Happy hours are the proverbial staple of the working stiff. It’s after work, you’re out before dinner, and you’ve spent far less money than on a Saturday night.
It’s a tradition in Western culture that has morphed from illegal gatherings during the Prohibition era to a great way for bars and restaurants to boost sales on slower weekday shifts. Now, it’s typically defined by finger foods, cheap pints, small glasses of wine, and unraveling with your coworkers after a hard day’s work.
And in South Korea, it’s been a valued tradition for close to half a century.
Hoesik, as the South Koreans say, is similar in that it’s a chance for coworkers to gather after work to eat, drink, and unwind. But some of these after-work gatherings are mandatory and they’re treated as a way to resolve conflicts in the workplace—especially with your boss—that are not appropriate for the office.
So, in honour of the happy hour tradition, here are a few notable ones in Victoria.
Irish Times Pub
Stepping inside the Irish Times Pub is like stepping into your Grandfather’s study: mahogany bar tops, mountains of top-notch Irish whiskeys, and a friendly face (i.e. the bartender). Pull up a seat at the Government Street pub from 3-5pm and you can enjoy either $6 hi-balls, $7 pints, $8 wine, or $9 cocktails.
Bard & Banker
If you’re near Bastion Square, you’re in a great spot for a good happy hour. Opposite the Irish Times Pub is the Bard & Banker, offering $6 hi-balls and draught beers, $7 pints of Guinness, and 2oz cocktails, such as an Old Fashioned, for $10. If you’re feeling frisky, grab a mimosa tower with your friends for $45. Happy hour runs from 3-5pm.
Darcy’s Pub Downtown
Take a late lunch, or get off work early for Darcy’s happy hour, which includes $6.25 house wine and $5.25 sleeves of beer. To eat, choose between $10 sesame tofu, $10 bruschetta, and/or $10 guacamole and chips. Snag a spot by the window for the best view of the Inner Harbour. Happy hour runs from 1-4pm.
Glo Restaurant + Lounge
If you want a great happy hour menu full of delectable and delicious plates and discounted cocktails and beers: go for Glo. From smaller fare like lemon pepper calamari or ginger beef, to larger dishes like a chicken lettuce wrap, Glo is perfect for the peckish and the parched. Happy hours run from 2-5pm.
Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub
This Vic West staple on Catherine Street has one of the best views of the harbour and a great happy hour from 2:30-5:30pm, Monday to Friday.
Drink specials include $6 house red and white (6oz), $6 beer pint, $16 beer jugs, $8 cocktails (cider mimosa-pink grapefruit or orange juice), $7 shafts, $8 Long Island iced tea. To soak that up before going home, order either the $6 Kennebec fries, $8 truffle fries, $9 popcorn chicken, or $13 smoked chicken wings—or feast, and order it all.
The Snug Pub
If you’re cruising around Oak Bay, try Snug Pub’s happy hour. Located at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel on Beach Drive, this is an earlier happy hour—from 2-4pm—but extends to the weekends, too. Drink specials include $5 wine and select beers, and $7 Steamworks nitro stout. Happy hour food includes $12 crispy pork belly, $12 truffle fries, and $10 chickpea polenta fries.
Moon Under Water Brewpub and Distillery
Working around Rock Bay? Well, you don’t have to go far after clocking out for a great happy hour. Moon Under Water offers its own beers for $5 and a variety of food, including coconut shrimp and fries, zucchini strips, popcorn chicken, and cajun potato skins for under $10. Happy hours run weekdays from 3-5pm.
Cenote Restaurant and Lounge
On Yates Street near the Cineplex Odeon, you can head down a conspicuous staircase into Cenote’s Restaurant and Lounge. From 5-7pm, grab a 20oz pint of beer for $5 or a $6 double gin and tonic while you munch down on $10 tacos— three per order.