- March 29, 2016
The day is done, and it’s pushing 5 o’clock.
You could catch up on yard work, write thank you notes, organize your sock drawer or vacuum out your car. Or … you could put your responsibilities on hold and adjust your attitude at one of Lakewood Ranch’s abundant happy hour opportunities.
Studies have shown that periodic relaxation leads to — ah, forget the excuses. You’ve worked hard and you deserve to get happy. These options are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Ranchers head to Grove for many good reasons. These include its diverse menu of global fusion fare curated by Greg Campbell, the award-wining chef and restaurateur; its modern, spacious vibe; and its generous happy hour offerings.
Sit inside at the bustling bar and meet new friends or perch outside on the expansive, covered patio overlooking Main Street. This is the place to see and be seen. From 20-somethings to octogenarians — everyone is feeling good and getting their happy on.
Grove is famed for its inventive craft cocktails (the Ranch Water is a tempting elixir of grapefruit-infused Tito's vodka with lime juice, agave and Ruby Red Ice) and its hearty happy hour menu, which includes small plates (try the beer-battered Thai cauliflower, the ahi tuna nachos and the creamy grouper artichoke gratin on toasted pita).
This is a hip, happening spot — and the word is out. If you want to grab a seat, arrive early. Happy hour starts at 3 p.m. and the joint is jumping by 4.
Happy hours: 3-7 p.m. daily
Late night: 10 p.m. midnight, Friday and Saturday
Libations: Wine: $2 off. Craft cocktails and infusions: $6-$12. Call liquor: $6. Veuve Clicquot: $15 a glass. Draft beers: $4-$7.
Fun feasts: Small plates: $6-$15. Sushi: $6-$7.
If you go: 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch; 941-893-4321; GroveLWR.com.
Forget the cornball, cowboy cliche. Bourbon & Bones Chophouse (aka B&B Chophouse) is a 21st-century take on the great American steakhouse with an eclectic decor and menu. (Steak lovers will not be disappointed.)
Aficionados of craft beer, fine wine and top-shelf spirits will also be pleased. The indoor bar is a lively watering hole with plenty of cheer. B&B’s secret sauce? Bourbon — with 120 selections. (If you’re a bourbon newbie, try the “Intro to Bourbon” flight and choose four of seven offerings for only $7.)
While you’re sipping, fill up on the happy hour “Bar Bites” menu, which includes bourbon-lacquered bacon; a charcuterie board with cheeses, bacon and grilled flatbread; and spicy buttermilk chicken bites sparked with Cajun aioli sauce. About 50 people can belly up to the bar — and there’s outside seating, too.
Happy hours: 3-6 p.m., Monday through Friday
Libations: Bourbon and rye: 20% off. Classic cocktails: 20% off. Craft beers: $4. House wine: $5.
Fun feasts: Beef sliders: $8. Island calamari: $10. Bourbon-lacquered bacon: $8 Charcuterie board: $9.
If you go: 8205 Natures Way, Suite 119, Lakewood Ranch; 941-893-5403; BAndBChophouse.com.
Remy’s on Main Street is an artful mix of earthy details and cool geometry. Its comfort-food menu combines American classics with a few Korean delicacies.
Take a seat at the sleek, French curved bar, which might start to resemble an acoustic guitar after a happy drink or two. The savvy bartenders will happily direct you to try their signature cocktails, which include the Remy’s Classic (Tito’s handmade vodka or Aviation gin, shaken and served straight up with olives or a twist) and the Knob Creek Old Fashioned (Knob Creek bourbon or rye with filthy cherries, orange and Angostura bitters).
What goes great with that sip? You can’t go wrong with the Bulgogi Nachos — a Korean twist on the plain old nacho with wonton chips, bulgogi-style beef, chopped kimchi, jack cheese, pico de gallo, gochujang aioli, and guacamole. Our favorite decor detail is a wall of faux grass, emblazoned with golden, cursive letters: “You’re Just Where You’re Meant to Be.” We couldn’t agree more.
Happy hours: 3-6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday
Libations: Draft beers: $1 off. CK Mondavi wines: $2 off. Cocktails: $2 off. Well drinks: $5.
Fun feasts: Whatever’s on the menu!
Entertainment: Live music 3-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday
If you go: 8138 Lakewood Main St.; 941-355-9391; RemysOnMain.com.
