September 2014

You Call It Happy Hour.. We Call it Market Research

Author: Special to CH2

It’s September- time to celebrate what it means to be a local in the Lowcountry. The throngs of summer visitors have departed to get back to school/ work/ whatever they do, and that means an open seat at your favorite pub during Happy Hour. The CH2 crew made an effort (it took a lot of effort to go drinking after work every day) to hit a few local watering holes. Here’s what we found:


Happy Hour #1: Santa Fe Café, Plantation Center
In Attendance: Hunter, Catherine, Maggie and Kim
We headed up to the al fresco rooftop bar for happy hour, because the fireplace and casual seating makes it more comfortable (in our humble opinion). We ordered margaritas all around—and these margaritas are #fancy. Maggie and Hunter went straight to The Bentley, which is made with Patron Silver and Grand Marnier. The atmosphere is perfection at this Southwestern eatery, with soft guitar performances by Reymundo Elias Wednesday-Saturday from 7-10 p.m. The fried oysters are a must, along with the ceviche and crab cakes.
The Details: Happy Hour is just that—one hour—from 5-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, with house margaritas, house wine, sangria, wells (vodka, gin, bourbon, rum) all $4.50 and $1 off all beers.


Happy Hour #2: Holy Tequila!, Park Plaza
In attendance: Kim, Kelly, Maggie and Ashton
The crowd at this relatively new hotspot in Park Plaza was a mix of businessmen and ladies straight from work on the Friday night we went. The bar was completely full when we arrived and remained that way for several hours. We loved the spicy gin fizz (a delightful creation with a jalapeno kick) and the street corn. The menu has an interesting array of taco flavor combinations, and you can pair three with a side for around $10. Outside seating featuring the hustle & bustle of this busy plaza will be even more popular when the temperature drops from summer highs of 100 degrees.
The Details: Happy Hour is from 4-7 p.m., with select liquors, beers, tacos and snacks all priced at $2.50.


Happy Hour #3: The Lucky Rooster, South Island Square
In Attendance: Kandace, Maggie, Kim, and Ashton
We really like this new mid-island place. The menu has a city vibe, and consists of “refined comfort foods and adventurist dishes.” Chef/owner Clayton Rollison spins tale after tale while playing down-to-earth host (when he isn’t in the kitchen), and you will leave feeling like you are part of the “in” crowd. If you give him a minute or two to preach about how vermouth is undervalued as a spirit, and sample some of his favorites, you may just become a believer. Our favorite bar treats included the deviled eggs, the burrata and tomato salad and a jalapeño corn bread served with a side of something sweet and delicious.
The Details: $5 interesting wines, $4 natty light 25 oz, $1 off all drafts and domestic beer, $1 oysters.


Happy Hour #4: The Chart House
In Attendance: Kandace, Kelly & Kim
When you want a view with an elegant setting along with your post-work cocktail, head over to the Chart House. With relaxing couches and a roaring fire pit in the fall and winter months, it’s a convenient stop on the way home for the Hilton Head Plantation set. The night we went, we sampled the prime rib sliders, spinach and artichoke dip with the fish tacos, with the latter being our favorite. For drinks we tried the pom mojito and the pom martini, both of which were fantastic.
The Details: The great price on appetizers is the big story here; $4, $5 and $6 plates in generous sizes, with a nice selection for every palate.


Happy Hour #5: The Frosty Frog, Coligny Plaza
In Attendance: Maggie, Kelly, Kandace and Ashton
The best part of hanging out at the Frog is the mascot who walks around and poses with customers. Where else can you get that kind of fun on Hilton Head Island? Travis was our bartender and was a perfect host; it wasn’t his fault that frog legs did not agree with this particular grouping of women. The Frosty Frog is known for powerful grain-alcohol-fueled frozen drinks, so we played along and ordered the Creamsicle, Strawberry Shortcake, The Super Frog and a Hurricane. The ambiance in this shrine to the frog is laid back with a beachy feel; the crowd was mostly visitors when we went, but should turn to a more local gathering as the weather cools.
The Details: “Hoppy Hour” pricing is a $1 off each drink from 5-7 p.m.


Happy Hour #6: Main Street Café
In Attendance: Kaity, Ashton, Maggie and Kim
A comfortable place where regulars hang out is the feeling you get here. Our bartender had the familiar face that you’ve seen before around the island, and the owner, Faith, stopped by to chat with us. Most of us had wine on this happy hour outing, but since it had been a stressful day, the boss went for The Painkiller, a delicious rum concoction. It worked. We sampled the fried buffalo shrimp, the queso blanco, fried green tomatoes and the vegetarian spring rolls. Kim was a huge fan of the white queso and Kaity raved about the shrimp.
The Details: Half-price appetizers (special list), $2 domestic beer and house wines at $3.59.


Happy Hour #7: Chow Daddy’s
In Attendance: Catherine and Hunter
The outside dining area of Truffles’ new south end sister is equipped with casual picnic and bistro tables and a stage for late-night entertainment. The abundance of fans made it comfortable for alfresco dining on a warm evening, so our office Millennials sat “in the nature.” Hunter tried (and loved) the watermelon mojito, which was made with fresh watermelon juice, Bacardi rum and mint. We also sampled the avocado spread on toast, which was delightful. The menu at Chow Daddy’s is unique and affordable with nothing over $14. While we didn’t try them on this visit, we can attest to how delicious the Hot Bowls are, as we celebrated an office birthday there a few months ago.
The Details: Happy Hour daily 4-6 p.m., $2 domestic lagers, $3 well drinks, $4 crafts beers and house wines. 

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