In those heady days of the early 21st century, before human beings even knew that cavorting with live swine was more dangerous than eating dead ones, there was a a time when harried businesspeople would join their brethren and sistren in a room filled with alcohol, and for only a bit of their daily pay could eat, drink, and be merry before heading home to their screaming brood of lolcats and lolkids. This time was called happy hour.

Our story begins at Palomino, in the coastal city of San Francisco, which at five o’clock on Friday was gleaming like leftover glitter on the cheekbone of a corpse.

My faithful compatriot, Luu, christened this bar, “The kind of place where people who don’t take themselves too seriously come to get their drank on.” I christened it a good place to get a pomegranate margarita for $4, while rubbing elbows with young financiers who were unwinding after a long day of weeping softly in a corner. Luu ordered the mojito, which she had been talking about for at least four blocks, and which seemed like an incredible deal, because it came in a very tall glass, and was indeed delicious if not a little saccharine.


The place was just like Churchill Downs during the Derby: packed, loud, and filled with minty drinks. This made Luu excited, not only because she likes horses, but also because it signaled that the businessmen were moving on to their second beer and beginning to undo their top buttons. The priced calamari arrived, and Luu kept the Southern theme alive when she mentioned that it had a, “Kentucky Fried Chicken thing goin’ on.” Which, we agreed, was not necessarily a bad thing.

Since our arrival, a young man had been dancing about in our space bubble while drinking a series of Amstel Lights. He asked us what we were doing there, to which we mumbled something unintelligible that probably sounded like, “IhaveapresspassthatImademyself.” In response to this idiocy he enthused that he had come all the way from the East Bay, just to watch the honest folk at Palomino shine their nearly pearly whites at one another.

Palomino, we soon learned, is a name referring to a type of horse with a gold coat and a white mane, whose coloring appears when a dilution gene comes in contact with a chestnut base coat. You might, if you were very into metaphors, compare to the atmosphere of this bar: regular people turned golden by the mixture of sweet drinks, fried food, and another work week sinking like the red sun over the Bay.

Appeal Intern Ramona Emerson is devoted to ferreting out the best and worst cheap happy hours in town. And who’s better at finding cheap stuff than an intern? Know of a happy hour she should check out? Let her know.View image

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!