Loyal readers of Susie Drinks Dallas are well aware of our coverage of happy hours specials all around Dallas, but with so many options at your disposal, how can you possibly narrow down which places to grab a couple of beverages at after a long day at the office?
Bars and lounges usually have different specials every night, which does make our lives a little easier. Although if you’re the adventurous type and don’t mind mixing things up a bit, here’s a little bingo game that you can play with your fellow happy hour going friends.
A game of chance is exactly what we need for a little spontaneity in our nightlife habits, and as much as bingo takes a lot of heat for being a pastime for grandmothers, the game’s recent comeback has shown a surprising turnout among millennials growing more fond of all things vintage. Along with knitting, bowling and other pursuits, the Wall Street Journal explains that bingo is one of the latest old-school pastimes experiencing a resurgence among young people, giving rise to the number of players in brick and mortar bingo halls as well as online portals. Keeping with the steady growth in bingo gamers, companies such as Gala Bingo have even started offering a week’s worth of free bingo games for new users, and who doesn’t love anything that’s free? Additionally, they’ve have run various promotions like ‘Tone Up’ to keep users fit while playing, and partnered with various celebrities to tap into the millennial demographic.
From there, the game has since lent itself to a number of themes, essentially giving bingo a number of lifestyle applications. For the fashion bloggers, there was Wardrobe Bingo, and for gym rats, there was Fitness Bingo, and for those obsessed with 2 for 1 cocktail and beer promos, along with bottomless mimosas, there is Dallas Happy Hour Bingo.
To play, you’ll need to pick 25 different establishments that you’ve never been to (or at least places whose happy hour specials you haven’t tried). Once you’ve got those, you can either randomize your card through Print Bingo or create your own and attach images with each for some visual appeal. Each time you need to figure out where to go for drinks, randomly select an item on your card and cross it out once you’ve had their happy hour beverages. Play it with a group of friends, and whoever gets a pattern gets treated the next time you’re all out.
By now, it’s no secret that some of the best seafood in the Metroplex (as told by D Mag, the Observer, The Dallas Morning News, blah blah blah) is at Sea Breeze Fish Market & Grill, tucked away in Plano’s LakeSide Market just south of Preston & Spring Creek. Sea Breeze is already a neighborhood favorite; that said … Dallasites: If you haven’t been here yet, I would highly suggest working a Plano date night (or girl’s night, or an “I feel like eating good seafood” night, or a random Tuesday dinner) into the rotation … like now. With the introduction new menu items including a brand new craft cocktail program (SusieDrinksDallas readers: rejoice), there’s never been a better time to give Sea Breeze a try.
Speaking of that cocktail program…
The new cocktail lineup was carefully selected by manager, Ryan Oruch and features premium spirits and fresh ingredients, with an emphasis on crafting beautiful drinks worthy of Instagram. Or Snapchat … whatever. Current offerings include:
Lakeside Mule – Stoli vodka, Velvet Falernum, fresh lime juice topped with ginger beer
Honey Badger – Maker’s Mark, Barenjäger Honey Liquor, fresh lemon juice and a dash of habañero bitters
West Plano Punch – Olmeca Reposado, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, pomegranate juice, shaken with fresh mint
Texas Margarita – Silver Z tequila, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, shaken with a jalapeño slice
Vanilla Old Fashioned – Bulleit rye, vanilla infused simple syrup with a dash of Angostura bitters
Sunset Lemonade – Bombay Sapphire, Lillet Blanc, shaken with fresh raspberries and topped with lemonade
I tried the Texas Margarita, and I loved the tartness of the fresh-squeezed lime juice in this citrus-forward cocktail. It had a subtle spice to make it interesting without melting my face. I also sampled the Honey Badger, and the sweetness of the honey was the perfect complement for the slow burn from the habañero pepper.
All cocktail offerings are available for $9, but, during their DAILY happy hour (read: including weekends) 4-7pm, they can be enjoyed for $6. Boom.
In addition to their new cocktail lineup, Sea Breeze has an interesting and well-appointed wine list reflecting a variety of guest favorites available by the glass and bottle. Each month, featured wines are available by the bottle for a special price. (Call for more info.)
While the cocktails I sampled were delicious, Seabreeze is, in fact, a fish market (and restaurant); so, let’s talk seafood. I spent some time chatting with owner Rick Oruch, and I am here to tell you … the man is passionate about seafood. “I always invite people to give our fish the ‘sniff test’,” Rick explained. “Good seafood shouldn’t smell”.
