Chicago has never been lacking in terms of booze bargains at bars, but with the recent passing of the happy hour bill, bars and restaurants are making it official and raising the bar (so to speak) on timely specials. Here's where to maximize your happy hour intake in Chicago:
Roka Akor (456 N. Clark St.)
At Roka Akor, a robatayaki-style happy hour special makes way for special pricing on Japanese items in the lounge and on the patio. Happy hour runs from 5-6 p.m. at the River North restaurant, offering discounted pricing on signature items like $5 robata grilled shishito peppers, Wagyu beef and kimchi dumplings, and chicken yakitori skewers; $6 lobster and shrimp dumplings, prime beef skewers, spicy fried tofu, hamachi serrano rolls, and vegetable tempura rolls; and $1 oysters with shiso and lime (Tuesdays only). For drinks, Sapporo drafts are $3, select red and white wines go for $5, dealer's choice specialty cocktails are $5, and dealer's choice infused shochu are $5.
312 Chicago (136 N. LaSalle Dr.)
"Aperitivo Hour" is in action at 312 Chicago, offering an Italian-accented riff on Chicago happy hour. And you'll be happy indeed with complimentary small bites with purchase of regular priced aperitif-style cocktails, available from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the bar.
Pork Shoppe (5721 N. Clark St.)
Pork Shoppe's recently opened Andersonville location is hopping on the happy hour bandwagon with a slew of specials all week long. Mondays are half price lunchtime drinks from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.; Tuesdays are $3 pints from 3-6 p.m.; Wednesdays feature $5 ginger beer cocktails from 3-6 p.m.; Thursdays are $6 glasses of wine from 3-6 p.m.; and Fridays offer $5 summer cocktails from 3-6 p.m.
Bar Allegro (171 W. Randolph St.)
What could be happier than bubbly and bacon? Not much, really. Located inside Kimpton's Hotel Allegro, the newly minted Bar Allegro celebrates happy hour with "Bubbles & Bacon," a charming combo of Zonin Prosecco and candied bacon, available from 6-8 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
TÊTE Charcuterie (1114 W. Randolph St.)
All cocktails are discounted to $8 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the West Loop's TÊTE Charcuterie. Get thirsty for drinks like Pomme du Maroc with sweet potato, wheat whiskey, orange oleo, green cardamom, and tonic; and TETE A TETE "Cherry Phosphate" with cherry, phosphate, lemon oleo and quatre epices.
The Izakaya at Momotaro (820 W. Lake St.)
Head underground to Momotaro's chic Izakaya to partake in happy hour specials throughout the week. Previously an industry night special, wherein guests can two courses of food for $19 or three courses for $23, each with a Tiger Beer and a flavored Shochu shot, the dinner deals are now on hand Wednesday through Sunday from 6-8 p.m. It's a nice way to get a taste of the Izakaya at Momotaro, with food options ranging from kani deviled eggs and fried chicken karaage to black Berkshire pork tonkatsu, simmering Asari clams and Okinawan black sugar ice cream with chocolate crunch.
The Betty (839 W. Fulton Market)
Beers are half off and wine and cocktails come at a steep discount at The Betty, which is getting in on the happy hour action on the daily. Seven days a week, from 4-6 p.m., the bar and restaurant is offering 50 percent off beers, $8 featured wines, and $9 featured cocktails, showcasing a different spirit each week. There's also a new "snack menu" designed to pair with these drink specials.
Oak + Char (217 W. Huron St.)
Beer, cocktails, and cheeseburgers are on deck for Oak + Char's daily happy hour deals. Between 4:30-6:30 p.m., head to the River North restaurant to reap $2 High Life drafts, $4 craft drafts, $6 house cocktails, and $8 prime double cheeseburgers.
Photos: Roka Akor, 312 Chicago, Pork Shoppe, Barry Brecheisen (Momotaro), Eric Kleinberg (The Betty)