It's Always 5 O'Clock: A Definitive Guide to the Top 50 Broward and Palm Beach Happy Hours

You have to hand it to South Florida. This past year has been a doozy. From Ponzi schemers to Charlie Crist's party-changing politics to oil spills the size of Texas headed for our shores, we all deserve a gripe or two. But we'll survive another year in paradise, and that's something to celebrate.

So with our readers' survival and happiness in mind, we decided to go beyond being their eyes and ears for all things newsworthy and artsy and take on the responsibility of protecting their livers.

We searched high and low for happy hours at the seediest of strip-mall bars to the swanky cocktail types. We drank, and drank, and drank, and the threat of cirrhosis loomed, but the results were worth the seemingly endless hangover. Below is a guide to the 50 best spots to waste your liver, at least as best as we can remember. Erica K. Landau

O'Shea's Irish Pub

531 Clematis St., West Palm Beach, 561-833-3865, osheaspub.com

If the east end of Clematis is a bit too, you know, creatively suffocating for you, then the west end of Clematis is the cure. Down west past the tracks, O'Shea's has been going strong for 16 years with no signs of slowing down. You'll know you're in the right place when you see a bunch of smiling people sitting around wooden tables on the sidewalk beneath the Irish flag at the door. Neither dive nor palace, this place is just a good old-fashioned pub. Folks there love the Guinness, love the bangers and mash, and love that happy hour runs from 11 a.m. all the way through 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The deal is simple: $3.50 pints, and free barbecue on Friday. Stroll through the front door in shorts and flip-flops or a little black dress and heels and you'll fit right in. Maggie Dove

Grease Burger Bar

213 Clematis St., West Palm Beach, 561-651-1075, greasewpb.com

There are quite a few bars on the east end of Clematis, and they're pretty much interchangeable with their selection of either Bud or Heineken. Grease, on the other hand, has more than 75 beers on the menu, and they're all two-for-one at happy hour. It's easy to give a couple of Buds away for that price, but you enter an entirely different realm when you get handed two bottles of Delirium Tremens or Chimay for the price of one. The place is huge, and the bar is so long that they have to keep a gaggle of bartenders behind it at all times. That means you can sit down, and before you can even leave an impression with your ass on the barstool, someone who is knowledgeable about all those beers will ask you what you want to drink. You can even keep it local, since Grease is one of the few bars in the area that serves beers from Cigar City Brewing out of Tampa and Inlet Brewing Co. out of Jupiter. Doesn't Anheuser-Busch have enough money already? Maggie Dove

Benny's Ice House

9803 S Military Trail, Boynton Beach, 561-734-6924

Let's see. Beall's Outlet, Burlington Coat Factory, Benny's Ice House. OK, so the location makes no sense at all, but that's part of what makes Benny's so great. You would never expect such a great little bar in a discount shopping center. Benny's is well-known as an after-hours bar (open till 5 a.m.), but the happy-hour scene is just as good as the after-hours. It runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, with discounted domestic drafts, $2.75 pints of PBR, and wells that average about $3. Good people, cheap drinks, and even a few surprises on the menu. You can cool your heels after a long day with Magic Hat on draft and a basket of some of the best wings in town. Then you can walk across the parking lot to Burlington's and buy a really swell coat at a modest price. Maggie Dove

Taste Gastropub

169 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach, 561-274-4444, tastegastropub.com

Taste is doing something no other fancy-pants gastropub is pulling off: It's having fun with it. Sure, there's gourmet happy-hour food like garlic marinated olives and the deliciously deconstructed wild mushroom tostada. There are fresh orchids on the tables and one of those space-age tulip chairs that probably costs more than we make in a week, but there are also Bugs Bunny cartoons projected onto the wall. The place serves tater tots and candy bars. There is an impressive selection of American craft beers, rarely seen imports, and beer cocktails (think bloody mary beer), with cocktails and wine half off during happy hour. You should feel ashamed of yourself for not being there right now. Maggie Dove

Tryst

4 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 561-921-0201

Although the place is decorated like a typical, old, dimly lit pub, the menu prices jettison Tryst right up to nouveau gastropub level. Tryst is expensive. Expensive, that is, unless you go to its happy hour, when a good portion of the menu is half off. The prime-beef burger topped with aged cheddar, with a plateful of papas frites and two Belgian ales, will set you back a grand total of 15 bucks. For the record, you can't buy fajitas and a Coke at your local Chili's for $15. The environment inside is a fairly quiet affair, but the humongous outdoor patio is ideal for the single minglers who pack into it most nights. Maggie Dove

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