Rick flies in fresh, seasonal varieties direct from the source; be it Alaskan snow crab or Gulf snapper, you will only find it at Seabreeze if it’s fresh and in season. Rick explained he only buys whole fish, which they fileted on-site for maximum freshness. All seafood is hand-sorted and inspected, meaning only hand-picked selections ever make their way to the seafood counter, or onto your plate. After sampling a variety of items, Rick has me convinced; you can taste the difference.
We started out with the Sautéed Snow Crab Claws, nestled in a decadent lemon, garlic butter and accompanied by a buttery, grilled baguette ($16). The tender crab melts in your mouths and has a sweet, delicate flavor … an exercise in self-control was required to keep from sopping up every last drop of garlic butter with the toast. We also tried the new Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs, accompanied by arugula and a sriracha mayo ($7); the smokiness of the salmon and the spice of the sriracha played perfectly together. Rick brought us a cup of Seabreeze’s New England Clam Chowder ($4), proclaiming, “It’s something we are really proud of.” And I can see why; fresh clam flavor is the star of the show in this rich and hearty chowder, with a notable lack of distracting ingredients (read: bacon) frequently incorporated in other chowder recipes to mask inferior clams.
For our entrees (because we needed more food … ) we sampled the Cioppino ($25) and the Lobster Mac n’ Cheese ( $22). Cioppino is a San Francisco-style seafood stew. I am going to be completely honest; at seafood restaurants, I usually shy away from any dish with “seafood” in the title. I always assume this is where leftover odds and ends find their final resting place. Not in their kitchen. The Cioppino quickly bucked that notion as every bite of clam, mussel, shrimp, calamari, and fish tasted fresh and vibrant. The tomato broth base was spicy and begged to be sopped up with the delicious house bread. As for the Lobster Mac n’ Cheese … simply stated, Seabreeze does it right. Gruyere and white cheddar are the cheeses of choice in this dish, and nearly every bite I took was loaded with an impressively sized chunk of sweet, decadent lobster.
Speaking of lobster, one of the most popular menu items at Seabreeze is the New England Style Lobster Roll, served on a split-top bun filled with tender lobster salad ($16). The lobster roll is a perfect warmer weather lunch (and those days are rapidly approaching), and I can absolutely vouch for the deliciousness of this dish from past experiences.
Worth mentioning: Rick also shared with me Seabreeze is now offering an off-menu Surf and Turf Burger, featuring fresh ground chuck from Hirsch’s Meats crowned with lobster salad and arugula. Oh. Hell. Yes. Call ahead before visiting to see whether the burger is available; Rick will only make the burger when he has fresh beef on-hand from Hirsch’s. (Just another testament to his insistence on quality.)
Here’s one more thing you may not know about Seabreeze: They offer bi-weekly “demo-style” cooking classes, where guests will learn to prepare 3 or 4 recipes and then taste those creations with wine pairings. Classes are $50 per person, class size is very limited and reservations are required. Reservations can be made by calling 972-473-2722.
Primo’s is a Dallas institution in it’s own right. It would be harder to find a cheesier enchilada or a frostier happy hour margarita than the familiar offerings at this beloved industry favorite.
In case you missed it, Primo’s closed its doors in 2013 and reopened them again in early 2015 under new ownership. The new owners attempted to update Primo’s tried and true menu, much to the chagrin of many once-loyal fans. It wasn’t working. I have wonderful news for Primo’s loyalists and Tex Mex enthusiasts alike: Primo’s is, once again, under new ownership; and this time, new owners Dirk and Mark Kelcher (of Ron’s Place and now Cedar’s Social) intend to restore Primo’s to its former glory. Primo’s fans can expect to see the majority of the original menu, with a few thoughtful additions that don’t take away from what Primo’s should be.
Some welcomed additions to Primo’s menu include a variety of new specialty cocktails, as well as a collection of aptly dangerous tequila flights. While Primo’s Tex Mex menu is full of old favorites, their re-vamped cocktail menu is creative and playful- in a good way. If you’re feeling indecisive, throw caution to the wind and consider allowing the bartender to craft you an off-menu libation based on your personal preferences. I was lucky enough to sample several off-menu creations, such as the delightfully zippy Basil Jalapeño Margarita and the cleverly crafted Moscow-Rita, prepared with ginger beer in place of triple sec. While all of the specialty cocktails I sampled were interesting and delicious, I would be remiss not to remind everyone how comforting and satisfying Primo’s house marg so happens to be. Not too sweet, not too tart, and nice and smooth; simple and darn near perfect.
