Happy hour, when it comes down to it, is really an excuse.
An excuse to make a pitstop for a moment of solitude, a heartbeat of sudsy relief between the office where no one knows what they're doing and a home life where you have no idea what you're doing. An excuse to ditch work just a little bit early. An excuse to enjoy one of the 13 days when you can sit on a patio in Cleveland. An excuse to meet up with friends.
More often than not, when people talk about happy hour, they're talking about a loose span of time from late afternoon to dinner. And, disconcertingly, little thought is given to the destination. You just head somewhere geographically convenient and ask about happy hour specials. Oh, that's $3? Sure, you'll take one of those. Sounds great.
Which is to say that you're probably missing out on doing happy hour with purpose. There are few wrong ways to do happy hour, but there are ways to do it better. Seeking out unique deals instead of settling for whatever you've randomly stumbled into. Evaluating value, affordability, the degree of specialness of what bars and restaurants are offering. Taking advantage of those treasures that go the extra mile, cater to those of us who can't or don't want to visit at 4:30 p.m., and give us exactly what we're in the mood for, because sometimes it's a beer and a shot, and other times it's a hearty meal.
It's your hard-earned money, after all. And we're here to help, as always. Take a look below:
An Ode to the Elusive $1 Beer, and Where to Find It in Cleveland
A Hodgepodge of Some of Cleveland's Best Unique Happy Hours
The Best Places to Score Oysters at Happy Hour in Cleveland
Where to Find the Best Late-Night and Reverse Happy Hours in Cleveland
Happy Hour for Dinner: Where to Assemble a Feast on a Budget