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Though they can often feel like a best-kept secret or a rumour in the wind, Happy Hour really is the best way to scratch that midweek itch to catch up with a friend, try a new restaurant or just to fill that awkward gap before dinner.

In the middle of a long and stressful work week, sometimes some social connection is all you need to start that downhill slide towards the weekend. But catching up with friends or venting to your coworkers doesn’t have to be an expensive affair, just join the Happy Hour Hunt and grab yourself a deal. 

If cocktails aren’t your thing, plenty of Happy Hours offer beer and wine specials to wet your whistle. But if like me, you’re pulled in by the allure of a magical mixed beverage, you might find they surprise you in some mysterious places. You may love your local haunt for its dreamy pizza or ripper of a steak, but as the sun goes down, the tequila comes out and if you make your way back, you might just find that favourite lunch or dinner spot boasting a heater of a Happy Hour that will have you crowning it “Margarita-ville.”

Auckland Fish Market

If you’re lucky enough to work down by the water, then you’ve most likely stumbled into The Fish Markets before. With an interesting array of mostly seafood restaurants (obviously), it’s almost like an up market food court with a little something for everyone. Some nights you’ll find live music that serves as the perfect background to your date night or casual catch up, but every weekday you’ll find Happy Hour at both The Wreck and Bang Bang. You can park up at one or swap between them to try a bit of everything, but whatever you do you’ll be getting served a bargain. 

Happy Hour: The Wreck 4pm – 6pm, Bang Bang 4pm – 7pm

Happy Hour Deal: The Wreck- $7 beer, spirits, wine and hot cocktails; Bang Bang – drink specials from $5

Location: Wynyard Quarter

The Mexican Cafe

You really can’t go wrong with a Mexican restaurant that offers a Happy Hour, because that means one thing; margaritas! And with more than five fruit flavours of that icey, spicy beverage to choose from, it’s every inner city Aucklander’s dream! But The Mexican Cafe goes one step further, with $5 wine and beer and even Happy Hour deals on food too. Any deal that means I can afford to have two of everything, is a good deal in my books.

Happy Hour: 5pm- 7pm daily

Happy Hour Deal: $9 margaritas, $5 beer and wine, $6 tacos

Location: CBD

Everybody’s

With so many coveted hot spots and new fancy eateries opening in the city fringe, sometimes it’s easy to look past the CBD. But the Viaduct isn’t the only destination in the inner city; if you’re happy to brave Queen Street at peak hour, you’ll find a hidden hideaway that provides the perfect location for a few after work drinks. At the top of the spiral staircase you’ll find the “Day Taketh, Margarita Giveth Back” cocktail and if that’s not a reason to visit I don’t know what is. 

Happy Hour: 4pm- 7pm Monday – Saturday

Happy Hour Deal: Weekday margaritas $12, Aperol Spritz $12 everyday

Location: CBD

Non Solo Pizza

Located in the heart of Parnell, through a deceptive entrance that opens out into the most beautiful Italian courtyard you’ll be visiting in these ‘unprecedented times’, Non Solo Pizza is a true hidden gem. Featuring a brand new fit out, menu and most importantly, cocktail list, there has never been a better time to visit. Their Happy Hour is a touch more fancy – dubbed the Non Solo Aperitivo Hour – but don’t be fooled, great deals are great deals in any language. This happy hour focuses on the food for those nights where you feel like going out for drinks but don’t want to spend up large on dinner as well. You’re spoiled with complimentary bites to showcase their delectable menu, and even freshly shucked oysters to compliment your cocktail, wine or Negroni!

Happy Hour: Wednesday – Saturday 5pm – 7pm

Happy Hour Deal: Complimentary canapes

Location: Parnell

Coco’s Cantina

Walking into Coco’s is like walking into your Nana’s house right after she’s baked fresh cookies – it’s comforting, it smells delicious and you want to stay forever. As if offering the best polenta chips and pasta known to man wasn’t enough, Coco’s runs some incredible deals as a warm up to dinner. Come for the Happy Hour Pasta and drinks, follow it up with the lamb Tagliatelle and stay for the Tiramisu. Cheap drinks means more money to spend on your three course meal right? 

Happy Hour: 4:30pm- 6:00pm for food, 4:30pm-6:30pm for drinks, Tuesday – Saturday

Happy Hour Deal: $7 bubbles, beer and house wine and Happy Hour Pasta for $13+

Location: Karangahape Road