I can happily confirm the Kelchers are delivering on their promise to stay true to Primo’s old school Tex Mex roots. The chips are crispy and hot, the salsa spicy, the queso decadently thick and cheesy, and the guac is fresh and chunky. Primo’s beef tacos cause grease to dribble down your chin in the best way possible. Meanwhile, the chicken tacos are quite possibly the ultimate soul-warming comfort food … apart from, of course, the enchiladas. Fajitas are served sizzling, decorated with sexy little char marks that cause one to salivate in anticipation.
Ongoing specials include Margarita Tuesdays, including $3 margs and $7 taco plates, along with Happy Hour Monday-Friday, 3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., including $3 domestic drafts, house wines, house margs, and well. $7.99 lunch specials are available Monday-Friday from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Did you know that the Snuffer’s on Lower Greenville is haunted? Well, it sure is. Just ask the servers and they’ll send over one of their staff members that have had a paranormal experience pop by your table and tell you a couple ghost stories. … or they’ll just tell you about the scary good deals they’re now offerings during happy hour on their Happy-Tizer Menu.
Y’all know that I love a good happy hour, so when I was invited in to try out their new options, I didn’t shy away. Monday-Friday, 3-7pm you can now get select mini-apps for as little as $2. That’s right … two buckaroos … a pair of greenbacks … just a couple Washington’s … you get the idea.
As always, the Dallas favorite offers happy hour beers and margs as low as $3 to make your visit truly happy. Think $3 house margaritas (frozen or on the rocks) and drafts (Bud Light, Samuel Adams, & Dos Equis) and $4 house wine and shooters. While I’m not a huge beer drinker, it felt right ordering one to sip … and then a house margarita … and then another beer.
The real excitement as of late is their new happy hour food offering, a.k.a. their Happy-Tizers. Check out the picture below. All that goodness can be yours for $22. And for that price, you can try all of them … and you should. Their fried pickles and mushrooms are legendary* and these small servings are just enough to satisfy your craving but not take over the meal. (Though, really, what’s wrong with a meal of fried pickles and mushrooms?) Their tortilla chips were seasoned just right and the onion rings and buffalo wings were perfectly satisfactory.
If you’re trying to decide what to order on this little menu, skip the burger quesadilla and the queso … save those options for Blue Goose down the street. They’ll get an “E” for effort on those, though.
Stop in and check out the new happy hour serving sizes at any of their locations, but don’t forget the beers and things. Oh … and make sure to order at LEAST the personal-sized Cheddar Fries. (Because it’d be rude to leave without a helping of them. After all, they’ve been around longer than you … if you were born after 1978.)
*at least to me. For nearly my entire college career, when I was in a bad way the day after a good party, I knew Snuffer’s fried pickles and loaded Cheddar Fries were my saving graces. They never failed.
***Snuffer’s invited me in to enjoy selections from their Happy-Tizers free of charge.***
Last week I made the trek up to the great white north Allen to attend a Ladies Happy Hour at Topgolf Allen. I mean … it was a drive, but it was so worth it. If you’re not familiar with the Topgolf concept (where the hell have you been?), it’s a tech-forward driving range dreamt up by the Jolliffe brothers in Watfotd, England. Topgolf (Target Oriented Practice Golf) takes a traditional driving range and adds microchips to the golf balls and targets to the pins. The closer your ball gets to the pin, the more points you’ll get. You can find some extra background on Topgolf Allen in Brian’s recap of his visit.
Top Golf has really upped its game … not just its literal game (which it has), but its food, drink, and hospitality game, too. To start off our happy hour (hosted by me, Staci from 7onashoestring, McKinney Moms Blog, and the Dallas Blogger Collective). After introductions and a few words from some of the Topgolf peeps, we were treated to a “speed” wine tasting lead by a very knowledgable teacher. We tasted fives wines–(some seriously grapefruit forward) whites, roses, and a Layer Cake red (one of my favorite budget-friendly wines).
After the wine tasting, they opened up the floor to ceiling glass doors and let us take over the range. (Ok, not the whole thing … but we had room to spread out.) Our group all had some natural ability (some more than others), so we grabbed the drivers and started the game. (I’d like to note that Brittany (pictured below) and I were neck-and-neck … though she did win.)
