Lyn-Lake used to be a tougher hang in the '90s, but these days it's got something for everyone--especially in the happy hour department. Whether you're looking for elegant small plates paired with a glass of wine or just a place to belly up to the bar and order a stiff one, you can find it near the intersection of Lake and Lyndale. And the deals keep coming, as bars and restaurants continue to move in. The Hot Dish decided to swing over and check out the offerings.
Here is our take on the best happy hour spots in this Uptown 'hood, in order from swank to downright dive-y.
610 W. Lake St.
Though now only Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., the "Merenda" (which means snack or light meal in Italian) is the cream of the Lyn-Lake crop. With small $5 versions of some of Gabriele Lo Pinto's delicious fare like the pan-seared scallops served in a balsamic vinegar reduction, his house-made salsiccia sausage, and the veggie-friendly polpettone, this is a happy hour for those with a discerning palate. In addition, the house wine and a selection of great tap beers--Peroni, Summit EPA, Fat Tire, and Guinness--are just $4. It's a great way to sample the chef's cuisine and enjoy a grown-up's beer selection for less than usual.
600 W. Lake St.
The happy hour here is a great way to get your sushi on--without losing your shirt. Tuesday through Thursday there's an early (5 to 7 p.m) and late option (10 p.m. to midnight), while Sunday's deals are on during prime time (8 to 10 p.m.). Cheap apps, nigiri sushi, maki, and specialty rolls go smashingly with $3.50 Japanese beers, the $6 featured martini, or the $6.50 sake of the night. Enjoy the amiable bartenders in the lounge and pat yourself on the back as you partake in futo maki at french fry prices.
2940 Lyndale Ave. S.
Every day from 2:20 to 6 p.m., and Sunday through Thursday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Moto-i delivers both drink and food deals. If you can take a late lunch, the 2-4-1 pork buns will absolutely be worth waiting for. From the $2 taro chips to the $8 hangar steak, the eats choices run the gamut. And as far as drinks, it's simple--$3.50 tap beer, $3.50 house wine and 1/2 off the famous house-brewed sake. We're big fans of the corn and shrimp fritters and the sake flights.
2922 Lyndale Ave. S.
Our favorite happy hour word--daily--comes up at Herkimer, where the hh drinks are inexpensive and the food is ridiculously so. Chicken wings and a fish taco are just a buck, while a good-sized plate of nachos is only $3. The deals are good, but the times are a bit confusing. Here's your crib sheet: 3 to 6 p.m. daily you'll get 2-4-1 taps, rails, and house wine and a long list of cheap apps. Late night, the cheap apps are offered daily from 10 p.m. to midnight, but $3 taps and rails are only available Sunday through Thursday, 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
3006 Lyndale Ave. S.
Feeling the need to dive? Then the Country Bar & Grill is the place to go. With specials daily (ah, that word again) from 2 to 7 p.m. and again from 9 to 11 p.m., this place is happy an awful lot. And by that we mean that you can get domestic tap beers for $1.75, domestic bottles for $2.50, and well drinks for less than $3. There ain't no amuse bouche, and it can get packed on the weekends for karaoke, but this place has far and away the best bargains on booze in the area.