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Fans, foodies get hip to local happy hours

Roseville and Granite Bay have drinks, deals galore
By: Scott Thomas Anderson, Editor
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The Monday blues can be little mind-numbing, especially in the tedious, late afternoon hours when most people are heading home from work — but inside Mandango’s Sports Bar on the east side of Roseville, bartender Sierra Owens is turning the head drain into relaxation, pouring drinks inside a familiar place where most people can abandon their stress for a few moments.

From the borders of Roseville and Rocklin to the far side of Granite Bay, it’s Happy Hour again.

Mandango’s is a quintessential American-type sports hub, with a tiled horseshoe bar jutting through its spacious, slightly dim dimensions. Three ebony pool tables are lined near the windows and a triad of electric dartboards is lit scarlet under the Budweiser logo.

On this Monday afternoon, the bar is already filling with weary-eyed regulars stopping by for Happy Hour. At Mandango’s, Happy Hour equals $3 off well drinks and $3.25 off draft beers. The menu offers of an array of blue-collar Happy Hour meal specials for $3, including beer nuggets with marinara and cheese sauce, bleu cheese fire fries, beer-battered onion rings and Mandango’s staple Buffalo wings.

Owens said the bar’s Happy Hour, which runs weekdays from 3-7 p.m., draws a lot of patrons who love chatting with each other.

“We get a good Happy Hour crowd of mostly people who have been coming here for years,” Owens observed. “It’s got a really nice vibe, because everybody knows each other.”

About three miles away, centered in Roseville’s famous Fountains, McCormick & Schmick’s is also packed for Happy Hour. Owned by the same company that runs Monterey’s chic, seaside Chart House, McCormick & Schmick’s bar has a vintage East Coast metropolitan ambiance. Portraits from Life magazine and framed snapshots of presidents hang opposite 14 comfortable stools and a nine-handle tap. Happy Hour runs 3-7 p.m. and 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The experience includes $7 martinis, with many customers opting for cosmopolitans and Perfect Lemon Drops, the later made from fresh fruit and Absolute Citron. Five-dollar glasses of Zinfandel, Sauvignon and chardonnay are also sought-after options.

Happy Hour meals are also popular at McCormick & Schmick’s. The late-day deals feature $2.95 hummus and pita chips, $3.95 chicken sliders with pomodoro sauce, $4.95 calamari, $4.95 black mussels with white wine, $5.95 Margherita flat bread and $5.95 Panko Shrimp Skewers. Any bartender you meet at the restaurant can tell you about the ongoing enthusiasm for the setup.

Local beer and wine connoisseurs also gravitate toward the Happy Hour at Pete’s Brewing House in Granite Bay. Its bar has a sleek and easygoing style, with classic red brickwork accented by elegant wood fixtures and finish. Past the leather seats and sofas, a row of cozy, high-backed booths runs the length of the bar, illuminated by hanging ruby lamps.

Pete’s Happy Hour runs 3-6 p.m., Monday through Friday. It features $2 off cocktails and $1 off craft beers. Customers can also get $2 off wines that include favorites such as Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel, Han Rex-Goliath Cabernet, Banfi Chianti Classico and Trivento Malbec from Argentina.  

Pete’s Brew House also offers a few of its own signature food options during the late afternoon. Visitors can enjoy a personal pizza for $3.99, lettuce wraps for $4.25 or an order of Brew House kobe sliders for $6.99. When West Coast sports teams play early in East Coast stadiums, Pete’s bar top is rife with pizzas and kobe sliders over beers as Granite Bay fans watch the action.

In Roseville, a nexus for Happy Hour and sports fans is 2H at Bunz & Co. In addition to two different types of Happy Hours, the athlete-centric bar is also hosting a weekly special called “Manly Monday.” Customers dropping by for Manly Monday can get a $3 shot of ancient age whiskey, along with pints of domestic beer for $8 and a pulled pork sandwich for $7.50.

Bunz & Co. also runs its regular Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 3-7 p.m., with $1 off draft beers and $1 off well drinks. The bar also runs deals on traditional fare, especially jalapeno poppers, piles of nachos and tasty street tacos. Bunz & Co. is becoming increasingly noticed for its late night Happy Hour, which runs Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to midnight.

For Aaron Toto, the owner, there’s no mystery to why crowds flock to Happy Hour.

“If you do Happy Hour right, it’s something customers love,” he said. “What can I say, people enjoy cheap beer."