The gracious Topgolf team plied us with more of their delicious offerings–chicken & waffle sliders, s’more sandwiches, Green chili mac & cheese, and more. I like to think I’m more qualified than most Texans to identify good green chili menu items from bad (my sister and her husband live in Albuquerque and EVERYTHING is green chili-flavored), Topgolf’s Green Chili Mac & Cheese is damn good–just enough flavor to make it distinct, but not enough to smoke your taste buds. Everything was fresh and delicious with some seriously fun flavors and unique offerings. (I mean … who doesn’t want a chicken and waffle slider?)
Beyond delicious food, great service, a fun atmosphere, and a great game, what more could you want? Well … beyond live music and fun contests from time to time, they have Golf Bags. (And what driving range isn’t more fun after 30oz. of booze in a light-up novelty cup with crazy straws for just $15? I went with the Pineapple Express (Malibu Coconut Rum, 99 Bananas, DeKuyper Peachtree, orange juice & pineapple juice) and it wasn’t a mistake.
They’ll be hosting two similar events later this summer, one for moms and another catered to couples. My advice? Go to one (or both) of them. Stay tuned to their channels to find out about these FREE events! TOPGOLF – ALLEN www.topgolf.com/us/ALLEN Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
1500 Andrews Parkway, Allen, TX 75002
Popular Addison happy hour destination Houlihan’s just celebrated its 43rd birthday. As part of its ongoing birthday celebration, Houlihan’s is dishing up (pun intended) a special “Culinary Comeback” menu that features some of their most popular items from menus past through the end of May.
I braved the torrential downpours of late to check out the “Culinary Comeback” menu with my wife. Maybe it was the lingering effects of Cinco De Mayo, but I ended up ordering a very Mexican-inspired dinner–a Grapefruit Jalapeño cocktail and the Achiote Grilled Shrimp Tacos (both features of the limited time menu). The Grapefruit Jalapeño cocktail is an interestingly spicy yet refreshing drink, with Deep Eddy Ruby Red vodka, lime, soda water and fresh jalapeños. The jalapeños may not be not suitable for those who for usually shy away from spice, but it did have a nice bite without being overpowering. As for my shrimp tacos, the chipotle-achiote marinade gave a surprisingly deep, smoky flavor to the dish and the chipotle mayo and sweet chipotle dressing added a nice sweet/savory touch. These tacos are by no means your traditional, bland fish tacos.
Opting for a “girly” drink (though Susie would argue that that’s an insult to some), my wife decided on the Strawberry Basil Lemonade. The summery mix of fresh strawberries, basil, fresh lemonade and Bombay Sapphire gin was the perfect thing to start summer (err spring?) off with a bang. The basil was a welcome change … it’s more unique than throwing mint in it and it gave it a really nice fragrance. Frankly, I was tempted to order one myself, but thought the pink drink looked better in her hands than in would in mine. Paired with Houlihan’s ever so popular wild mushroom and arugula flatbread (a mix of crimini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms with a roasted garlic white sauce, a blend of cheeses and truffle vinaigrette), my wife’s combo was an excellent light and satisfying choice.
It’s clear that Houlihan’s has a lot to celebrate … and I love how they actually listen to their customers. (Case in point: the comeback menu.) Add in food and drinks features like Certified Angus beef, organic salad greens, gluten-free and vegetarian options, and the always noteworthy happy hour menu and I will gladly celebrate with Houhilan’s.
Their Culinary Comeback menu will be available through the end of May. Check out the menu. Happy 43rd birthday Houlihan’s!
I have visited the Dallas Galleria more than few times (women be shopping’, yo), and I’m kind of mad at myself that all along, I have been missing out on the greatness that is The Second Floor by Scott Gottlich.
Aptly named, this sleek, contemporary spot is nestled away on the second floor of the Westin Galleria, and just paces away from the interior mall entrance. I had a chance to belly up to the bar to check out The Second Floor’s liquid offerings. Let me tell you, they’ve got a lot going on here, folks. This is not your average hotel bar. It may be attached to the Westin, but the sippable menu at The Second Floor easily competes with offerings you would expect to find at some of the best watering holes in Dallas. If you haven’t discovered this spot yet, it could be a game changer. Ladies, is that shopping trip you dragged your guy on taking just a liiiitttle bit longer than originally advertised? Sit him down at the bar, and you’re solid for at least another hour. Better yet, are the odds ne’er in your favor when swim suit shopping? Screw swimsuits … they have cocktails.
