You could argue that every hour in beautiful Southwest Florida is a happy one, but local restaurateurs know how to amplify the bliss, offering libations and light bites at budget-friendly prices at happy hours that often start early and run late. We found eight outstanding examples.
The SandBar Tiki & Grille hosts a daily happy hour from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The signature Orange Crush overflows with freshly squeezed OJ, and a dash or two (or three) of 360 Orange Juice vodka and Triple Sec. Drafts, well drinks and house wines are just $1.50 to $2.50. With water views, a tiki bar, hearty pub grub and live music most evenings, there’s a lot to be happy about. 1975 Beach Road, Englewood; (941) 460-8280; sandbartikigrille.com.
Beach Road Wine Bar and Bistro offers more than 70 boutique wines and from 4-6 p.m., it’s $2 off each glass of wine ($1.75 off your favorite brew). Wind down on the outside deck overlooking Lemon Bay. Treats include seared crab cake, “Haute” Dogs (Kobe beef brined with butter and seasonal craft beer), or a luscious kale berry salad. 1350 Beach Road, Englewood; (941) 474-9500; beachroadbistro.com.
Daiquiri Deck’s daily happy hour is 3 to 7 p.m., with repeat performances on Friday and Saturday, midnight to 2 a.m. Deals include half-price daiquiris and a buck off draft beers, wines and well drinks. Small plates tempt with peel-and-eat shrimp, gator bites, grouper fingers, lobster fondue, nachos, conch fritters and more. Or binge on oysters—raw, baked, steamed, fried or smoked. 300 W. Venice Ave., Venice; (941) 488-0649; daiquirideckvenice.com.
At Fin’s at Sharky’s, with the picture-perfect backdrop of the Gulf of Mexico, the happy hour menu offers savory light bites that may include lamb meatballs, cauliflower croquettes, Korean beef lettuce wraps and succulent sushi. Plus, top-shelf boutique wines from France, Italy, California, Oregon and beyond. Everything is $6, 4-6 p.m. daily. 1600 Harbor Drive S., Venice; (941) 999-3467; finsatsharkys.com.
At The Living Room, feast on such hearty appetizers as cheesy broccoli bites, pigs in a blanket, cherry tomato caprese or a fantastically fresh Caesar salad. Try one of the boutique wines highlighted that week. Happy hours are Monday-Saturday, 4-7 p.m., with $1 off all drinks, and live music on Wednesday and Fridays starting at 5:30 p.m. 2357 Tamiami Trail S., Venice; (941) 244-2834; thelivingroomvenice.com.
At the Crow’s Nest enjoy a panoramic water view, a cold brew and the raw bar, or choose from the daily $6 happy hour menu. Taco Tuesdays is a fave—$10 for two tacos and a side. Well liquors, select draft beers and house wine are half price.. (Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.) 1968 Tarpon Center Drive, Venice; (941) 484-9551; crowsnest-venice.com.
Dockside Waterfront Grill/Geckos is a stress-free zone at the historic Fisherman’s Wharf Marina. Happy Days Happy Hours are all day, every day—with “premium” happy hours, 4 to 7 p.m. Liquid refreshment includes well liquors ($3); house wines ($4); domestic draught beers ($3.25); and a rainbow of cool cocktails. Tuck into some freshly shucked oysters, lobster lollipops, seafood chowders and tuna nachos. 509 N. Tamiami Trail, Osprey; (941) 218-6418; geckosgrill.com/dockside-waterfront-grill.
Perched on the river, Myakka River Oyster Bar Seafood Restaurant offers happy hour between 4 and 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday; and 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Grab a 10-ounce Bud light draft for $1.50 and well drinks for $2.50. The early bird menu offers fried fish or shrimp ($8.99) and fish filet Vera Cruz or sirloin steak ($9.99). With just six outside tables, come early to claim your happy spot. 121 Playmore Drive, Venice; (941) 423-9616; myakkariveroysterbar.com