Take an afternoon stroll through downtown Palm Springs and you’ll be overwhelmed with the amount of happy hour signs and menus enticing you to get out of the heat and enjoy a cold one. While happy hour specials are plentiful, you’ll want to make sure you hit the best ones while you’re in town. Palm Springs restaurants and bars offer a little bit of everything for happy hour, from $2 cocktails to half-off premium margaritas, and from fresh cuts of sushi to greasy bar fare. Here are some you won’t want to miss while you’re in Palm Springs.
Wang’s in the Desert
This upscale Asian restaurant just off the main strip is one of the best happy hour joints in town. With reasonable prices, good food, better service and a lively atmosphere, Wang’s does happy hour right.
Their happy hour drink specials include $2 well drinks and wine, as well as $4 margaritas and martinis. Try a cosmopolitan or a tequila sunrise for a stiff drink that doesn’t taste like it’s from the happy hour menu. Don’t forget to order some appetizers or half portion entrees from the happy hour menu. Great choices include the dim sum platter, coconut shrimp and Kung Pao chicken.
Happy hour is held daily from 5 to 7:30 p.m., but Sunday is the day to go: Happy hour is all day and a live DJ plays everything from Top 40 hits to laidback reggae beat. Grab a seat on the patio – indoor bar seating is limited – and enjoy one of the best happy hours in town.
You might not expect to find Mexican cuisine served next to a sushi bar, but Margaritas serves both and does it well. Their happy hour menu includes drink specials on their namesake margaritas, appetizers and sushi menu. While happy hour covers well drinks, you’ll be remiss if you don’t indulge in one of the premium margaritas included in the happy hour special. Order a pomegranate margarita for a slightly sweet drink that packs a punch. Try the Margaritas platter – a sampler including quesadillas, Buffalo wings, chimichangas, taquitos and nachos for under $8 – for a feast of appetizers to satisfy your party.
Happy hour is nightly from 4 to 7 p.m. and goes all night on Mondays. Live music adds to the atmosphere on Fridays and Saturdays. The bar area provides an intimate, low-lit setting that’s perfect for spending quality time with your significant other, catching up with your girlfriends or watching the game on one of the several big screens that adorn the walls.
Shanghai Red’s Oyster Bar
Run by local seafood restaurant Fisherman’s Market and Grill, this dive bar has great drink specials during their early happy hour. The real gem, though, is their late-night happy hour that features their seafood menu. Grab a couple oyster shooters, enjoy fresh fish tacos and share a shrimp cocktail with friends.
Happy hour drink specials are offered on weeknights from 4 to 6 p.m., and happy hour food specials start at 8 p.m. except on Sundays, when the specials are good all day.
Lulu California Bistro
Lulu California Bistro claims to have the best happy hour in the desert and with the extensive food menu, chic interior design and all-day specials, it’s hard to argue against their claim. Drinks at the bar are stiff – no watered down happy hour pours here. The food choices range from Kobe beef burgers to an ahi tuna tartar tower, both of which are delicious. Happy hour runs from 11 a.m. until closing daily.
Matchbox keeps their happy hour menu short and sweet, but it’s done so well that you won’t be left wishing for more. Happy hour fare includes pizza, mini burgers, bruschetta, pizza rolls and ahi tempura rolls. Drink specials include discounts on cocktails, beer, wine and margaritas. Happy hour times depend on the season; from January to May, happy hour is from 4 to 5:30 p.m. During the rest of the year, happy hour is from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Palm Springs Tavern
Head to Palm Springs Tavern’s happy hour to toss back cheap beers and watch a game with your friends in the bar’s friendly and casual atmosphere. Located outside of the downtown, Palm Springs Tavern has specials on both drinks and food. Happy hour is held nightly from 4 to 7 p.m. and all day on Sundays.
What & Where
Wang’s in the Desert (424 S. Indian Canyon Dr, 760-325-9254)
Margaritas (1000 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, 760-778-3500)
Shanghai Red’s Oyster Bar and Grill (235 S. Indian Canyon Dr, 760-322-9293)
Lulu California Bistro (200 S Palm Canyon Dr, 760-327-5858)
Matchbox (155 S. Palm Canyon Dr, 760-778-6000)
Palm Springs Tavern (3700 E. Vista Chino, 760-832-8920)
Marissa Willman is a freelance writer who specializes in travel, health and lifestyle writing.
Based in the Southern California desert, Marissa’s chronic case of wanderlust has taken her across Asia and the West coast. She spent two years living in South Korea as an ESL teacher and holds a journalism degree from California State University, Fullerton. Her work has appeared in USA Today Travel Tips, 10 Magazine, The Desert Sun and 52PerfectDays.com. Marissa’s portfolio can be found on www.marissawillman.com.