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You'll find suds, sips and even sushi at Orlando's top happy hours



The work bell rang, it's five o'clock and you're wondering where to sidle up for discount beverages here in Orlando? That depends not only on your location, but your mood and your company. Downtown drinking buddies would do well to sample the warmth of The Woods, where on Mondays, happy hour goes all night long. For a well-appointed tavern in which to pitch woo - or business deals - consider Mathers Social Gathering. At "social hour," their pricey cocktails, select ones, anyway, are knocked down by half or more! Visitors in the I-Drive corridor will find the ample fare at the Yard House as generous as its daily (and nightly) specials while beer mavens may find themselves up in Sanford for Hoppy Hour at Celery City Craft. Lovers of late-night specials, and gourmands at that, would do well to pop into Santiago's Bodega, where some fine tapas go for $5 a plate with beverage specials to boot.


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In town on business or with friends and family? I-Drive's newest additions at I-Drive 360 might be calling your name. For a happy hour spot pre- or post- a memorable circuit on the Orlando Eye (or a visit to Madame Tussauds, or even some live music at Tin Roof) you might want to look into the specials at the Yard House. Happy hour here runs 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday AND 10 p.m. to close Sunday through Wednesday. That's a lot of happy hours. There's a LONG list of select, half-price appetizers (that list includes Wisconsin fried cheese curds, various pizzas, sliders, fried mac n' cheese, poke, chicken nachos and even a vegan version of wings for the plant-based happy hour goer). To wet your whistle alongside? $2 off all beer, wine, spirits and cocktails.




The Sanford Imperial is a sister to Washburn Imports' first successful endeavor at its Orlando home furnishing location. Similarly appointed with rich, exotic decor from the likes of India, Thailand and beyond, this venue boasts a larger drink menu, expanding beyond wine and craft brews into small-batch liquors and a rotating roster of classic cocktails. And as with Orlando's first Imperial, if you find yourself smitten with your seat, your table lighting or even your actual table, feel free to add it to your bar tab and take it home. Aside from its tremendous bourbon menu and warm, welcoming atmosphere, this Imperial's happy hour runs 5-7 p.m., Tuesday â€" Saturday. Plus they've got all kinds of nightly specials. Tuesdays bring "Flight Night," where five 6-oz. pours of any craft beer run $10. On Wednesday, they take $2 off all whiskey shots and Thursdays bring a $5 discount on any large-format beers (22-oz. or 750 ml).




The rich, delicious and creative tapas they're slinging at Santiago's are already a favorite here in town, not to mention their great-value, fixed-price Sunday brunch (Bottomless mimosas and sangria? Don't mind if we do!), but if you're looking for a wonderfully warm happy hour option, you may want to give them a try. Daily from 4-6, sangria goes for $4 a glass with $5 plates for some superior post-work sampling. Working late? They have a late night option from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. featuring the same great tapas deals, along with half-off wines by the glass, drafts and premium wells.


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This Thornton Park eatery's stylishness extends well beyond the vibe, lacing it's tentacles around both plate and glass. Tongues and tummies will find nearly every hour happy here, but its ACTUAL happy hour means you can sample from both food and drink menus at a considerable discount. Hot on the drink menu: beer, wine, sake, saketinis and a number of higher-end spirits. And food? Pff. Teetotalers may end up calling Shari's happy hour their best-ever. Four-and five-piece signature rolls for $5-7. Amalgams of tuna, yellowtail, salmon, escolar and more meld flavors that pair lovely with an optional and also very reasonably priced cocktail. Happy hour runs Sunday, 4-7 pm and Monday-Saturday, 5-7 pm.




Love beer? How about CRAFT beer? Then you've come to the right place. Celery City's tap roster boasts more than 50 at any given time, plus loads more in bottles and cans (and wine for those feeling more grape than grain). What's more, it's located in the middle of Sanford, so you can hit them up before or after visiting the many local breweries in town. Our point? Put them on your list. Celery City also hosts a ton of fun events, from seasonal parties to weekly fun â€" like Tuesday's Beer n' Bingo night or Thursday's weekly Shuffleboard tourney, free to enter!




Mathers Social Gathering's story, or at least that of the charming building in which it is housed, begins back in the 1800s, and the third-floor space that Mathers occupies is rife with charm and atmosphere. Expertly mixed craft cocktails await its well appointed customers. There are many places for cheap beer in downtown Orlando. Mathers Social Gathering is not one of them. This is a space for sophisticated winding down, whether drinking for date night with romantic prospects, day-washing with colleagues or deal-making with clients. Cocktails here are phenomenal, but they will run you upwards of $12 each. That's why if you want to experience Mathers' good-life vibe with less impact on the wallet, you should take advantage of its Happy Hour, when a select list of drinks are just $7 and light bites are half off. It runs Wednesday - Saturday from 4-7 p.m.




Cuba Libre may be smack in the middle of the Pointe Orlando shopping, dining and entertainment complex on touristy I-Drive, but its lovely facade, with a casco antiguo aesthetic, alludes to the transportive atmosphere inside. And believe us when we tell you, its food and drink menu will most assuredly help with that transport. Happy hour here is exceptional, with $5 mojitos and caipirinhas, $4 house wine, sangria and domestic beer and generously portioned $6 appetizer specials. The six tapas for $30 is a steal, seriously. We know this because we've shared it. Between two people. And we could barely walk to the movie afterwards! The happy hour runs daily from 5-7 pm and would absolutely count as dinner.


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Step back in time inside the Courtesy, a downtown haunt that hearkens back to the era of Prohibition. Lovingly hand-crafted cocktails abound â€" from classics like the daiquiri and Manhattan to new spins on the old-fashioned. Events and specials abound and Happy Hour - Monday through Friday from 5 to a very generous 8 p.m. - features a homespun craft punch that goes for $4 a glass until it runs out. And with mixologists like the ones the Courtesy keeps behind the bar, you'd be smart to get there early. Additional discounts include a $7 craft cocktail menu. Pop in and test out their skills.


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Downtown


The Woods' intriging, urban, up-the-stairs-to-a-special-hideaway entrance gives new patrons pause as they take in the warm essence of this friendly watering hole, where specials abound and quality comes in the form of excellent whiskeys and craft beers, among other things. This is an intimate, mellow haunt amid a downtown scene that can sometimes seem overpowered by venues that are quite the opposite. What's more, its happy hour specials are abundant, with a weekday 5-8 pm deal (25% off everything!). On Mondays, that special runs ALL NIGHT LONG. Tuesdays are for beer lovers, with $1 off all drafts, $3 off select craft cans. Wednesdays: free bacon with your beer or cocktail! The list of specials goes on. This is a bar that knows the value customers place on happy hour.


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Downtown


When one of the city's best French restaurants â€" perhaps best restaurants, period â€" offers up fare such as confit chicken legs and croque monsieur sliders for a few shekels, you'd best pop in to check it out. It's a beautiful space to get ones happy hour on, as well. Offered weekdays from 2:30 - 6:00 p.m., guests will also find deals on evrything from iced oysters to elegant pre-mixed cocktails, among other tempting tastes. You could also skip the ample offering of eats in favor of their superb caramelized onion soup gratinee - that will undoubtedly make your hour happy â€" and take advantage of the drink specials while doing so.


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Meet A.D. Thompson

Amy Drew has spent nearly three decades as a professional writer and roughly half her life as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.

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