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America's Best Cities for Happy Hour

America’s Best Cities for Happy Hour

In the midst of a long and stressful work week, many Americans find respite in casual drinks with coworkers. Not only can ‘happy hour’ take the edge off, but socializing with coworkers after office hours can lead to improved team collaboration, productivity and organization. Although happy hour certainly has its benefits, some cities around the country are significantly more conducive to food and drink specials than others. To get a sense of the most happy hour friendly cities, CNBC.com asked Je
Photo: Nisian Hughes | Stone | Getty Images

In the midst of a long and stressful work week, many Americans find respite in casual drinks with coworkers. Not only can ‘happy hour’ take the edge off, but socializing with coworkers after office hours can lead to improved team collaboration, productivity and organization.

Although happy hour certainly has its benefits, some cities around the country are significantly more conducive to food and drink specials than others. To get a sense of the most happy hour friendly cities, CNBC.com asked Jeff Khadavi, co-founder of the happy hour listing site GoTime.com, to make his picks on America’s best happy hour cities.

Drawing from GoTime’s database of over 25,000 happy hour listings in over 60 cities nationwide, Khadavi made his selections based upon a city’s total number of happy hours, quality, variety and density of happy hours as well as prevalence of drinking in the local culture and user ratings from GoTime’s website and mobile app.

So, which cities offer the best happy hour scene? Click ahead to find out!

By Paul Toscano
Posted 8 Sept 2010

12. Phoenix, Arizona

Venues offering happy hour: 1,411 Happy hours per sq mile: 2.7 The largest city in Arizona is also one of the best when it comes to happy hour, according to Khadavi. The city is heavily influenced by Mexican culture and although tequila and margaritas are in no short supply, the city hosts a wide variety of happy hour selections to help cool off from the desert heat. offering 2-for-1 margaritas, beers and well drinks with daily $3 specials. Happy hour runs from 4-6:30pm and again from 10pm-midni
Photo: Getty Images

Venues offering happy hour: 1,411
Happy hours per sq mile: 2.7

The largest city in Arizona is also one of the best when it comes to happy hour, according to Khadavi. The city is heavily influenced by Mexican culture and although tequila and margaritas are in no short supply, the city hosts a wide variety of happy hour selections to help cool off from the desert heat.

Happy Hour Recommendation
Fez,offering 2-for-1 margaritas, beers and well drinks with daily $3 specials. Happy hour runs from 4-6:30pm and again from 10pm-midnight.

11. Orlando, Florida

Places offering happy hour: 361 Happy hours per sq mile: 3.6 More than just home to SeaWorld and Disney, Orlando is an important economic center for the region and hosts over 150 international companies, opening up a range of opportunities for happy hours to thrive. “The city offers some of the best bars, clubs and watering holes in the South,” says Jeff Khadavi. offering the city’s oldest and longest happy hour, which runs from 7:30am to 7:30pm every day. Drinks start at $2.50 and everything is
Photo: Chris Scott

Venues offering happy hour: 361
Happy hours per sq mile: 3.6

More than just home to SeaWorld and Disney, Orlando is an important economic center for the region and hosts over 150 international companies, opening up a range of opportunities for happy hours to thrive. “The city offers some of the best bars, clubs and watering holes in the South,” says Jeff Khadavi.

Happy Hour Recommendation
Wally’s Mills Avenue Liquors,offering the city’s oldest and longest happy hour, which runs from 7:30am to 7:30pm every day. Drinks start at $2.50 and everything is discounted.

10. Detroit, Michigan

Venues offering happy hour: 672 Happy hours per sq mile: 4.7 With the recession putting pressure on consumers across the country, few places have been hit as hard as Detroit. As America experiences a “happy hour boom,” establishments in Detroit may have additional incentive to draw customers in with reduced prices. which offers typical food and drink specials in Downtown Detroit, is notable for its 50-cent pints of PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) starting at 4pm, with prices increasing $0.25 every half
Photo: Walter Bibikow | Getty Images

Venues offering happy hour: 672
Happy hours per sq mile: 4.7

With the recession putting pressure on consumers across the country, few places have been hit as hard as Detroit.

