OK, let's get a couple of things straight: First off, beer is good. If you're reading this, you're most likely on board with that principle. Secondly, Happy Hour makes a good beer great! Talk all you want about the Recession, but Happy Hours have always been a beer-fan favorite, no matter what the economic climate.
That is, unless you're in Massachusetts, where there has been a state-wide ban on Happy Hours since 1984. That's according to the fine folks at Wikipedia. So despite the amount of bars in Boston alone, don't go there looking for a Sam Adams at a discounted price after work.
We don't have that issue here in the Bay Area, where it's rare to come across a place that doesn't offer a Happy Hour — and Vinnie's Bar and Grill downtown happens to be one of those rare cases.
Vinnie's is a good place, don't get me wrong. If you want live music, it's probably the best spot in town short of the Concord Pavilion. And there aren't many places in Concord where you can find San Francisco's Anchor Steam, Racer 5 IPA from Healdsburg's Bear Republic and Petaluma's Lagunitas beers — all on-tap. You'll just be paying... well, let's call it "Massachusetts rates".
Two of the best Happy Hours around, in my opinion, can be found at E.J. Phair and Tower Grille, both conveniently located in Todos Santos Plaza. Monday through Friday afternoons from 3 to 6 p.m., you can grab a $3 E.J. Phair brew, or $1 off of any of E.J.'s "guest beer" selections from other craft beer brewers throughout the Western United States. Those selections can vary daily, so check with your bartender. And unlike many restaurant/bars, E.J. offers their Happy Hour pricing both at the bar and their dining tables.
Tower Grille offers $3.50 drafts on imports and microbrews Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. But their "Tower Hour", from 3 to 4 p.m., offers those same great beers for just $2. Now I'm not trying be all "East Coast/West Coast" here, but take that, Boston! Just sayin'....
Another place for a craft beer value is the off-the-beaten-path Legends Sports Bar at the Diablo Creek Golf Course on Port Chicago Highway just past Highway 4. There, in addition to good food and plenty of sports games showing on their many TVs, you can enjoy complimentary appetizers and $1 off beer specials from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. They feature selections from local brewer Black Diamond among their craft beer options on-tap.
The reason I point out Legends is because the subject next week will be bars in Concord that you may not think of right away, or maybe you haven't heard of at all. Hole-in-the-wall types or maybe just "hidden gems" that serve up a great microbrew on-tap.
If you have any suggestions of places to be featured that may fit that category, feel free to send them to me at Jack@CigaRv.com or leave a comment below. I'm already looking forward to my "research".
Well, after all this talk about drinking beer, I'm sure this is the part where I'm supposed to say "please drink responsibly". See you at Happy Hour!
Interested in a cigar with your beer selection? Concord is home to the Bay Area's only mobile cigar lounge: CigaRv — The Mobile Man Cave. In the weeks ahead we'll tell you more about special cigar and beer events coming to the Concord area! In the meantime, check out the Mobile Man Cave at CigaRv.com and Facebook.com/CigaRv.
Where are the best "off the beaten track" bars in Concord? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.