Grange Restaurant and Bar
926 J St., Sacramento
Hours: 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday
Happy hour: 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday
The real steal: The menu changes seasonally. Fall cocktails are being offered now. They range from $5 to $6 during happy hour, with options such as fall sangria or the Apple, a cocktail that consists of the Grange-blend Woodford bourbon, Leopold Bros. apple liqueur and walnut nocino.
House wine by the glass is $5, and select draft beers are $4.
Appetizers, including marinated olives, seasoned picnic fries and the house-favorite daily street taco are $2 to $5.
The vibe: The Grange is part of the Citizen Hotel, in a building constructed in 1926. The two-story restaurant is open and airy, elegant yet laid-back, offering ample windows from which to view the downtown street scene.
When night falls, the restaurant takes on a warm glow via the artfully lit wall of liquor behind the bar and light fixtures that pay homage to the 1920s.
Upstairs is a private dining room seating up to 25 people. Outside the private dining room is the balcony and more intimate seating for restaurant patrons than downstairs.
There's also a separate, private bar, called the Scandal Bar, that can be reserved. Red walls and red-leather bar stools give it a speakeasy vibe.
And if you are looking for a "staycation," the Citizen offers a discount for locals.
Alternative libations: Pre-made, carbonated cocktails come in three flavors the Jarritos-inspired margarita, the Cuba libre and the root beer. Each cocktail is served in a small glass bottle you can open and pour over ice.
The bottled Cuba libre, for instance, is made with smoked Coca-Cola, Bacardi gold, and lime.
The cocktails are served in 6- or 12-ounce bottles and range from $8 to $24. For a new cocktail experience, try one of these drinks that are pre-made and thus left to marinate longer in their own flavors.
Something extra: The Tusk, a bacon Manhattan, is back on the Grange's menu. After it was dropped some time ago, the absence of this masculine cocktail beloved by both genders led to an outcry and a plethora of requests to bring it back. It's $12, and is made with bourbon, maple syrup, vermouth, bacon fat and bitters.
HAPPY HOUR ON THE CHEAP
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Oshima Sushi Fugu Lounge
2071 Natomas Crossing Drive, Sacramento
Hours: 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 11 a.m.-midnight Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Happy hour: 3:30-6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 p.m.-close Sunday through Thursday
The deals: Enjoy a $5 draft beer, wine by the glass or the drink of the day during happy hour. The drink of the day can be a margarita, mojito or a glass of wine.
Sushi rolls range from $6.25 to $12, and the $10 Happy Box bento box comes with three options