Monsoon Cuisine of India
1020 16th St., Sacramento
Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Happy hour: 2-6 p.m. daily, 10 p.m.-midnight Sunday through Thursday, 11 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday
The real steal: Choose from a $3 draft beers, $4 house wine and well drinks, $5 Stoli vodka in any flavor, and $1 off all 20 special martinis and cocktails during happy hour. The special martinis and cocktails range from around $8 to $11 each. If you're looking for a little taste of India, try one of its $3 appetizers such as tamarind wings, beef kebab, veg samosa or lamb naan.
The vibe: Monsoon has a big-city feel with a splash of traditional Indian décor. Large windows let in natural light and the walls are decorated with imported artwork. The dark wood tables and black chairs contrast with the light wood bars and black bar chairs. Five crystal chandeliers hang above the bar and two metal pillars frame the back wall of the bar. Light, modern Indian music plays in the background.
Signature drink: The Dragonfly cocktail is one of the most popular choices at Monsoon for each drink sold, a dollar is donated to the American Cancer Society. This drink (along with the other 19 special martinis and cocktails) was created by the bar manager, Tim Varner. He created the Dragonfly in memory of his late sister who died of cancer and loved dragonflies. The summery, refreshing cocktail is made with Bacardi Dragon Berry, limoncello, fresh strawberries, mint and champagne. During happy hour it is available for $11.
Bathroom break: This simple, private bathroom continues the modern lounge feel with metal tiles on the floor, contrasting with the black fixtures. There is plenty of space for touch-ups, and the restroom is conveniently located behind the bar.
Alternative libations: Another popular drink at Monsoon is the Raging Bull, an $8 cocktail made with a unique saffron-infused vodka that is made in-house, and Amaretto, lime and ginger beer. The richness of the saffron balances the sweetness of the Amaretto and ginger beer and adds a unique Indian twist.
Something extra: Happy hour works all over the restaurant; however, the two most popular spots are the bar itself and the patio, which features cushioned benches and some good people-watching on a warm evening
HAPPY HOUR ON THE CHEAP
1730 S St., Sacramento
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 4:30-10 p.m. Saturday, 4-9 p.m. Sunday
Happy hour: 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 4:30-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
The deals: Select from a small Bud Light beer for $2, a small hot sake for $3, a glass of Sycamore Lane Cabernet Sauvignon for $4 or a large Orion beer for $5 during happy hour. If you are hungry, options include $3 bites such as deep-fried gyoza, $4 BBQ salmon, $5 rolls such as the California, dynamite, or tempura rolls all of them eight pieces and $5.50 appetizers such as the mixed tempura. Happy hour only works as dine-in, and does not work with any outside coupons such as a Groupon deal.
4364 Town Center Blvd., El Dorado Hills
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.- midnight Friday, 9 a.m.-midnight Saturday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday
Happy hour: 3-7 p.m. Monday through Friday
The deals: Everything is $4 during happy hour. Choose from appetizers such as tacos, spring rolls, seared ahi tuna and salmon croquettes to enjoy in the bar and cocktail area of Bistro 33. Same price for draft beers, house wines and well drinks.
400 Capitol Mall
(916) 446-4100, www.ilfornaio.com Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 5-10 p.m. Saturday, 4-9 p.m. Sunday
Happy hour: 5- 7 p.m. Monday through Friday
The deals: Enjoy a complimentary selection of appetizers during happy hour such as bruschetta, garlic bread, or a veggie platter with a gorgonzola dip. The hors d'oeuvres change daily, however drink specials are constant. Select from a dollar off all beers and well drinks, or $6 select wines by the glass. The house chardonnay, orvieto, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, and sangiovese are offered during happy hour.
1179 Galleria Blvd., Roseville
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
Happy hour: 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 4:30-10 p.m. Wednesday
The deals: $5 antipasti such as carpaccio or calamaretti fritti, or choose one of four different pizzas such as the pizza fradiavola. It also offers a plethora of artisan cocktails such as the mango lemon drop and Sicilian sunset, and $5 wines by the glass. It also serves beer for $3.
7101 Laguna Blvd., Elk Grove
1168 Galleria Blvd., Roseville
Hours:Elk Grove: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m.- 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Roseville: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily
Happy hour: 3-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 p.m.-close daily
The deals: Enjoy $2 off Ultimate drinks a large-size cocktail and liquors, $1 off wine by the glass, $2 for the short, and $3 for the tall, for Coors Light, Bud Light, Miller Light, and Budweiser during happy hour. They also serve Shock Top for $3 to $4, depending on the size, and offer half-priced appetizers such as mozzarella sticks, spinach dip, and crispy green bean fries for about $5 each for a full-portioned dish.