With its countless breweries, bartenders, and restaurants, the Pacific Northwest is a prime locale for a thriving happy hour scene. Thus, many bars and restaurants in downtown Vancouver offer low-cost bites and sips for a substantial chunk of time every day. A good happy hour isn’t just warmed nuts with some sprigs of rosemary and $1 off drinks; to make this list, a place must have decent serving sizes of tasty food, and alcoholic beverages with prices that feel like larceny — Vancouver has plenty of them. This map focuses on happy hours at bars and restaurants in downtown Vancouver, Washington, because Portland isn’t the only place with $5 meals and cheap glasses of wine. For a wider selection of outstanding restaurants in Vancouver, readers may prefer to peruse this map. Per usual, this map is not ranked, but rather ordered geographically.Read More
Where to Find an All-Star Happy Hour in Vancouver
From tacos to totchos
1. Shanahan's Pub & Grill
It always seems like happy hour at Shananhan’s, because happy hour runs every day from 3 to 8 p.m. This isn’t a place for craft cocktails and chef-y small plates; Shanahan’s is where locals go for inexpensive drinks and hearty fare in a low-key, Irish-inspired, but thoroughly classic American neighborhood bar, complete with heartfelt bathroom graffiti, a pool table, and a lifelike painting of The Dude. The popular Shany fries — a mixture of tots and fries coated in melted cheddar cheese, bacon bits, scallions — are $5 and served with a side of ranch. The $5.50 Irish nacho is a plate of potato skins topped with tender corned beef, sauerkraut and melted cheese. Well drinks are $4.75, drink specials are $3, and PBRs are $3.75.
2. Amaro’s Table
Amaro’s Table is known for having the best happy hour in Vancouver. This bright, stylish bar and restaurant attracts couples on date night, clusters of co-workers, and climbing instructors from the gym next door. From 2 to 5 p.m. in the dining room and 2 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close in the bar, Amaro’s Table serves a long, varied food menu including a fresh, tangy caesar salad; a salt-studded soft pretzel with a Swiss-cheese-and-white-wine fondue; tender chicken quesadillas with a piquant salsa verde; and soup specials like tortilla soup with a lime-and-chile-spiked broth. The star of this happy hour is the rotating draft cocktail menu, with fresh offerings like cucumber, ginger, jalapeno gimlet or maple-apple cider-rum punch with cinnamon tequila and Averna — all those drinks clock in at $7.
3. Koi Pond Cellars
Koi Pond Cellars’ cozy tasting room in downtown Vancouver has a Vintner’s Hour every day from 3 to 5 p.m. This small, underground spot has a winery feel with its long repurposed wood tables, a small bar and empty wine barrels scattered around the space. All of Koi Pond’s own wine on tap is $5 per glass for pours that typically costs $10 to $14, like the winery’s chardonnay, rose, cabernet, and syrah. There’s also a $5 panini-pressed mozzarella-and-havarti grilled cheese with Italian seasoning. Beer from local breweries like Grains of Wrath and Doomsday are $3 a pint.
4. Elements Restaurant
Elements owner and chef Miguel Sosa doesn’t skimp on his happy hour, available from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays: His condensed menu is filled with dishes that are fully realized, generously portioned, and gorgeously plated. A $5 arugula salad with hearts of palm, gorgonzola, pepitas, and pickled kohlrabi goes well with $8 garlic prawns with small cubes of roasted potatoes, harissa, and avocado mousse. Drinkers can add a $5 glass of house wine, a $6 daily well drink, or a $4 local brew. This warm space attracts an older crowd seeking a spot for quiet conversation.
5. Pacific House
This Pacific Northwest-themed neighborhood spot and sports bar has happy hour every day from 3 to 6 p.m., 9 p.m. to close, and all day on Sunday. The menu’s $10 Pacific House burger and $11 smoked tombo tuna melt come in real-meal portions, making this happy hour a good spot for dinner as opposed to a snack. For those looking for something light, the $6 deep-fried broccoli tossed in chickpea flour with black garlic aioli hits all the drink-friendly notes of crunch and salt. There’s also a massive pile of dirty fries loaded with pickled red peppers, bacon, parmesan, and fried herbs served with truffle ketchup — all for $7. All draft beer, wine and well drinks are $1 off.
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6. Nom Nom Restaurant and Grill
Beyond the $4.50 beer and well drinks, this sleek Thai restaurant’s happy hour includes a number of small snacks at wildly inexpensive prices, from pineapple kimchi and tofu fries at $4 to pork potstickers and yum shrimp salad for $6. The best value is the surprisingly large banh mi sandwich with grilled pork, which clocks in at $5. If the bun were fresh, this would be one of the best bar eats in town. Happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., 9 to 10 p.m., and all day on Sunday.
7. The Grocery Cocktail & Social
This dimly lit, speakeasy-like bar is a good spot for the cocktail-obsessed. Drink-wise, the bar takes $1 off all signature cocktails, also offering $7 options like the house punch, an old fashioned, or the house infused gin and tonic. On the food side of things, pork-braised collards swim in a broth of meat and vinegar for $4; plus, the Grocery’s $5 creamy mac and cheese comes with wide macaroni noodles bathed in a mix of tangy and melty cheeses, elevated to cacio e pepe level with a heavy sprinkling of black pepper.
8. Nonavo Pizza
Happy hour at Nonavo Pizza is Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., when Nonavo’s classic margherita and marinara pizzas are $7 per pie. Like all pizzas at this white-walled and airy pizzeria, the dough is naturally fermented and wood fired at 900 degrees. Nonavo uses its own creamy mozzarella cheese made fresh every day. Pies are great with a pint of draft beer for $3 or a $1 off glass of wine.
9. Little Conejo
Hip, counter-service taco and mezcal spot Little Conejo provides happy hour Tuesdays through Saturdays from 2 to 5 p.m. The menu includes many things found on the regular menu at the regular price, but the real reason to hit up the happy hour is for the extended selection of gringas, larger tacos made by placing flour tortillas flat on the grill with a mound of mozzarella cheese until the cheese hardens into a frico’d blanket. Gringas topping choices include $5 carnitas, $5 suadero, and $6 blue oyster mushroom. Cocktails like a tangy Mexican Hemingway or the cool Comiteco daiquiri are $1 less than listed prices. Draft beer, margaritas, and wine are also $1 off.
10. The Smokin' Oak Barbeque Restaurant, Bar & Catering
This Texas-cool barbecue spot and bar has happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close every day. The menu is short but filled with ample portions of smoked treats like carnitas or chicken tacos and pork-and-jalapeno beans. Food is $8 or less, with drinks ranging from $3 tallboys to $7 Texas sangria made with Burgundy, brandy, Grand Marnier — a surprisingly intoxicating take on the Spanish classic. The $8 creamy, meaty brisket mac and cheese is a nice contrast to the 1 1⁄2 hour-smoked beets with chevre, at only $7.50. The smoked sausage corn dogs are Texas-sized and a great use of one of the most neglected meats on the menu: Smokin’ Oak’s own smoked sausage.