By Tadhg Ferry
Every time I tell a customer about the Happy Hour at Williams & Bailey ($3 for all drafts and wells, 5 – 8pm, Mon-Fri) they have the same reaction: delight, surprise, visible arousal. I’ve now seen this happen 40-50 times. I know also from personal experience that I rarely if ever encounter better happy hour deals.
All this got me wondering: Is our happy hour actually the best in the neighborhood?
I set on a quest to find out.
I separated my findings into a few different groups.
NOTE: If a bar’s happy hour explicitly set the price of drafts or wells higher than $3,
I simply ignored them.
SECOND NOTE: Some of these places have happy hours longer than W&B’s 5 – 8pm window, but generally all that means is an earlier start time. Since I’m guessing most of the people reading this have day jobs, I am further assuming that a 5 – 8pm happy hour is preferable to a 1 – 7pm one. Unless noted, all of the followed happy hours end at or before 8pm.
FINAL NOTE: I didn’t take hyper-specific factors like number or variety of taps into account because laziness. For the record, W&B’s taps are: Goose Island IPA, Hoegaarden, Bud Light, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Stella, Radeberger, Six Points Righteous Rye, Brooklyn Lager, Left Hand Milk Stout, Guinness, and a rotating Seasonal — right now it’s Sierra Nevada Torpedo.
Okay, ready? Let’s hit it.
GROUP F: $1 off drafts and/or wells
The most common happy hour deal I came across. As we all know this typically works out to four of five bucks a drink before tip. Verdict?
Some examples: Noorman’s Kil, The Bedford, Mug’s Ale House, Spike Hill, Cyn Lounge, Whiskey Brooklyn, The Gibson, Good Co (Just drafts — their happy hour wells are set at $4.)
GROUP E: $2 off drafts and/or wells
You can snag a pint for three in some of these cases, but in my experience you’re still paying four here at least half the time.
Verdict: CRAPPY HOUR.
Some examples: Burnside (Just drafts — their wells are set at $4 during happy hour, Basik (Their $2 off deal includes wine).
GROUP D: $3 for wells and/or select drafts*.
*Does that mean Coors? You bet it does.
Verdict: KINDA CRAPPY HOUR
Some examples: Harefield Road, Gordon Bennett (in their case there is apparently some kind of buffalo wings deal as well), Anchored Inn (only Yuengling).
*Nah just being a dick here — you can get decent beer in “select” happy hours too. Still, the fact that it’s a limited happy hour menu mostly disqualifies these from contention in my mind.
GROUP C: Really cheap cans/bottles
Love these places. But let’s be honest, cheap PBR ain’t that hard to find, regardless of the time of the day. Also these places tend to be shitholes. Not always a bad thing, but worth noting.
Verdict: MILDLY CRAPPY HOUR
Some examples: The Narrows, The Levee, Hope Garage (They also offer $4 wines and $5 well drinks), Duff’s (Theirs is pretty insane — $1 PBRs from 6 – 9pm).
GROUP B: Two-for-one
These are solid deals. Still, it’s a little annoying when you just want one, or some other odd number of drinks. I had a token from Ninth Ward in my wallet for three months. There is a fleur-de-lis imprinted in my butt now.
Verdict: MILDLY CRAPPY HOUR
Some examples: Soft Spot, Bushwick Country Club (their deal applies to wine, too), Tutus (wells and select drafts, only 2 hours long), Matchless (wells and select drafts. Also, cash only ’til 8pm).
GROUP A: Some combination of sheeit
These guys are obviously pretty nice. Most tend to finish earlier than 8pm, however.
duckduck — dollar off drafts. They also do two-for-one draft Rolling Rock and Naragansett. Their well deal is also two-for-one.
The Abbey — dollar off drafts. They also do two-for-one bottled beer and well drinks. (Ends at 7 pm.)
Lucky Dog — dollar off drafts. They also offer $2 cans of PBR and Schaefer, $3 cans of Miller High Life. (Ends at 7 pm.)
Verdict: NOT THAT CRAPPY AN HOUR BUT STILL.
Alright, so, that leaves us with a few bars left standing.
Manhattan Inn, in Greenpoint, and Ontario, right down the block from W&B, both offer the exact same Happy Hour: $3 drafts and wells from 5 – 8pm.
Pete’s Candy Store, a place I have never been to before, apparently offers $2 Yuengling and $3 Brooklyn Lagers and wells from 5 pm – 7 pm. Because it’s an hour shorter than W&B’s happy hour, and applies to a much smaller selection of drinks, so this one isn’t really in the running. Still, I wanted to note that their $2 Yuenglings / $3 wells combo is pretty legit.
So, we come down to Ontario and Manhattan Inn. Both top-notch bars. Still, they’re divey-er spaces than W&B. Neither serves food, and Manhattan has only six taps. Williams & Bailey has a front porch and a backyard. Its interior is clean, warm, and well-decorated. You expect a $3 drink from Ontario and Manhattan. You don’t expect it from W&B, which is why people always have the reaction I noted at the top.
Also, I work there, and I make well drinks strong as all goddamn fuck.
Williams & Bailey: The Best Happy Hour in Williamsburg. Now you know kids.