Thanks to the vision of owner Jane Dokko, Hana Sushi Lounge has a welcoming vibe and a modern, airy ambiance. The light wood tables, dark walls and exceedingly cool art set the stage for a tranquil night on the town. Grab a seat at the dark wood bar, feast your eyes on the backsplash of gleaming copper tiles and breathe in the Zen.
What’s the best-loved cocktail? Dokko says it’s the Jalap Slap — a perky mix of pineapple/jalapeño-infused tequila, triple sec, fresh lime juice, agave and muddled jalapeños. If you’re in the mood for saki, Dokko recommends the Bunraku Dress Bottle, a full-bodied, dry saki that tastes best when chilled.
The happy hour menu is packed with tasty treats. For $6, you can choose from a selection of sushi rolls. For a buck more, your choices include tuna and salmon nachos, harumaki, shrimp shumai and more.
Happy hours: 4-7 p.m., Sunday through Thursday
Libations: Draft beers: $2 off. Wines: $4 off. Hot saki: $3 off. Single pour liquors: 1/2 off. Signature cocktails: $3 off.
Fun feasts: Classic sushi rolls: $6. Harumaki, shrimp shumai, and other treats: $7.
If you go: 8126 Lakewood Main St., Unit 102, Lakewood Ranch; 941-907-1290; HanaSushiLoungeLWR.com.
Ed’s Tavern looks like NASA’s version of a sports bar. The 20 massive, high-res TV screens are tuned to bouts and games across the planet. Football, soccer, tennis, 43-Man Squamish, chess — whatever! If it’s playing somewhere, you can probably watch it. (They’ll also provide an app so you can listen to the gameplay on your phone.)
Happy hour is fun, rowdy, noisy — and usually jam-packed. It’s also cheap: $3 for domestic beers; $4 for Mondovi wine; and $4 or $5 for decent booze brands, including Grey Goose, Tito’s and Maker’s Mark.
You can chow down on $6 apps; these being the usual suspects like nachos, popcorn shrimp, corndogs, quesadillas — and there’s even bacon, mac and cheese eggrolls.
Look for a bevy of special events, including “Tacos and Tequila” night on Tuesdays, classic car shows on Wednesdays, and poker and trivia nights. At Ed’s, fun is always the name of the game.
Happy hours: 4-7 p.m. daily
Libations: Domestic draft beers: $3. Mondovi wine: $4. Most liquors: $4 and $5.
Fun feasts: Appetizing appetizers: $6.
If you go: 10719 Rodeo Drive, Lakewood Ranch; 941-907-0400; EdsLakewoodRanch.com.
Green is the signature color of this warm, family-friendly, slice of Ireland. (We imagine you’re not surprised.) It’s always busy, but they’ve always got time for you. McGrath’s offers abundant indoor and outdoor seating and the menu’s packed with authentic Irish fare, including a version of shepherd’s pie that handed down from owner Bruce Mahnke’s great-grandmother. The Irish beer and spirits brands share in that authenticity. Sure, and you’ll find all the usual suspects, including Guinness, Harp’s, Jameson, Teeling — and many more. Happy hour chow (bang bang chicken, Scotch eggs, chunky chips and Brussels sprouts) is $5. The restaurant bills itself as a “place of tall tales and cocktails” and happy hour is the ideal time to dive into the fun. In “Finnegans Wake,” McGrath was a mysterious villain who wanted to put a wheel around the sky. These folks just want to put a smile on your face. They succeed.
Happy hours: 3-6 p.m. daily
Libations: Irish whiskey: $5. All drafts: 1/2 price; House cocktails: $4. Specialty cocktails: $2 off. House wine: $3. All wine bottles: ½ off.
Fun feasts: Irish-style appetizers: $5
If you go: 8110 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch; 941-210-4398; McGrathsIrish.com.
Good vibrations come in liquid form in this picture-perfect, lakeside location at Waterside Place.
While drinking in the waterfront view, you can slake your thirst with a stunning selection of local and national craft beer crowd-pleasers. Although there’s no specific happy hour menu, this beneficent brewpub boasts at least 18 outstanding taps, including two ciders. (Try the Coconut Key Lime Sour; it was a silver medalist in the Best Florida Sour Beer category.)
The menu’s packed with pub grub, including sandwiches, hearty burgers (both meat and veggie), wood-grilled “brewzettas” (aka pizza), and other faves. After filling up, you can work off the pounds with a brisk game of cornhole just outside.
If you go: 1570 Lakefront Drive, Lakewood Ranch; 941-238-6466; GoodLiquidBrewingCompany.com.