Roadrunner Lounge
Lauren Cusimano

For some barflies and day drinkers, neighborhood watering holes practically serve as virtual homes away from home. This seems particularly true at this homey Scottsdale dive, which boasts den-like décor and has the well-worn comfy feel of a personal bar set up in someone's basement, right down to the pressboard walls and cheesy billiards-themed fabric lining the barstools. Heck, even the smoking patio could double as a laundry room, as patrons sit at a makeshift table made from an old washtub sink or set their drinks on a percolating water heater. As such, stepping into the Roadrunner on any given night is like stopping by a neighbor's house to down some cheap beer (cans of Milwaukee's Best and Pabst Blue Ribbon are always $1.50) or a strong cocktail, check out the game, or possibly engage in a friendly game of pool. The place always seems packed with a colorful mix of people who sometimes engage in the sort of weirdly inspired conversations you'd hear only at a backyard barbecue or house party.

Cafe Bink
Timur Guseynov

A food lover's dream is being able to afford just one six-course tasting from top Arizona restaurant Binkley's. At $96 per person, it probably won't happen for us anytime soon, but now that Binkley's sister restaurant, Café Bink, has a happy hour, we can try a little bit of Bink for just a little bit of cash. From 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, you can experience creative tastes from James Beard Award finalist Kevin Binkley without a Binkley price tag. Roast beef sliders ($2.50), wagyu beef burgers ($7), award-winning fries ($5), and crisp green salads ($4) all are on the dirt-cheap menu. Pair your gourmet eats with half-price glasses of wine, draft and bottled beers, and well drinks for the best happy hour deal in town. You may have to ditch work to drive to Carefree (which isn't technically in Phoenix, but it is north), but sometimes you have to sacrifice a silly report to please your taste buds.

Christopher's Restaurant and Crush Lounge
Lauren Saria

When we need more than just a cheap plate of nachos and a room-temperature Coors Light, we call up our favorite happy hour buddies and head over to James Beard Award-winning chef Christopher Gross' restaurant at the Biltmore. From 3 to 6 p.m. every single day of the week, you can score gourmet burgers, truffled frites, wood-fired pizzas with exotic toppings, and cheese plates — all of which are half-price at Christopher's Kitchen Bar or at Crush Lounge. If you're thirsty, all well cocktails, wine, and beers also are half-price.

The Main Ingredient Ale House
Evie Carpenter

After a long day at our 9 to 5, there is nothing we want more than to be drinking a pint of cold craft beer and listening to our favorite old-school jams on the patio of The Main Ingredient. The renovated 1920s Coronado neighborhood bungalow turned restaurant always has an enticing selection of local and craft beers on tap and a glass of wine for as little as $4, as well as cocktail specials. Main Ingredient doesn't feature specials on food, but with its drink prices so cheap, we're willing to shell out $4 for a bowl of housemade salsa and our favorite chips, made at La Tolteca.


Editor's note: This Best of has been edited from its original version.
Hillside Spot
Jackie Mercandetti

As far as we're concerned, the only spot to go for happy hour in Ahwatukee is chef Doug Robson's Hillside Spot for a bowl of crispy chips served with his nearly famous extra-hot red sauce for just $1. There's other stuff on the menu, like the absolutely horrible-for-you-but-tastes-so-good fried cheese crisp and an open-face grilled cheese sandwich — but the real draw is that hot sauce. Local brews from Oak Creek Brewing and Four Peaks are just $3, or you can knock $3 off specially selected wines by the glass. Happy hour runs from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. We highly recommend the patio, but sitting at the bar watching the kitchen do its thing is fun, too.

Johnny Fox's

Robbie Fox's little brother Johnny is just as much as a happy hour troublemaker as his older Tempe sib. Half off the entire menu from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday means $3 Jameson shots, $6 shots of Macallan 15-year, and $7 bowls of lamb stew. The public house is full of old-school Irish character and gets packed during happy hour and on weekend nights. But for $3 shots of Jameson, we're willing to brave the crowd. Bottoms up!

Vintage 95

The baby of the Boston Street block of eating and drinking hot spots, Vintage 95 gets our business when we want to relax with a couple of friends. The dimly lit wine bar reminds us of wintertime, with its plush leather couches and crackling fireplace — a welcome escape from the searing sun during the summer months. During the "Official Hours of Happiness" — that is, 4 to 6 p.m. daily and all day Wednesdays — you can score cocktails, bottle and draft beer, and wine by the glass or bottle for a discounted price, or you can go the smart route and take Vintage 95 up on this offer: Buy a bottle of wine and receive a free bruschetta board. For about $35, enjoy a whole bottle of a nice red with your choice of four different bruschettas topped with fab ingredients such as mascarpone, dates and pistachios, fig chutney, or housemade mozzarella.

Canteen Modern Tequila Bar

Tacos, tacos, and more tacos — that's what's on the menu at this popular Tempe hangout. Snag a seat on the restaurant/tequila bar's wrap-around patio for prime people-watching and killer margaritas. From 4 to 6:30 p.m., the appropriately named "Halfy Hour" offers everything on the beer and tequila menus for half price, as well as house margaritas, well drinks, and a decent-size selection of food. Skip the fish tacos and go straight for the pibil pork variety — and don't forget the chips and salsa.

Mabel's On Main

If you look up the word "swanky" in a dictionary (a big book of word definitions), there is a good chance that a picture of Mabel's on Main's sleek and inviting interior will be front and center. The lounge pays homage to its classic gentlemen's club roots with heavy chandeliers, leather wingback chairs, wood-paneled walls, and roomy booths. From 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, the lounge offers its whole menu at half-price. That means everything, including tangy mac and cheese for $4, a gourmet grilled cheese with prosciutto for $5, and any of its signature cocktails. And don't be scared of the happy hour clientele. The atmosphere is a bit more chill than the posh late-night scene.

Yucca Tap Room
Lauren Cusimano

If you've ever been to a weeknight show at the Yucca, you've no doubt seen Venus Salin behind the bar. Slaving away, pouring PBRs and craft beers, she serves not only as bartender but also as the front-of-house manager, turning off the jukebox when bands are ready to play and dispensing drink tokens to musicians who doubtless are scheming for free beer. It's a hard job, no doubt, but you wouldn't know it watching Venus, whose smooth moves and effortless smile make it seem as if she's been doing it forever — though her youthful looks certainly don't betray that she has.

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