Food & Beverage

Best cities for happy hour 2015

Anita Balakrishnan

Best cities for happy hour 2015

Digital Vision | Getty Images

Some cities really are happier than others when it comes to those coveted after-work drink specials.

That's according to Infogroup Data Licensing, an business data provider that looked at happy-hour deals and reviews from Infogroup's website GoTime.com, which helps Americans find food and drink specials in their area.

Infogroup President Jeff Khadavi pored through data for more than 33,000 happy hours in 107 U.S. cities, narrowing it down to the top 15 cities with the most happy hours.

To create its final ranking, the team then looked at editorial buzz from local and national media outlets, as well as user reviews from sites such as Yelp. From there, the list of top cities—and best happy hours in each—was born.

Everyone has a favorite haunt for winding down after work. But does your city have best specials in America? Read on and find out.

—By CNBC's Anita Balakrishnan
Posted 2 April 2015

10. Los Angeles

The Birds in Hollywood, California.
Source: The Birds

If you can stand the traffic, Sunset Boulevard is a happening for happy hour.

Infogroup singled out Hollywood as the city's "happiest" 'hood—meaning it's the area with the most happy hours and best bar reviews. For a star-studded place for singles to unwind, the company suggests Birds, a casual bar and cafe named for the Alfred Hitchcock film.

9. Dallas/Fort Worth

The Blind Butcher in Dallas, Texas.
Source: The Blind Butcher

Would you like a margarita with that Tex Mex? Turns out the Lower Greenville Avenue area in East Dallas is the place to be for after-hours parties.

Infogroup recommended two spots within a stone's throw of Greenville Avenue. HG Sply Co., which has a rooftop patio, and The Blind Butcher, known for its cured meats and craft beers.

8. San Diego

San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.
Photo: Ted McGrath | Flickr Commons

From the Gaslamp Quarter shopping and dining district to the beach, San Diego has great deals on drinks, according to Infogroup.

The company singled out Las Hadas on 4th Avenue for the best Latin cuisine happy hour—with two daily.

7. Denver

Linger in Denver, Colorado.
Photo: Andrew Catellier | Flickr Commons

On any given day, more beer is brewed in Denver than in any other U.S. city.

"Brew bars, and the number of craft brews that are on tap, is something that we saw coming up a lot in the data," said Malti Shukla, Infogroup vice president of marketing.

6. Phoenix

Fate Brewing in Phoenix, Arizona.
Source: Fate Brewing

There's nothing like cracking open a cold beer after work during the summer months, and Arizona is home to 30 breweries and growing, according to Infogroup.

Fate Brewing Co. in Scottsdale, for example, has 30 kegs tapped and ready to go at any hour—happy hour included.

5. San Francisco

Topsy's in San Francsico.
Photo: Scott Loftesness | Flickr Commons

Luckily, there are plenty of hot spots to drink away your high-rent worries in San Francisco's Financial District. They include Topsy's Fun House, a carnival-themed destination.

While San Fran is the country's second most densely populated city, Shukla said she was surprised there were not more big cities in the top spots.

"We would have thought New York City would have shown up in the top five just with the sheer number of folks, but found happy hours did not match up to the New York City population," she said. She noted that the Big Apple has a large population, but fewer happy hours per person than the top five cities.

4. Washington, D.C.

Chef Garret Fleming at The Pig restaurant, 1320 14th NW in Washington, DC.
Mark Gail | Getty Images

Like your bourbon neat, like "House of Cards" character Frank Underwood? You're in luck. Out of many hotspots, Infogroup highlighted The Pig, near Logan Circle, where patrons can try weekly featured bourbons.

3. Minneapolis

Bourbon at Haute Dish in Minneapolis.
Clint McMahon | Flickr Commons

With 52 blocks (nearly five miles) of downtown, Minneapolis is the unlikely hero of happy hours.

When asked what the top cities had in common, Shukla said she's noticed a rise of the "boutique cities," such as Minneapolis, where food trucks and craft beers rule more refined palates. And, of course, more bourbon.

2. Portland, Oregon

Departures rooftop bar in Portland, Oregon
Photo: Roger | Flickr Commons

Well, put a bird on it. Downtown Portland, Oregon's Luc Lac's earned the honor of giving patrons the most bang for their buck.

The foodies, however, may prefer Departure's (pictured at left)—where you can pair pork belly kimchee fried rice with a Thai chile-infused vodka cocktail called the Crazy 88.

1. Seattle

The gigantic barrel facade behind the bar houses the taps dispensing whiskey, cognac and other hard liquor at Radiator Whiskey in the Pike Place Market in Seattle where fine liquor is paired with comfort food
Mark Bolster | LA Times | Getty Images

Take a boozy bow, Seattle. Home to four of the nation's "happiest" neighborhoods (the most happy hours with the best reviews per square mile), Seattle's Pike Place Market, Downtown, Belltown and Pioneer Square pushed the city into the top spot.

Radiator Whiskey (pictured left) in Pike Place Market earned Zagat accolades for serving 100 types of whiskey with "creative" meats, including pig's head.

At Toulouse Petit in the Queen Anne district near Belltown, there are more than 50 items offered on the happy hour menu priced between $4 and $7. And if you're not working a traditional 9-to-5, the joint is one of the rare bars with a breakfast happy hour, Shukla said.