As America experiences a “happy hour boom,” establishments in Detroit may have additional incentive to draw customers in with reduced prices.

Happy Hour Recommendation
Cliff Bells,which offers typical food and drink specials in Downtown Detroit, is notable for its 50-cent pints of PBR (Pasbt Blue Ribbon) starting at 4pm, with prices increasing $0.25 every half hour. Happy hour runs from 4-7pm Tuesday through Friday.

9. Hoboken, New Jersey

Places offering happy hour: 63 Happy hours per sq mile: 31.5 Although it’s one of the smallest locales in this list, Hoboken, New Jersey --an up-and-coming town situated across the Hudson River from New York City --has perhaps the densest concentration of happy hours in the country. Khadavi points out that although the area is known for its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, commuters who work in New York but live in Hoboken create a prime market for happy hours to thrive. (pictured) offers one of
Photo: Charlie Walker

Venues offering happy hour: 63
Happy hours per sq mile: 31.5

Although it’s one of the smallest locales in this list, Hoboken, New Jersey — an up-and-coming town situated across the Hudson River from New York City — has perhaps the densest concentration of happy hours in the country.

Khadavi points out that although the area is known for its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, commuters who work in New York but live in Hoboken create a prime market for happy hours to thrive.

Happy Hour Recommendation
Scotland Yard (pictured) offers one of the cheapest happy hours in town, with half - price drinks every weekday from when the bar opens until 7:30pm. Widely considered a “dive bar” by locals, it routinely features live music, a crowded scene, a laid back staff and games like darts and beer pong.

8. Austin, Texas

Places offering happy hour: 639 Happy hours per sq mile: 2.2 The defense industry and high-tech sectors dominate Austin’s economy while the 50,000 students at the University of Texas at Austin keep the bar scene vibrant. The city has also made pushes in recent years to increase residency in its business district, which could significantly bolster the happy hour scene in coming years. Austin gets a top ranking for its wide variety of happy hours on 6th street, robust college environment, annual f
Photo: 4 Eyes Photography | Getty Images

Venues offering happy hour: 639
Happy hours per sq mile: 2.2

The defense industry and high-tech sectors dominate Austin’s economy while the 50,000 students at the University of Texas at Austin keep the bar scene vibrant.

The city has also made pushes in recent years to increase residency in its business district, which could significantly bolster the happy hour scene in coming years.

Austin gets a top ranking for its wide variety of happy hours on 6th street, robust college environment, annual festivals and wide choice of live music performances on any given night.

Happy Hour Recommendation
The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium,which offers happy hour Mon-Thurs from 4-7pm and Friday from 4-8pm. The bar also hosts an annual beer fest and boast over 40 beers on tap.

7. Denver, Colorado

Places offering happy hour: 1,318 Happy hours per sq mile: 8.5 Denver and its surrounding area is home to a large number of local and national breweries, ranking 1st in the nation in beer production per capita and second in number of total brew houses. Denver has a robust beer culture, hosting the Great American Beer Festival each September, and currently hosts 1,318 happy hours, according to GoTime.com, giving Denver the 4th highest total in the country. hosts happy hours every weekday from 3:3
Photo: Steubens.com

Venues offering happy hour: 1,318
Happy hours per sq mile: 8.5

Denver and its surrounding area is home to a large number of local and national breweries, ranking 1st in the nation in beer production per capita and second in number of total brew houses.

Denver has a robust beer culture, hosting the Great American Beer Festival each September, and currently hosts 1,318 happy hours, according to GoTime.com, giving Denver the 4th highest total in the country.

Happy Hour Recommendation
Sports Columnhosts happy hours every weekday from 3:30-6pm and 10pm-close 7 days per week. Specials include $2 domestic beers, well drinks and wine with $3 imports and specialty shots.

