Top 5 happy hours of 2010

happy hour moto i.jpg
by Marsha Trainer
The writing's on the wall.
​The Twin Cities are home to many killer happy hours in a variety of venues. In the Upper Midwest, snazzy joints are just as likely to discount their cocktails in the early evening as your friendly local dive bar. The Hot Dish has been diligently visiting bars on your behalf each week to find the best half-priced vittles, bargain haute drinks, and great deals.

Here are our picks for 2010's best Happy Hours of the Week. They come in all shapes and sizes.

by Michelle Leon
Various cocktails at the Hop
1. Ginger Hop

201 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.746.0304

Hours and details: Sunday through Friday, 3-6 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, 10 p.m.-midnight, $3 select beer, including many craft brews, $5 select specialty drinks, $4 sake bombs, and a discounted food menu, including appetizers and burgers.

Here is the lowdown:

The venue: Ginger Hop has a laid-back vibe that will
make you forget about that bad day at work the minute you walk in the
door--especially with one of the specialty cocktails in hand and a
couple plates of appetizers in front of you. The bar's warm, dark wood,
accented with contemporary light fixtures, and vibrantly colored walls
and art give the place a comfortable, modern feel.

The verdict: Many choices and great values can be
found on this happy hour menu. We especially liked the fried
pickle--tempura battered and served on a stick--a dish where East
definitely meets Northeast. The fresh spring rolls and cream cheese
wontons were also lovely and all priced at $3. We were also impressed by
the happy hour beer selection, the place where many happy hours fall
short. The list was quite strong, including Bells, Deschutes, and Lift
Bridge. The cocktail choices were also quite nice, especially the White
Cosmo made with vodka, Saint Germaine, and white cranberry juice.
Indeed, a nice way to shake off the day, or enjoy a late night--a very
gratifying happy hour. --Michelle Leon

by Michelle Leon

2. La Cucaracha Mexican Restaurante

36 South Dale St., St. Paul; 651.221.9682

Hours and details:

7 days a week 3 -6 p.m., Friday-Saturday 10-midnight, $2-$3 beer specials, $3.50 house margaritas and rail drinks, $5 appetizers

Other daily specials:
Monday: $2 off large bullfighters
Tuesday: tequila flights $10 for 3 shots
Wednesday: 1/2 off any bottle of wine
Thursday: $3 for all pints and bottles of beer

Here's what you'll find, and our verdict:

Venue: This is not the place to go if you want a fancy martini or craft cocktail, but it's ideal if you want a simple blended margarita--icy cold, sweet and sour, maybe a pitcher full--or a bracing shot of tequila (they have roughly 50 kinds) or a cerveza with lime. The surroundings are unpretentious, with traditional festive decor. The bartenders are friendly, and owners Nina and Gina are gracious and warm, as they have been since the '70s. This place is down-to-earth and mellow.

Verdict: We really like this happy hour. With a nice selection of $5 apps, including wings, nachos, and ceviche (in season), $3.50 margaritas, and the vintage charm of the Summit Hill neighborhood, this happy hour is refreshingly unfancy and fun. --Michelle Leon

Sponsor Content

Now Trending

From the Vault