Night Life: Good seats and IPA – what more does it need?

Published: Friday, Feb. 17, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 32TICKET

River Rock Tap House

2326 J St., Sacramento

(916) 273-4930

Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 a.m. Sunday

Happy hour: 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday

The real steal: Choose from ...

$4 craft pints, $3 Coors Light, Schlitz, or Blue Moon; or, $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon.

If you're not interested in beer, you can also try a well cocktail for $3. There is a plethora of food choices. Everything – appetizers and entrees – are $2 off.

Appetizers are priced from $4.95 to $8.95 and are great to share. The Tap House Nachos and Pepper Fried Chicken are the two most popular options. If you're a little hungrier and want an actual meal with your drink, try one of the burgers. They range from $5 to $9 and come with a half-pound of grass-fed beef.

The vibe: Red and white walls stand out from the dark ceiling. Multiple flat-screen TVs are placed around the bar, and a faux tree sits in the middle of the restaurant. There are more synthetic plants around the place, and the bar is split onto three sides of the restaurant. A couple of old arcade games and even a pool table and ATM can be found in the back.

Signature drink: Their India Pale Ale selection has been selling particularly well. River Rock tries to focus on a lot of West Coast breweries, and three of the most popular IPA choices are all from Northern California. Drake's IPA comes from a new brewery in San Leandro, and the Auburn Alehouse and Loomis Basin Brewing Co. are made in this region.

Bathroom break: All the way in the back, the bathroom is very spacious and fully private for your convenience. There is a small mirror above the sink and a full-length mirror behind the door.

Alternative libations: At River Rock Tap House, the simpler drinks tend to be the most requested. If beer doesn't float your boat, try one of the well cocktails.

Something extra: The bar is the prime seating since it is easy to order drinks or food there, and it is split into three sections, leaving plenty of seating for everyone. The bar top is made to look like dark amber-colored stone, and a blue light glows underneath it.Awful Annie's Restaurant

160 Sacramento St., Auburn

(530) 888-9857

490 G St., Lincoln

(916) 645-9766

Hours: 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. daily in Lincoln;

8 a.m.-3 p.m. daily in Auburn

Happy hour: 2-3 p.m. Monday through Friday

The deals: Enjoy half off all drinks. Their bloody mary is the most popular option, followed closely by the Mexican coffee, made with tequila, Kahlua and coffee for an afternoon pick-me-up. Or, try the Hurricane for a taste of a tropical paradise since it is made with pineapple rum, mango rum and coconut rum. Drinks are around $3.

Appetizers are full-priced but perfect to share with plenty of friends. They range from $7 to $8, and the house favorites tend to be the Santa Maria quesadilla, zucchini sticks, buffalo wings and onion rings.

Biba Restaurant

2801 Capitol Ave., Sacramento

(916) 455-2422

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday for lunch, 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday for dinner, 5:30 p.m.- 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday for dinner

Happy hour: 5-7 p.m. Monday through Friday

The deals: The cocktails are $5. Select wines by the glass are $5 to $6. Small plates are $6. Try a glass of wine or one of their cocktails such as the lemon drop or ruby slipper, along with the calamari fritti or polenta gnocchi, for an Italian-infused happy hour.

Sheepherder Bar and Grille

11275 Folsom Blvd., Rancho Cordova

(916) 638-4584

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 4-9 p.m. Saturday

Happy hours: 3-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. until close Saturday

The deals: Enjoy $2 Sheepherder tacos, $3 beers, $4 house wines and well drinks, or appetizers such as buffalo jack mozzarella sticks or jalapeño poppers. For $5, you can get options such as a cheeseburger and fries or Thai chicken lettuce wraps. For $1 more, try the buffalo ranch calamari or cheese pizza. For $7, you can get fried pork pot stickers or the Sheepherder sampler, and you can also get half-off bottles of wine on Mondays. On Wednesdays, they offer tequila specials with options such as $5 margaritas and $5 nachos, and on Thursdays, martinis or a vodka press featuring Skyy Vodka.

Do you know of a bar that has amazingly good deals on drinks and food? Share the scoop with The Bee, and we'll highlight it as part of this new Night Life feature. Email WEEK'S FEATURED BARGAIN

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