Winter blahs have you itching to get out of town and travel somewhere new, but feeling a little strapped for cash?
Luckily, there are happy hours all across town that allow you to sample food and drink inspired by cuisines from around the world. Grab a travel buddy, and start your journey now.
Kick things off at Red Sea. This Cedar-Riverside Ethiopian mainstay serves up a solid happy hour with $4 rail drinks, $3 taps and bottled beer, and $1 off all appetizers. Definitely order a Harar Pale Lager: It’s smooth and perfectly complements the always mouthwatering and always hot sambusas. And the best part? Their happy hour runs daily from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., which makes it the perfect entry into a night of live music in their adjacent venue. 320 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612-333-644, theredseampls.com
Pazzaluna whisks you away to Italy at any time of day, but their daily 4 to 6 p.m. happy hour makes that journey all the sweeter. A Margherita pizza for $10, $3 well cocktails, and select antipasti for $5? Don’t mind if you do. Belly up to the bar at 9 for their late-night happy hour, when tiramisu or limoncello cheesecake can be had for just $5. Talk about la dolce vita. 360 St. Peter St., St. Paul; 651-223-7000, pazzaluna.com
Feast on Hai Hai’s take on south Asian street food with their extensive happy hour menu. Order the Indeed Bia Side—Indeed’s special B-Side infusion just for Hai Hai—which features flavors of lemongrass, citrus peel, and ginger ($4). Follow that up with some fried wontons ($7), salt and pepper tofu ($5.50), and Hanoi sticky rice ($11). Many of the menu items are gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan or can be made so upon request. And you should cap things off with a brilliantly brewed cocktail. The Old Town Saigon ($6)—with cognac, cinnamon liqueur, and orange bitters—is sure to warm you right up. 2121 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-223-8640, haihaimpls.com
Victor’s 1959 Café
Sure, diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US have resumed, but travel there is still pretty restricted for Americans. Victor’s has long provided a delicious culinary window into the island country, so slide into one of their cozy booths and enjoy happy hour during either breakfast or lunch. Breakfast happy hour happens Monday through Friday from 8:30 until 10:30 a.m. Start your day with a $4 sake Bloody Mary or a $4 tropical mimosa. If kicking off the day with a cocktail isn’t your thing, visit during dinner happy hour—Tuesday through Sunday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.—and savor $4 tropical mimosas, glasses of wine, and pints of beer. Select bottles of wine are just $14. 3756 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis; 612-827-8948, victors1959cafe.com
Kado no Mise
Every day from 5 to 7 p.m., Kado no Mise offers up a curated happy hour menu with paired items, allowing you to focus all the more on the craft behind the preparation and presentation of the food and the spare elegance of the space. For $14, you can have shiso-wrapped crispy blue prawns with a glass of red or white wine, sake, or a Sapporo draft. Another option serves up steamed egg-custard soup with king crab and gingko nuts. Or, indulge in the four-piece nigiri flight ($14)—pretty as a picture with flavor to match. 33 N. 1st Ave., Minneapolis; 612-338-1515, kadonomise.com
Café Racer Kitchen
During its two happy hours each day—3 to 5 p.m. and 8 to 9 p.m.—you can sample Café Racer’s Columbian food truck menu, which features roasted pulled chicken, braised pulled pork, and roasted vegetables complemented by two sides of your choice or in an arepa. If that’s not enough to get your mouth watering, there's also this: When you buy one alcoholic drink, you can get another of equal or lesser value free. 2929 E. 25th St., Minneapolis; 612-208-1695, caferacermn.com
The Dubliner’s happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and gives you $1 off all beers, wines, and rail drinks. It also goes just late enough for you to catch the live music happening each night—or, if it’s Wednesday, to stay for céilí dancing. 2162 University Ave., St. Paul; 651-646-5551, thedublinerpub.com
Moscow on the Hill
A selection of hearty appetizers are just three for $10 during Moscow on the Hill’s happy hours (2 to 5 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 8 to 10 p.m. on Sunday). You must get the pelmeni, pierogi-style dumplings plumped full of beef and pork and served with rich sour cream. For just $9, you can score the piroshki and borscht combo. And at $3.50 a shot, happy hour is the time to really sample their selection of house-infused vodkas. Garlic and dill is mouth-puckeringly wonderful, especially in a classic martini, and the tiramisu is dessert in a glass. 371 Selby Ave., St. Paul; 651-291-1236, moscowonthehill.com