6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Number of happy hours: 643 Happy hours per sq mile: 4.5 In addition to its hoagies and cheese steaks, the city of Brotherly Love offers a wide variety of food and drink spots, from high-end restaurants to breweries, which makes for a vibrant happy hour scene, says Jeff Khadavi. Philadelphia is one of the most economically vibrant cities in the country and is home to several Fortune 500 companies, including Comcast, Colonial Penn, Sunoco and Lincoln Financial. With so many working professionals,
Photo: Bruno Barbier | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Venues offering happy hour: 643
Happy hours per sq mile: 4.5

In addition to its hoagies and cheese steaks, the city of Brotherly Love offers a wide variety of food and drink spots, from high-end restaurants to breweries, which makes for a vibrant happy hour scene, says Jeff Khadavi.

Philadelphia is one of the most economically vibrant cities in the country and is home to several Fortune 500 companies, including Comcast, Colonial Penn, Sunoco and Lincoln Financial. With so many working professionals, bars in the city offer 4.5 happy hours every square mile.

Happy Hour Recommendation
Philadelphia’s Oyster Houseoffers a unique happy hour, dubbed “Oyster Hour.” With “buck-a-shuck” specials for $1 oysters, $3 draft beer and $3 oyster shooters, it is a departure from the restaurant’s more pricey menu. Oyster House hosts their happy hour Mon-Fri from 5-7pm and Saturday from 9-11pm, and attracts a large happy hour crowd.

5. New York, New York

Venues offering happy hour: 1,726 Happy hours per sq mile: 3.7 Sheer numbers make New York the food and drink capital of the US, says Jeff Khadavi. The city also features the nation’s most diverse happy hour selections, which offer consumers a vast amount of options - 1,726 to be exact - happy hours are just steps away in every direction. The robust public transportation system, dynamic neighborhoods and large working population make New York City one of the country’s best for after-work drinks.
Photo: Getty Images

Venues offering happy hour: 1,726
Happy hours per sq mile: 3.7

Sheer numbers make New York the food and drink capital of the US, says Jeff Khadavi. The city also features the nation’s most diverse happy hour selections, which offer consumers a vast amount of options - 1,726 to be exact - happy hours are just steps away in every direction.

The robust public transportation system, dynamic neighborhoods and large working population make New York City one of the country’s best for after-work drinks.

Happy Hour Recommendation
Mark Forgione’s“Suckling Pig Happy Hour” in Tribeca offers a happy hour gem: $16 all-you-can-eat suckling pig sliders on Tuesdays from 6-9pm. But with so many happy hours to choose from in New York, GoTime also suggests Verlaine— offering happy hour from 5-10pm every day and $5 lychee martinis — and Ten Degrees— a wine bar on the Lower East Side that offers 2-for-1 drinks from noon until 8pm.

4. Seattle, Washington

Venues offering happy hour: 1,203 Happy hours per sq mile: 8.5 Although Seattle is best known for coffee, the city is also a great place for other types of beverages, especially those enjoyed during happy hour. The city has a “rich selection of deeply discounted happy hour deals” says Jeff Khadavi. The city is home to a number of Fortune 500 companies with a strong presence from technology companies while other nearby towns are home to major companies, such as Microsoft and Nintendo in Redmond a
Photo: Chelsea Nesvig

Venues offering happy hour: 1,203
Happy hours per sq mile: 8.5

Although Seattle is best known for coffee, the city is also a great place for other types of beverages, especially those enjoyed during happy hour. The city has a “rich selection of deeply discounted happy hour deals” says Jeff Khadavi.

The city is home to a number of Fortune 500 companies with a strong presence from technology companies while other nearby towns are home to major companies, such as Microsoft and Nintendo in Redmond and Costco in Issaquah, providing plenty of professional clientele for happy hour.

Happy Hour Recommendation
Toulouse Petit(pictured) claims to have “The Best Happy Hour Menu in the Nation” with 50 items priced less than $5 and hosting happy hour in both the early evening (4-5:30pm) and then again late night (10pm – 1am). They also offer a variety of New Orleans-style cuisine where you can find unique items - including fried alligator - on the happy hour menu.

