Our Happy-est Hours


Bruce caricatureBruce the Blog
By Bruce Apar

When Bruce The Blog Listens, People Talk

For many a working stiff, come 5 p.m. Friday — as well as other days of the week — thoughts understandably turn to loosening up limbs and laments with a responsible dose of liquid refreshment.

(Remember, if you intend to drive afterwards, keep any alcohol in your bloodstream safely below 0.08%, the legal limit above which you will be charged with Driving Under the Influence, or DUI, for both your own protection and that of others on the road. When in doubt what your blood alcohol level may be, err on the side of caution and stick to being a passenger.)

As Pharrell Williams reminded us incessantly last year with his runaway, Grammy-winning, bank account-fattening hit, who among us doesn’t want to be “Happy”?

My wife Elyse and I recently have sampled several Happy Hours in the same precincts covered by the various Halston Media newspapers in which this column appears each week: Mahopac, Somers, Yorktown.

Since social sharing is in vogue, this here happy chappy suspected some readers may appreciate an occasional mention in this space of Happy Hours we have known and enjoyed.

These by no means are restaurant reviews. In fact, our Friday after-work routine has been to select a place that, ideally, offers special pricing not only on beverages but on appetizer-style or side dishes, also known as the “bar menu.” So, traditional full-course meals are not part of the equation. While not a hard and fast rule, the deeper the discount on pricing, the more tempting the destination. Quantitatively speaking, the “best” Happy Hours, price-wise, offer selected drinks at half-off, and reduced-cost bar dishes, provided you are imbibing and ingesting in the bar area, not in the main dining room.

But there’s more to Happy Hour-ing than dollars and cents. Ambience, of course, always is a major factor when dining out, as well as customer service. Nobody likes looking at a bartender with a puss on or who’s slinging attitude along with drinks. Price, ambience, service are the ingredients for mixing a Happy Hour experience worth smiling about.

The establishments listed here are a starting point. There is no shortage of other places we’ve found of comparable quality and value, and those will appear in future columns. