It’s been a year since lawmakers lifted the ban on happy hour in Chicago, which is definitely something we can drink to. Celebrate by checking out five of the Windy City’s most killer happy hours—because it must be 5 o’clock over there by now, right?
A Japanese-inspired stand-out, Momotaro features three floors, a central sushi bar, and a notoriously extensive 10-category menu. It doesn’t disappoint when it comes to happy hour, either. Wednesday through Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m., head to the restaurant’s subterranean lounge, Izakaya, to partake in half-off cocktail and wine specials. Even better? The restaurant offers two courses for $19 or three for $23 (normally $30 or $45) during these hours, and serves up your food with a free Tiger beer and flavored shochu shot.
820 W. Lake St.; 312-733-4818; momotarochicago.com
2. The Hampton Social
Replete with nautical white interiors, live acoustic music, and fresh seafood, The Hampton Social is the ideal summer spot for an early happy hour. Head over Tuesdays through Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m. for half-priced glasses of rosé and pizzas. Pro-tip: Be sure to take photos during the first round of drinks, because those strung lights and foliage-covered walls are begging to be Instagrammed.
353 W. Hubbard St.; 312-464-0500; thehamptonsocial.com
Housed in what used to be an 1890s print shop, Sepia has been a Chicago staple for nearly a decade, so it’s no wonder they’ve come up with a “Greatest Hits” happy hour menu. Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m., you can choose from several of the restaurant’s most beloved drink and food items for just $7 each. Sip on the Sepia Old Fashioned or French 75, and once you work up an appetite, be sure to try appetizer favorites like grilled escarole crostino.
123 N. Jefferson St.; 312-441-1920; sepiachicago.com
For those of you searching for a high-energy happy hour, look no further than Fremont, a popular lounge with a sprawling rooftop in the River North area. Fremont has a decidedly social atmosphere, and their drink and snack deals Wednesday through Friday are a great way to start off the night. From 4 to 6 p.m., order Moscow Mules and Karaage, a type of Japanese fried chicken, for $5 each.
15 W. Illinois St.; 312-874-7270; fremontchicago.com
5. Mercat a la Planxa
Mercat a la Planxa, located in South Loop’s Blackstone Hotel, serves up traditional Catalan small plates (like braised rabbit and octopus) in a cavernous, warmly lit space. The top-rated Spanish restaurant also offers a pretty awesome weekday happy hour. From 4 to 6 p.m., wash down Mercat’s salty, delectable meats with half-priced sangria and cocktails.
638 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-765-0524; mercatchicago.com