohibition, adults would meet in speakeasies or friends’ homes before going out to dinner. Since it was illegal, alcohol could not be served in restaurants, so friends would say, “let’s meet for happy hour”. It took some forty years for restaurants and bars to catch on with drinks and food specials, though some states, to this day have banned the term “happy hour”.
Sip and share at Del Frisco’s from 4 PM to 6:30 PM. Their menu has what is called “food to fight over”, including deviled eggs, pork nachos and waygu corn dogs, a nice selection of wines (including a Josh Cellars Cab that will go well any other appetizers). What I like is that they have all of their tap beers for $5, and all sip and share items are reasonably priced at $6. Get the White Sangria, a perfect drink for summer, plus it comes with a popsicle! I wish they had a bit more food to fight over, but the price is right. 55 S. Lake Ave Pasadena. Various locations
Paul Martins’, also on South Lake, starts at 3 PM and has $5 beers and wines from $5 to $9. If you get the burger for $15, they throw in the beer gratis. The educated Guess Cabernet ($13) is a stand-out. 455 S. Lake Pasadena. Various locations
As far the food, Ruths Chris gets the nod over the others. Their Swizzle and Stir menu is $9 and includes a steak sandwich that is the bargain of all bargains. Happy hour includes selected mixed drinks and wines by the glass. 369 E. Colorado Blvd. Pasadena. Various locations
Alexander’s, located at the aforementioned McCormick’s old spot, offers their Social Hour. This is definitely a business hour with no shortage of incredible eats at more of a white linen price, but still a reduced price point. Try the Waygu Burger ($16) and the Imperial Waygu Pastrami ($22) which goes great with Simmone Brut $8. If draft beer is your style, try Anderson Valley ale ($4). Stop here Monday through Friday 5 PM-6:30PM. 199 N. Los Robles Pasadena
A wide choice of prices for my Happy Hour Round Up.
Be safe. Don’t drink and drive. Did I miss a spot? Listen in to Dining with Dills on AM 830 KLAA on Sundays at 5 PM, and tune into PBS on Thursday nights at 7:30 PM
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Thanks for reading Peter’s post about Happy Hour Pasadena Style!
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