Make Happy Hour Count

click to enlarge These happy hours will do away with any work-related stress.
These happy hours will do away with any work-related stress.

B & D Ice House We were told that we'd love this little hole in the wall bar and barbecue joint, and we do. Its position between Hot Joy and The Friendly Spot to the south, Rosario's to the north and Madhatter's across the street makes it all the more appealing as the what-you-see-is-what-you-get tends to run low in the blossoming Southtown 'hood. The beer selection is solid and all draft beers, crafts as well as crap, are $4 during happy hour, which runs from the time the bar opens to 4 p.m. daily. The picnic tables smell of roasting animal flesh and shareable portions will have you believing you're at a roadside motorcycle bar/barbecue joint off of one of Texas' many serene Hill Country highways — even if your khaki-clad yuppie ass only ever ventures as far away from the Blue Star lofts as your $2,000 beach cruiser and whiny, spoiled paramour will allow.

Their sides, from mac and cheese to coleslaw and baked beans — the staples of a balanced Texas day-drinking diet — are top notch. The bartenders and cooks are true blue and the simple décor and bar oddities along the wall make it a getaway for those that like a little white trash-icana with their 'cue' and brew. The honky tonk-stocked jukebox, although it is not currently operational, is also reminiscent of another little Southtown dive's famous quarter-eating disc jockey.

Tip: Ask Michelle to pump the Supertramp and you're in like Flynn. 1004 S. Alamo St., (210) 225-9801,

Cured Should you find yourself out of work between 3 and 6 p.m., let Cured lure you in with their specials — half-priced craft cocktails (usually priced $9 to $12), beers ($3 to $11), with the exception of the miscellaneous brews listed on the menu, and wine by the glass. Or heck, sneak out of work and load up on usual happy hour bite specials of 50 cent quail legs and more. 306 Pearl Pkwy., (210) 314-3929,

Kona Grill If you love a great deal and a challenge, check out Kona Grill's happy hour. Monday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 3 to 11 p.m., Kona Grill offers fresh sushi, delicious appetizers, and wines and booze at incredible prices. Here's where the "challenge" part comes in: Kona Grill is always packed during happy hour. Beat the crowd by coming early and in a small group, and be prepared to make friends with your neighbor — happy hour prices are only valid at the bar and a few prime tables. And for all you night owls, stop by their reverse happy hour Monday through Saturday from 9 to 11 p.m. 15900 La Cantera Pkwy., (210) 877-5355,

Lüke Once you're over the inconvenient hurdle of parking in Downtown San Antonio in the midst of rush hour, celebrity chef/restaurateur/Louisiana legend John Besh's River Walk outpost Lüke calms the nerves with a rightfully award-winning happy hour. As if $1 gulf oysters on the half shell and half-priced drafts, wines and cocktails (the exception being the notoriously tricked-out bloody mary) weren't enough reason to visit the airy space and its breezy patio, consider bonuses like budget sliders, extended happy hours (not to mention free parking at meters and city-operated lots) on Downtown Tuesdays and Spurs games on the flat-screens behind the bar. 125 E. Houston St., (210) 227-5853,

Palenque Grill Make your way to the North Side between 4 and 7 p.m. (you're going to be hard pressed to make it there after work coming from Downtown, but it is possible), pay the Grill a happy hour visit. Happy hour snackin' begins with chips and salsa, naturally, but also with an addictive refried bean and chorizo dip. A boozy and refreshing Jose Cuervo Especial margarita on the rocks for $3.49 is a great place to start your drinking. After you've had a few drinks and moved past the chips and dip hunger level, turn your attention to the panchitos and tacos al pastor. An order of panchitos for $2.99 presents a heaping plate of nachos topped with fajita meat and guacamole. Multiple locations,

Sparky's Pub A favorite on the Main Strip for a variety of reasons, the straight-friendly "Gayrish" pubs Sparky's welcomes all walks for happy hours that are both ultra-casual and wallet-friendly. Offered daily, the hotspot's happy hour promises $2 wells and domestic beer between 3 and 9 p.m. (and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays). And if their oversized cocktails leave you loopy, grab some grub and a coffee from the onsite cafe. 1416 N. Main Ave., (210) 320-5111,

Sushihana Castle Hills has a well-kept secret: A happy hour so joyous you've gotta sit down for it. From 5 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 4 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the prices are slashed on just about every sushi roll on the menu. Not feeling fish? The Sushihana wings, available in spicy sweet chili or teriyaki are $5.95, while a six-piece gyoza order will set you back $3.95 and a five-piece spring roll is only $2.95. Take $1 off all beers, and enjoy house wines — red or white — for $5 a glass. 1810 NW Military Hwy., (210) 340-7808,

Wurzbach Ice House Nestled between Loops 410 and 1604 along Wurzbach Parkway, Wurzbach Ice House is a few-frills spot to watch the game, shoot pool, play darts and bend an elbow. Its happy hour is both lengthy and easy on your wallet, running from the time the bar opens its doors (noon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 4 p.m. the rest of the week) until 8 p.m. Swing by for $2 domestic beers, $3 imported beers and $2.50 well drinks. 10141 Wurzbach Road, (210) 877-2100,

Zinc Bistro & Wine Bar The quiet little sister of Boudro's, Zinc is tucked away on North Presa — just a short walk north from the small $5 or $6 manned parking lot across from La Villita. Happy hour runs from 3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays, cutting prices in half for house specialty cocktails and most shared plates, and knocking the house red and white down to $5 each. Don't miss the prickly pear margarita or the hummus. 207 N. Presa St., (210) 224-2900,

See the rest of the list.

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