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Happy hour at Hola Arepa: Killer food, cheap beer, and a charming patio

Snacks and drinks at Hola Arepa
Snacks and drinks at Hola Arepa
Benjamin Carter Grimes

You made it to the end of the week.

And now, to paraphrase the wisdom and conviction of the lady from the Watson's commercials: It's hot and you need a drink. So we at the Hot Dish have taken it upon ourselves to recommend a good happy hour.

To kick things off, we're outlining the best deals at a cheery little place with killer food and a nice neighborhood patio.

See Also: Top 10 Happy Hours in the Twin Cities

Where: Hola Arepa's newish brick-and-mortar location right across the street from Pat's Tap, in a neighborhood that some people would refer to as Kingfield, but others would quibble is south Minneapolis. When: There are two! Tuesday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday through Thursday from 10 p.m. to close. Hola is closed Mondays and doesn't do happy hour on Saturdays. What's the vibe: Inside is a brightened up cantina, with mostly tables for two or four people but feel free to hang at the 4 seat outdoor mini bar or at the longer indoor one if you're rolling solo. The inside can get loud when it's full, but not overly so. This is more of a neighborhood restaurant than a post-work tie-loosener like the Local, so no one gets super wild. The sunny patio is charming and really makes for an ideal setting to enjoy Hola's house-bottled cocktails or the more challenging Hemingway, a group pass-around drink that you sip from a bong-like decorative vase. It's delicious. What can I get to eat for $10 or less: A satisfying, savory slow-roasted pork arepa, topped with black beans and coitja is just $7; the divinely fluffy yucca fries with chimichuuri ailoi are $5; and chips with three housemade salsas and chunky guac is $8.50, to name a few items. What can I drink for $5 or less: House red or white wine is $4 and tap beers are $3.50. The selection of beers is small but sophisticated: Fulton, Summit, Lift Bridge, and Bad Weather. There are more in bottles if this list is not up to snuff. What is so good it's worth getting even though it's not on the happy hour menu: There are unfortunately no discounts on Hola's specialty cocktails....yet. But that has never stopped us from ordering one (or three) here at happy hour. The Miley-approved Wecking Ball is a combination of rhubarb shrub (an old-timey, vinegar-n-fruit syrup that's similar to a cordial), tequila, bonal (the hot aperitif of the moment), and citrus bitters, topped off with a shot of soda. It's as good as it sounds and communicates to your spirit, "you're refreshed!" while the tequila works its way into your system and tells your brain "you're ready to party!" To us, that's worth $8.50. Also, check out the insane corn chip ice cream sandwich.

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