Area 31, db Moderne, Sustain: Bar Bites For Foodies Make A Truly Happy Hour

It's amazing what summertime brings. Restaurants pick up their hula hoops and spin in circles trying to attract patrons. We get great happy hour deals, new menu offerings, and a sampling of summer seasonal produce. At  happy hours, high-end restaurants put their chefs to work early, turning out amazing little plates to match with half-priced cocktails.

Now, non-epicures will embrace anything from the cheapest chicken wing to most loaded potato skin, but there is a certain allure to sitting bar--side and enjoying food that does more than simply satisfy. When in search of a little proscuitto crudo and melon with your rossini, head to the bar at Cecconi's where a new "cicchetti" menu offers mini "pizzettas" ($14), a fancy grilled ham and cheese sandwich ($14) and wood-oven meatballs ($10). They have also introduced a summer garden lunch menu ($23), which includes a choice of soup or salad, grilled fish or pasta, and includes a sgroppino, which is an Italian cocktail made with limoncello and roughly translates to "little un-knotter." La bella vita!

The happy hour at Area 31 features $5 drinks specials to wash down 

reasonably priced bar bites such as a "fish fry" of  calamari, rock

shrimp, and white fish ($6). The great news here is that happy hour,

which usually lasts from 5 - 8 p.m., runs until 10 p.m. on Thursdays and

Fridays. Summer celebrating begins on Tuesday, when the "Raw, Rosé,

Refresh" promotion launches. This deal includes a pairing of rock

shrimp ceviche and a glass of Juvé y Camps rosé for $10. Also valid all

day on Saturdays and Sundays when the promo gets sweeter, add a pool

pass to the Epic's adjacent sundeck for only $5 more.

Sustain weighs in with fancy cocktails made with

"fruit bitters" and alcohol extracts like rosemary and black pepper. Drinks are half-off from 5 - 7:30 p.m. daily, but on Wednesdays, get classic corn-dogs,

cast iron cooked meatballs and fried chickpeas, all for $3 each. New

summer menu additions include an heirloom tomato gazpacho, a watermelon

and watercress salad, and bbq beans ($6-$12). A 3-course tasting menu on

Mondays (starting this Monday, June 20 - July 25) is tailored towards

vegetarians ($35), highlighting local fruits and veggies that peak in

high heat.

db Bistro Moderne's "Lucky 7" happy hour charges exactly that

for everything on offer - cocktails (like their blackberry mojito made

with Flor De Caña Rum) wine (a French chardonnay, bordeaux, or rosé) and

various small plates. Curried duck rillette, a tomato braised chicken

and chorizo empanada, or perhaps the ceviche du jour? All can be had for

the same seven bucks, from 5 to 7 p.m., Monday - Friday.

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