Lucca Restaurant and Bar
1615 J St., Sacramento
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, 4:30-9 p.m. Sunday
Happy hour: 3-6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and Friday, 3 p.m.-close Thursday, noon-6 p.m. Saturday
The real steal: Choose from bottled beers that range in price from $2 to $3.50, or beers on tap for $3. Well drinks are $3.50, and drinks served on the rocks are $4 each, with choices such as the apricot kiss or mojito. The red and white sangria, as well as featured wines, are $4 a glass or $15 for a pitcher or bottle. There are always two white wines and two red wines to choose, and they change every two or three months. Lucca also offers shaken drinks for $4.50 with options such as the jalapeño, pomegranate, and Smirnoff martinis.
If you're hungry, Lucca has a whole list of appetizers ranging in price from $2 to $6. The zucchini chips are the most popular, but the sautéed garlic shrimp - made with fresh pepper, lemon and butter - and the Lucky Dog Ranch half-pound beef hamburger get a fair amount of attention.
The vibe: The relaxed, casual environment of this California/ Mediterranean restaurant is apparent with the bright red- and-yellow glass in the hanging lamps. Art fills the white walls, which alternate with red-brick ones. The ceiling has exposed wood beams and skylights. Plenty of windows bring in extra light around the restaurant. There is an oversize mirror with a distressed-metal frame behind the bar, as well as an open kitchen in the back of the restaurant to give a glimpse of the food.
Signature drink: The most popular drink at Lucca is the Evening Tea. Made with an Earl Grey infused vodka, Pinot Grigio syrup and lemon juice, this adult tea is also served with an allspice cookie for $4.50 during happy hour.
Bathroom break: This three-stall bathroom is tucked way in the back of the restaurant, and has light music playing in the background. It has creamy walls, two sinks, a large mirror, and faux red and yellow flowers, which give it the same warm coloring as the restaurant.
Alternative libations: The Cucumber Bramble is another popular cocktail at Lucca. It is made with muddled cucumber, gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and blackberry brandy. Served on the rocks, it costs $4.
Something extra: Happy hour works in the bar area of the restaurant, and the most lusted- after spot is the large round table near the window. The six-seat table is bathed in sunlight, thanks to the open window right next to it. It is always sought-after, especially when the weather is nice. There also are two-seat tables with red leather chairs close to the windows, as well as another large round table with plastic wicker chairs by the bar.
219 G St., Davis
Hours: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday
Happy hour: 3-6 p.m., 10 p.m.-close daily
The deals: It's $1 off all beers at Woodstock's, ranging from $4 to $8.50 each. If you're hungry, it also offers "Happytizers," which range from $3 to $12 and are perfect to share with friends. The most sought-after "happytizers" are the Woody's Wings and Frosted Cinnabread dessert pizza.
The Independent Restaurant and Bar
629 Main St., Placerville
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Tuesday
Happy hours: 2-5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through Friday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
The deals: Choose $2 off specialty cocktails such as the Bourbon Ginger Smash or Pomegranate Mojito - two of the house favorites. Pints are $3.50 and well drinks 50 cents more. They also offer a dollar off wine by the glass and appetizers such as the calamari and asiago flatbread.
Ink Eats and Drinks
2730 N St., Sacramento
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday and Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.- 3 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-4 a.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-4 a.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday
Happy hour: 3-7 p.m. Monday through Friday; power hours 10 p.m.-midnight Thursday through Saturday; brunch happy hour noon-5 p.m. Saturday (drinks only); industry happy hour 8 p.m.-close Sunday; Password Wednesday 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Wednesday
The deals: Enjoy $3 draft beers, well drinks, and appetizers such as the popular hot wings, sliders and calamari. House wine by the glass is $5, and during Sunday night's Industry happy hour (which is open to everyone, not just restaurant workers) you can also select $3 Jameson. On Wednesday evenings, there's "Password Wednesday," which lets you in on draft and well specials if you know the password on Ink's Facebook page.