When I say they do things differently here, I’m not kidding; I was impressed to learn that The Second Floor actually makes their own hand-crafted aromatic tonic, infused with orange bitters and burnt cinnamon. The Second Floor’s creative and thoughtful cocktail menu offers seasonal features in addition to old standbys; one fan favorite is the Cucumber Sip (Organic cucumber vodka, elderflower, strawberry, & soda, $12), which I’m told is The Second Floor’s most popular drink. I had the opportunity to sample the House Sangria ($8), which was chock-full of boozy berries that I’m told spent a good amount of time hanging out in a cognac-lemon-elderflower concoction prior to taking a dip in my glass. (Is it rude to ask for a fork to get these leftovers from the bottom of my glass?) The sangria was rich and bursting with fruity goodness, and ultimately waaayyyy too easy to drink.
A few new inventions that are featured on The Second Floor’s spring cocktail menu include:
Perhaps the thing I was most impressed with overall about The Second Floor’s fleet of beverages is their extensive whiskey menu. With more than 70 American whiskey offerings in total, and an equally impressive Scotch list, the menu runs the gamut from old standards to Texas labels to far more exotic options. (18-year Japanese whiskey, anyone? ) Intriguingly, The Second Floor offers a very nice variety of whiskey tasting flights. Oh, yes. Flights start at just $12, but if you’re feeling saucy, go for “The Big Spender”–this flight features three whiskeys each aged 21 years or better (Hello, 25-year Macallan), and it can be yours for a mere $100.
Additionally, The Second Floor boasts a comprehensive wine list with more than 80 offerings by the bottle, 20 of them by the glass. If you are a beer drinker, they’ve got you covered, featuring 12 premiums, 12 Texas craft brews, and 5 domestic options. Pro-tip: With any food or beverage purchase, The Second Floor will validate your Westin Galleria parking, which is kind of awesome. Must remember this come holiday shopping.
Stay tuned for another post soon about their new menu offerings for Summer 2015!
The Second Floor offers up some mighty fine happy hour specials.
Happy Hour- 4-6 PM, Monday- Friday
Specialty cocktail of the day (changes daily) $5
Domestic beer $4
“The Best $5 Wine in the City”- Honoro Vera, Garnacha OR Les Costières de Pomerols, Picpoul de Pinet
Various snacks and small bites, $2-5
The Second Floor by Scott Gottlich The Westin Galleria Dallas, Level 2
13340 Dallas Parkway Dallas, TX 75240
A bit ago I attended a happy hour with Ballast Point Brewing and Distilling at Bird Cafe. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Ballast Point before going to the happy hour, and I learned that Ballast Point began as a small group of home brewers in San Diego, California. Most of the beers are named after fishing terms. The labels have illustrations of fish to pay homage to the brewery’s origin’s. After they made a name for themselves through their beer, Ballast Point began distilling. The company now has seven spirits they call their own.
I began the night tasting some of Ballast Point’s beer on tap. For those of you who like hoppy beers, go for the Grunion Pale Ale (5.5%). It has a nutty flavor as well as a summer fruit aroma. This beer won the 2015 Best of Craft Beer silver award. Next, I went for the Scotch ale. Piper Down (5.8%) is now in the running as one of my favorite craft beers … it’s not super heavy and it has a smooth taste. I tasted a chocolate, sweet after taste with this brew. This beer won the 2015 Best of Craft Beer gold award. The name came from Scottish bag pipers that drank too much … the piper became top heavy and people would yell, “piper down” when they began to fall. (I have to admit, I went back two days later for more.) My last tasting was the Victory at Sea Coffee/Vanilla Porter (10%). As expected, it was a dark, smooth brew. I am not a coffee drinker, but that didn’t not stop me drinking this beer. It had more of a vanilla taste than coffee.
Moving on to the spirits, I was curious about the first cocktail on the list–the San Diego Street Car (Devil’s Share Moonshine, Ancho Chili liqueur, corn water, lime, Burlesque bitters, egg white). I was puzzled by this concoction, so I had to ask the bartender how he came up with this interesting drink. He said it was his version of elotes in cocktail form. He wanted to bring out the corn flavor of the moonshine rather than mask it. After understanding the background of the drink, it made me enjoy it all the more.
I would urge you to go to your local liquor store and try out some of Ballast Point’s spirits. Here’s your shopping list:
–3 Sheet’s Rum: made from pure cane sugar rather than molasses (80 proof)
–Fugu Vodka: Filtered 15 times (80 proof)
–Devil’s Share Moonshine (whiskey): hints of tropical fruit (98.6 proof)
–Devil’s Share Burbon: American oak barrels, hints of caramel and vanilla cream (92 proof)
–Old Grove Gin: made from juniper berries, rose, and coriander (88 proof)