You know the feeling—driving home on a Friday evening trying to shake off that mind-numbing 4 o’clock meeting. You’re ready to embrace the weekend, and like most of us, without breaking the bank. To fuel some fun, here are a few of my favorite Irvine go-to’s to kick-start the weekend.

1.    Yard House at the Irvine Spectrum Center

This happy hour hits the spot with the best drink specials in the entertainment hub of Irvine. Indulge in $3 beers and half-price apps surrounded by TVs and a fun crowd. Sprawling with twenty-somethings looking for a nice finale of the workweek, you’re bound to make a pal or two. 

Monday – Friday: 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Late Night Happy Hour:

Sunday – Wednesday: 10 p.m. – close

Beer flight and a yard of beer at Yard House 

2.  Eureka!

This spot is located right by the UCI campus with an awesome outdoor patio and even more awesome drink specials during their “Hoppy Hour”. Personally, I think this is the most well rounded happy hour. It’s different every day; live music, brunch specials, and what's more, they give you stuff! Every Wednesday, beer enthusiasts can “steal the glass” by ordering the featured beer and later "stealing" the the glass souvenir for the ride home.

Daily "Hoppy Hour": 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. & 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.

Festivities on top of Hoppy Hour:

Tuesday: Half-Price Wine

Wednesday: Steal the Glass

Thursday: Live Music

Saturday & Sunday: $5 Bloodys and Mimosas

Outdoor patio at Eureka! 

3.    Puesto at Los Olivos

Puesto not only offers happy hour Monday through Friday, it also hosts #TacoTuesday! Every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to close, tacos are only $2.50 and Modelo cans are $3.50. I suggest sitting at the patio bar, but if you prefer a nice, air-conditioned experience, there's an equally fun bar for you in the main dining room. 

Happy Hour: Monday through Friday 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Taco Tuesday: Every Tuesday 3 p.m. – close  

The bar at Puesto in Irvine 

 4.    Red Bar & Lounge

You’ll find this hotspot in the lobby of Hotel Irvine. Red Bar & Lounge’s daily happy hour includes cocktails made for the occasion. You can find half-price plates including Ahi Poke, Avocado Fries, Beef Sliders and more. At $6, you can order a specialty cocktail like a Honey Mule or an Icy Hot.

Daily: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Poke at Red Bar & Lounge in Irvine 

 5. Center Hub at Trade Food Hall

This spot is brand spanking new. Located near one of Irvine’s larger business parks and John Wayne Airport, this is a great after-work or post-flight destination. Within the Trade Food Hall, you’ll find various gourmet food vendors to settle the belly after you indulge in Center Hub’s happy hour.

Monday – Friday: 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Center Hub in Irvine