by Jenny Vergara

Happy Hour, and the specials that come with it, are not only a great reason to get together with friends, it is also a way to sample some of the fantastic food offered at some of our nicer restaurants for a steal. During Happy Hour, you can eat and drink like a king or queen for only a fraction of the regular menu price. These are the locally owned, chef driven places that place equal importance on food and drink on their Happy Hour menus.

Another thing to remember is that some of the best places to go for Happy Hour also have incredible bartender talent, which makes the Happy Hour proposition twice as nice.

The low price also affords you the luxury to step out of your culinary comfort zone and order some dishes or drinks you may have never tried before. Consider Happy Hour the time to let your tastebuds try on something new.

Check out these places that will give you a taste of what makes our Happy Hour scene so great.

Novel

Novel on Kansas City's Westside

Happy Hour is Tuesday-Thursday 5-6 p.m.

Chef/Owner Ryan Brazeal just recently started offering Happy Hour at his notable neighborhood restaurant on the Westside. He is offering two-three happy hour dishes for around $5 that are not on his regular menu. Items like his house made steamed pork buns with a smoked hoisin sauce and lobster pie. The drinks specials will also hover around $5 a glass for a select group of craft beers, wines by the glass and specialty cocktails, like sangria. Take note, the happy hour menu will change frequently, but it will be honored throughout the entire restaurant.

815 W. 17th St., Kansas City, MO, 816-221-0785, novelkc.com.

Le Fou Frog

Happy Hour is Tuesday-Friday, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

If you have had the kind of day where you just want to escape to a different place, or country, then Le Fou Frog is where you want to go. Sit at the bar or at one of the charming café tables and enjoy a selection of French wines by the glass, local beers, cocktails or a lovely aperitif all around $4-$5 a glass. Order pomme frites, mussels in a white wine cream sauce and a nice green salad with citrus vinaigrette and a warm goat cheese crouton for well-below dinner menu prices. Once inside, there are no windows to tell you it is time to go home, and that might mean your Happy Hour may turn into dinner. Stranger things have happened here.

400 E. 5th St., Kansas City, MO, 816-474-6060, lefoufrog.com

Extra Virgin

Extra Virgin in Kansas City

Happy Hour is Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m.

With its warm and colorful décor, and large communal bar and outdoor patio the Happy Hour at Extra Virgin is usually packed with shiny, happy people ready to relax. Their Happy Hour keeps it simple, by offering a nice mix of half off tapas and $2 off all cocktails and wines by the glass. Pick your poison, and let one of the terrific bartenders shake one up for you, while you choose from items like marinated olives, roasted marrow bones, Spanish meatballs and sea urchin pasta. Now, turn and introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you. Who knows! You could become fast friends with a shared love of food and drink this good.

1900 Main St., Kansas City, MO, 816-842-2205, extravirginkc.com

Cleaver & Cork

Happy Hour is Monday-Thursday, 4-7 p.m. and Reverse Happy Hour is Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to midnight.

Due to Cleaver & Cork’s convenient location in the Power & Light District, you can get “happy” early in the evening or late at night with their reverse happy hour. Wet your whistle with $4 draft beers, $5 wines by the glass, $6 barrel-aged cocktails including Cleaver & Cork’s signature drink, The Horsefeather. There are a select number of juicy, half price, meat-centric menu items to choose from like their beefsteak burger, a cheddar-stuffed bratwurst and pulled pork sandwich.

1333 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 816-541-3484, cleaverandcork.com.

Bristol Seafood Grill

Happy Hour is Monday-Friday, 4-6:30 p.m.

With two locations, one in the Power & Light District and other out in Leawood, know that the happy hours and menus are slightly different at each location. They both offer amazing drink specials including their new Porthole infuser (offered at the downtown location only) during happy hour for $16 (serves two, a must do). Oysters on the half shell are $1 to shuck, with lobsters claws only $3.50. There is a long list of appetizers for only $7. Try the lobster rolls, the tuna tartare and shrimp ceviche to catch some of the fresh fish that is on the menu at Bristol.

Two locations: 51 E 14th St., Kansas City, MO, 816-448-6007 and 5400 W 119th St., Leawood, KS, 913-663-5777, bristolseafoodgrill.com.  

