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Food recs: Kansas City's best happy hours

La Bodega Facebook
IN Kansas City columnist Jenny Vergara says La Bodega, on Southwest Boulevard, is one of the “OG” happy hour spots in Kansas City. “It's from 2 to 5, Monday through Friday, every day of the week,” she says. “Doing delicious Spanish tapas and giant pitchers of Sangria.”

Afternoon tapas, evening sushi and late-night steak frites all await you at some of the best happy hours in the metro. Here’s KCUR’s guide to wine and dine at a discount.

Happy hours have been a fixture of American life for more than a century, and the beloved post-work ritual doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

And, with inflation so high, it’s no wonder hungry, thirsty diners are on the hunt for a good deal, says Thelma’s Kitchen Executive Chef Natasha Bailey.

“I like being able to try everything, and with the pricing of happy hour it's a little more cost-efficient to be able to go and really explore the menu,” Bailey told KCUR’s Up To Date.

Carlton Logan, co-administrator of the popular Kansas City Eats Facebook group, isn’t much of a drinker, but that doesn’t stop him from seeking out unique happy hours like the one at Blind Box BBQ in Shawnee.

“You think of happy hour at a bar and grill or you may find a happy hour at a restaurant,” he says. “What I like about Blind Box is they have all those wonderful smoked meats on hand that they can use.”

IN Kansas City columnist Jenny Vergara says La Bodega, on Southwest Boulevard, is one of the “OG” happy hour spots in Kansas City.

“It's from 2 to 5, Monday through Friday, every day of the week,” she says. “Doing delicious Spanish tapas and giant pitchers of Sangria. They also have an amazing Spanish wine list as well.”

Below, Vergara, Logan, and Bailey share their favorite happy hours to grab a drink — and a bite to eat — with colleagues and friends.

Jenny Vergara:

  • Waldo ThaiKhao Tod Nam Sod. Chef Pam Liberda and her bar team headed up by Darrell Loo have crafted an $8 cocktail and wine menu with some of their most popular and traditional bites. The Khao Tod Nam Sod is a crispy rice salad with cured pork sausage, herbs and lettuce leaf to wrap it all in. Monday-Friday, 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m., dine-in only.
  • Osteria BianchiItalicus Spritz. Chefs Josh and Kelly Bianchi have rolled out a traditional and late-night happy hour from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 9pm to close Tuesday through Saturday. The spritz is made with rosolio di bergamotto and prosecco, a bracingly refreshing drink for $9, and the mortadella pizza for only $10.
  • La BodegaQueso de Cabra al Horno. James Taylor’s Spanish tapas restaurant has some of the longest happy hours in KC with a generous list of $7 plates and $6 wines by the glass. You must get the goat cheese baked in fresh tomato sauce served with garlic crostini. Monday-Friday, 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
  • Chewology, Katie Liu-Sung’s Taiwanese street food spot, has 25% off noodles, dumplings, house cocktails and beers during happy hour. Try the pork soup dumplings and the Dan Dan spicy peanut noodles with an ice cold Japanese Asahi beer. Tuesday-Thursday 4 p.m.-6 p.m., barside only. 
  • The Peanut on Main is a Kansas City happy hour mainstay, when you can find a seat. And do you need special prices when everything is so affordable to begin with? Get their world famous BLT and a glass of ice cold tap beer. Monday-Friday, 4 p.m.-7 p.m. 
  • Acre, a steakhouse in Parkville by chef Andrew Longres, is the perfect place to land for quality bites and drinks at a great price, with $10 cocktails and $2 off wine and beer. Wednesday-Friday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m., bar or patio. Grazing Hours begin slightly earlier at 2:30 p.m.
  • Mr. D’s Donuts in Lenexa Public Market is where you can get donuts and drinks at 15% off Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. until close. My go-to is a honey-glazed donut and a Thai iced tea. 
  • Ice Cream Bae in the Country Club Plaza and Leawood has a milkshake happy hour as a seasonal event where you can buy one and get the second half off. Get your fix of “The Flintstones” with the Fruity Pebbles Cereal Milk ice cream with Fruity Pebbles cereal blended in. Monday-Thursday, all day.

Natasha Bailey:

  • NokaNightmarket Chicken Wings. Located in the heart of Martini Corner, this Japanese-inspired restaurant offers happy hour all night on Tuesdays and other deals throughout the week. I love that they honor happy hour online too through third party services. The wings are flavored with Szechuan spice, brown sugar and five spice.
  • Cliff’s TaphouseGorgonzola Fries. Just down the block from Noka, Cliff’s serves decadent fries seasoned with gorgonzola sauce, bacon bits, green onions and cracked black pepper. In addition to daily specials, this relaxed spot does a reverse happy hour that runs 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • SayachiYaki Gyoza. This Japanese restaurant in Brookside has incredible pan-fried pork dumplings, seaweed and squid salad. Happy hour is during the afternoons on Monday through Friday, except on Wednesdays, when it runs all day.
  • Murphy’s Corner in Lenexa is a neighborhood sports bar that’s perfect for a draft beer and a tallboy. Catch the game with friends in a great atmosphere. Monday-Friday, 2 p.m.-6 p.m.
  • Blu Hwy has great prices and quality with modern American cuisine. I like to order the Smoky Mountain Old Fashioned, a bourbon drink that comes in a smoked glass, and the spinach and artichoke dip, which has smoked salmon in it. Monday-Friday 2 p.m.-6 p.m.
  • Pierpont’s at Union StationChesapeake Crab Cake. This restaurant is a little more expensive, but it is divine and fit for a celebration. The crab cake, served with preserved lemon aioli, smoked tomato relish, and arugula, comes in at $22. Drinks like the Bellini Martini come in at $9. All-night happy hour on Tuesdays. 

Carlton Logan:

  • Blind Box BBQBurnt-end Pillows. These rectangles of puff pastry are filled with burnt ends and served with a creamy sauce. Pair them with the cauliflower buffalo bites. Draft beer, house wine, cocktails and margaritas are available. Monday-Friday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m., all day on Thursdays. 
  • Michael Forbes Grill — classic onion strings and fried calamari. Great food, reasonable prices and attentive staff. The apps here are full servings during happy hour, which runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Reverse happy hour starts at 9:30 p.m. and goes until close, drinks only.
  • Rye Leawood — slice of pie and deviled eggs. The happy hour menu at Rye is short and sweet, but may be the only menu in town that includes a dessert as part of happy hour. Well drinks, several cocktails and a curated list of beers are available. Monday-Friday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
  • Ragazza Food and Winemeatballs and Arancini. This is a great option if you are looking for something other than wings and fried apps. The meatballs are delicious. Happy hour lives on the bar side of the restaurant Tuesday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. On Sundays, it’s from 3 p.m. to close. 
  • Trezo Mare is where you’ll find a wide-ranging happy hour menu with everything from marinated olives to fish tacos to mussels to the baked goat cheese fondue. Enjoy them in the bar or the expansive patio with a great view. Monday-Thursday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m., Friday, 3 p.m.-5 p.m. 
  • The Brass Onion — Mawmaw’s Meatballs and Brass Onion Dip. The Brancato family opened this restaurant in 2018 and it has a modern yet comfortable atmosphere — ample portions, too. Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and is available in the bar, lounge and patio. 

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