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May 15, 2014

Get Happy - Top Five Santa Cruz Happy Hours

Finding a great happy hour is kind of like finding a new friend and Santa Cruz is a great place to make friends.  There are plenty of places offering up great deals in great atmospheres.  Here are some of the best places in Santa Cruz to have a very happy hour (or two, or three). 1. Hula's Island Grill Hula's sm Looking for a hip place to relax and enjoy some laughs and conversation with friends?  Then escape to the island – the Hula’s Island Grill that is, in the heart of Downtown Santa Cruz.  With a tiki drink menu complete with cocktail names like the Hawaii 5-0, Zombie, Dr. Funk and Pain Killer, you know you’re in for a good time.  Oh, and we can’t not mention the velvet Elvis on the wall – yes, a velvet Elvis.  Happy Hour doesn’t end with the drinks though; they’ve got unique appetizers – or pupus as it reads on the menu – like Hawaiian Civiche, Crispy Cocoanut Shrimp Rolls and Jalapeno Mac and Cheese. Yes, please and Mahalo. Enjoy Happy Hour: Sunday - Monday: 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Wednesday - Saturday, 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm;  and Tuesdays from 2:00 pm to close. 2. Jack O’Neil Lounge Photo by Garrick Ramirez Photo by Garrick Ramirez Add one part surf museum, one part restaurant & bar, and a splash of ocean views and you’ve got the Jack O’Neill Lounge.  Nestled perfectly in the Santa Cruz Dream Inn, the Jack O’Neill Lounge is so much more than a place to hang out.  It invites you into the life and history of the O’Neill founder from photos and memorabilia, to a drink list inspired by the man himself.  Speaking of the legend, order The Legend which is Jack’s favorite cocktail - Ketel One Vodka, dry vermouth and garnished with one olive.  As you sip on your cocktail, take in the panorama of beach, surf, wharf and boardwalk, you’ll surely be feeling happy. Enjoy Happy Hour: Monday - Friday, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm 3. Shadowbrook ShadowbrookStairs Going to the Shadowbrook is an experience in itself. Sure, you can walk down to the restaurant, but if you want the royal treatment take the cable car and float through the gardens to your destination.  The Rock Room is a sophisticated, yet cozy spot where you can enjoy good company, great food and tasty drinks.  On Tuesday nights the Rock Room has a ‘Two-Fer’ special where pizzas & appetizers are two for the price of one.  Cocktails, beer and wine are served up on a special deal as well and a portion of the Tuesday night proceeds often go to local non-profits.  Eat well in a beautiful atmosphere AND give back?  Perfect. Enjoy Happy Hour: Tuesdays all evening long, Fridays (September thru May) 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Be sure to check their website for other current promotions. 4. Crow’s Nest Crows Have happy hour at the golden hour for the best beach and sunset views.  Take a table on the patio to pair your food and drink with ocean breezes.  Plus, March through October, on Wednesday evenings, you can watch the weekly sailboat races from the patio.  Find the easy to miss binoculars available on the patio to get a close up view of the sailboats, harbor and the Walton Lighthouse.  Sure the Crow’s Nest is perfect perch for a beautiful sunset, but it’s also the ideal spot for some live music and dancing fun. Enjoy Happy Hour: Monday - Friday from 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm and all night long on Wednesdays. 5. Fairfield Inn and Suites, Capitola Fairfield sm If you're looking for a classy evening, the Fairfield Inn in Capitola is a hidden gem among happy hours.  Whether you are lucky enough to stay at the hotel or just dropping in, the hotel has gorgeous glass work done by a local artist that anyone can appreciate.  Choose from their wine list which includes local favorites like Storrs and Bargetto and between the wine, top-notch hospitality, and total relaxation you just might feel like booking a room.  And don’t fret if you’re in the mood for a cocktail, the bartenders, Mike and Adam, are always mixing up new and creative libations. Enjoy Happy Hour: 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily These Happy Hours are just the beginning; explore more places to wine and dine in Santa Cruz County and discover your new favorite!  

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