Voltaire

Happy Hour is Wednesday-Saturday 4-6 p.m.

There is not one person who wouldn’t enjoy a little Happy Hour libation at the gorgeous bar tucked away inside of Voltaire located in the West Bottoms. The place is dark, and definitely romantic, so bring someone you want to get to know a little better. With a solid crew behind the bar do not hesitate to order a $4 glass of house wine or local beer or one of the Happy Hour cocktail specials, like $4 Highball, $5 Sangria and $6 Old Fashioned. The food menu changes each week, with a variety of globally inspired small plates with something for everyone. Items like potato latke, brandade on toast and even KC-style barbecue pulled pork with coleslaw and French fries are what you can expect to see and enjoy.

1617 Genessee St., Kansas City, MO, 816-472-1200, voltairekc.com

The Rieger

Manifesto

Happy Hour is Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m.

Craft cocktail culture is alive and well at The Rieger. Here in this refurbished historic hotel, you will find talented bartenders working upstairs at the restaurant, and another team working downstairs at Manifesto, the speakeasy located in the basement. Hosting one of the earliest Happy Hours, which starts at 3 p.m., The Rieger offers a nice mix of appetizers and entrees at a marvelous value. The menu here is constantly changing. Consider starting your Happy Hour with a bowl that is the signature dish of the restaurant, The Rieger pork soup, or to mix it up, try the dill pickle soup. Then perhaps a salad or the braunschweiger mousse plate or the mini pork tenderloin sandwiches all cost between $5 and $10. There are beer and wine specials, but this is another place where ordering a cocktail is the best idea. At Happy Hour, they always have a small selection of drinks available between $5 and $6. Choose from a French 75, the Red Bicyclette, the Horsefeather and a handful of others.

1924 Main St., Kansas City, MO, 816-471-2177, theriegerkc.com

Lidia’s Kansas City

Lidia's Kansas City photo by Jenny Wheat

Happy Hour is Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m.

There is nothing cozier, after a long day at work than the welcoming bar at Lidia’s. They boast a $5 happy hour menu that is generous and speaks Italian. Order the Frico, a Montasio cheese crisp with sausage and roast tomatoes, or get the Fritto Misto, fried calamari, shrimps and vegetables all for $5 each. To drink Lidia’s offers a selection of craft draft beers for $3 and house wine for $5, but try one of their special Happy Hour cocktails for only $5. Crowd favorites include the Orange Manhattan and the crisp Cucumber Gimlet.

101 W. 22nd St., Kansas City, MO, 816-221-3722, lidias-kc.com.

Bluestem

Bluestem Photo by Bonjwing Lee

Happy Hour is Tuesday-Friday, 4-6 p.m.

The newly redesigned lounge area at Bluestem features a large communal table in the window, additional seats around the pastry station and more tables and chairs for more people to enjoy their casual and comforting Happy Hour specials. Although, the restaurant side of Bluestem is some of the finest dining you will ever enjoy, the lounge keeps it more casual and everyday feeling in decor and prices. Drink specials on wines and beers by the glass in addition to some spectacular cocktails is the norm here. You’ll dine like a king with their value priced bar menu offerings. Try the hand cut beef tartare, smoky tomato soup, grilled lamb skewers or the hanger steak with chimichurri and frites. There is also a dessert menu that you must not pass up. Trust me on this one—you may want to order dessert first.

900 Westport Rd., Kansas City, MO, 816-561-1101, bluestemkc.com.

Jax’s Fish House & Oyster Bar

Happy Hour is all night on Mondays, Tuesday-Thursday 4-6 p.m. and Friday-Sunday, 2:30-6 p.m.

With such a generous Happy Hour schedule, you can tell the folks at Jax’s Fish House know how to party. Get there early and grab the first barstool you see, then settle in for a marvelous cocktail like the Mad Mojito, Revive ’85 and Bangkok Fizz for only $5. Get oysters on the half shell for $1.50 or pick and choose from a cheap and cheerful Happy Hour menu full of delicious items like the kimchi fish cake slider, peel and eat shrimp and spicy tuna.

4814 Roanoke Pkwy., Kansas City, MO, 816-437-7940, jaxfishhouse.com/kansas-city.

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