You can go out.
For five bucks or less, you can relax with a few friends, quaff a beer and munch a delicious appetizer or two at a number of local restaurants and lounges.
Here are some in the Boise area. If you know of more, send ‘em on in — order up!
The Gamekeeper Lounge, 1109 W. Main St. Old-school lounge in the Owyhee Hotel, very The Shining-esque. You can cozy up in one of the 70’s-style booths and keep an eye out for Idaho legislators.
Happy hour: 3-6 p.m. daily
Wow, look what you can get for $3: hot wings, nachos, finger steaks, snow crab bruschetta, chicken and cheese quesadilla, chicken strips, butterfly breaded shrimp, mozzarella cheese sticks, spicy chicken tenders, personal pizza (Canadian bacon, pepperoni or your choice) and mini-burgers. My favorites: the bruschetta and the quesadilla.
Pair, 601 W. Main St. This is the place to see and be seen with the best people-watching plate-glass window and trendy couch seat in town. Check out their new black and white “tuxedo” look, very classy.
Happy Hour: 3–6 p.m. Monday – Friday
This is another appetizer extravaganza! Three bucks gets you: a Mini Wimpi burger, Thai chicken Temaki hand roll (comes in a shot glass and served with chopsticks), artichoke/pesto/Gruyere spread, pommes frites with garlic aioli dipping sauce, edamame and hummus with warm pita bread.
Drinks, too. For five bucks you can chase your appetizer down with a tres cosmopolitan house-infused martini. Choose from: The Urban Blackberry, the Tangerine Dream Drop, the Strawberry Blonde Mojito, the Mango Tango Margarita, Rosemary’s Lemon Drop and the Thai Mai.
What about dessert? Try one of their Babycakes, $1.50, the cutest little cupcakes you’ve ever seen. Selection changes daily. I had the Pop Star: vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting, dusted with Pop Rocks. For $4 you can get Pair’s signature “Ding Dong” and for $5 you can order Chef Christine’s “legendary” bread pudding (served warm) with cream. Tip: Check out Pair’s “Bettie Ford” weekend brunch, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, all day Sunday.
Mai Thai, 750 W. Idaho St. Slip into this exotic Downtown lounge and restaurant for a mini-vacation.
Happy Hour: 5-6:30 Monday – Friday and an extra hour, 9-10 p.m. Friday.
With $5 you can order off the 99-cent appetizer menu and have enough left over for a $2 bottle of beer. Or take a little extra and get $5 2-for-1 well drinks or a $5 Mai Thai or $5 Mojito. What can you get for 99-cents, you say? Edamame, spring roll, summer roll, Imperial Chicken potsticker, chicken, pork or tofu satay and Thai wing, that’s what. For $1.59, you can order a vegetable potsticker, Thai toco or the three-flavored popcorn chicken. And for the $3.95 big-spenders: Asian chicken lettuce wraps, seafood packets and Lotus dimsum.
Bardenay, 610 W. Grove St. This trendy hot spot is turning into a Boise classic and why not? You can get the quintessential James Bond martini here, complete with gin, vodka (and rum) distilled onsite.
Late Night Specials, 10 p.m. – midnight, Wednesday – Saturday.
For $2 order up a chicken, pork, salmon or beef satay skewer, marinated and sauced. Or try a veggie quesadilla for $4.
Chandler’s Steakhouse, 981 W. Grove St. Chic, upscale. Home of the famous “10-minute martini.”
No happy hour here, but rumor has it that every evening around 5 p.m., complimentary burger sliders make an appearance. That’s right — FREE!
The Modern Hotel and Bar, 1314 W. Grove St. VERY modern. Very cool. Boise with a New York feel.
Happy Hour: 5-7 p.m. Monday – Friday.
Well drinks: $3.50. Most beers: $3. The entire wine list: $5.
The Crescent No Lawyers Bar & Grill, 5500 W. Franklin St. Another Boise classic but in the more laid-back way. Did I say laid back? I mean MASSIVE, it’s huge! Look for the bar’s monthly calendar of special events and food and drink specials. For instance, Wednesday, March 18 is National Forgive Mom and Dad Day and The Crescent will give you 2-for-1 appetizers if you bring in your mom or dad.
Happy Hour: 4:30-6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. to midnight Monday – Friday; 9 p.m. to midnight Saturday.
Selected appetizers $3.99 (Taco Tuesday!); well drinks and draft beers $1.50 – $4.50.