3. San Diego, California

Venues offering happy hour: 751 Happy hours per sq mile: 2.0 San Diego ranks third in the nation for happy hour, thanks largely to the city’s 16 1/2 block Gaslamp Quarter - San Diego’s dining, entertainment and urban shopping district - which boasts more happy hours per square mile than any other neighborhood in the country. PETCO Park, home of the Padres, is right outside the Gaslamp district, and allows happy hour patrons to easily mix after work drinks with a baseball game. The city also has
Photo: Siegfried Layda | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Venues offering happy hour: 751
Happy hours per sq mile: 2.0

San Diego ranks third in the nation for happy hour, thanks largely to the city’s 16 1/2 block Gaslamp Quarter - San Diego’s dining, entertainment and urban shopping district - which boasts more happy hours per square mile than any other neighborhood in the country.

PETCO Park, home of the Padres, is also right outside the Gaslamp district, allowing happy hour patrons to easily mix after-work drinks with a baseball game.

The city also has a trolley system which is centralized around San Diego’s downtown area, allowing people to easily make it out to happy hour from the city’s major neighborhoods.

Happy Hour Recommendation
La Puerta:With 93% of users submitting positive reviews, on GoTime.com, it is the #1 ranked happy hour destination in San Diego. La Puerta offers happy hour daily from 3-7pm, which includes half price drinks and appetizers and $1 Mimosas with brunch on Sundays.

2. Washington D.C.

Venues offering happy hour: 880 Happy hours per sq mile: 12.9 With a vibrant young professional crowd, several colleges in the area and a majority of working professionals active in the local bar scene, Washington DC certainly deserves to scores highly, says Jeff Khadavi. DC’s happy hour scene has a number of diverse options, from happy hours overlooking the Potomac to dive bars serving $2 beers and piano bars that combine live entertainment with deep discounts. There is also a high density of h
Photo: Jeff Hutchens | Getty Images

Venues offering happy hour: 880
Happy hours per sq mile: 12.9

With a vibrant young professional crowd, several colleges in the area and a majority of working professionals active in the local bar scene, Washington DC certainly deserves to scores highly, says Jeff Khadavi.

DC’s happy hour scene has a number of diverse options, from happy hours overlooking the Potomac to dive bars serving $2 beers and piano bars that combine live entertainment with deep discounts.

There is also a high density of happy hours within the DC city limits - with nearly 13 per square mile - that draw clientele from the nearby cities in Virginia and Maryland via the city’s highly-rated Metrorail system.

Happy Hour Recommendation
The H Street Country Club, which offers a wide range of games including a miniature golf course upstairs with each hole a tribute to a different DC monument, is located in an up-and-coming neighborhood with a trendy bar scene. The bar is also known for hosting DC Skee Ball league. Happy hour at H Street is from 5-8pm, offering $3 Dos Equis and $5 Classic Margaritas.

1. Portland, Oregon

Venues offering happy hour: 803 Happy hours per sq mile: 5.5 America’s best city for happy hour, according to Jeff Khadavi of GoTime.com, is Portland, Oregon. Portland’s beer culture runs deep in the city, as it boasts more breweries than any other city with 28 and the city’s visitor’s association is promoting “Beervana” and “Brewtopia” for potential nicknames. With 803 happy hours listed, it has about half of the happy hours of New York, but at twice the density. According to happy hour listing
Photo: Eyeliam

Venues offering happy hour: 803
Happy hours per sq mile: 5.5

America’s best city for happy hour, according to Jeff Khadavi of GoTime.com, is Portland, Oregon. Portland’s beer culture runs deep in the city, as it boasts more breweries than any other city with 28 and the city’s visitor’s association is promoting “Beervana” and “Brewtopia” for potential nicknames.

With 803 happy hours listed, it has about half of the happy hours of New York, but at twice the density. According to happy hour listings on GoTime.com, Portland has 1 happy hour for every 724 residents, compared to New York, which has 1 happy hour for every 4,862 residents.

Happy Hour Recommendation
The Hopworks Urban Brewery,an Eco-Brewpub in one of the country’s most eco-friendly cities, offers a selection of all organic handcrafted beers, made with fresh local ingredients. Hopworks runs happy hour from 3-6pm and again from 9pm-close 7 days a week. Other recommendations from GoTime are Bartini,with 95 martinis sold at half-price, and Huber’s Restaurant,which is famous for their Spanish Coffee, although the item is not available on the happy hour menu.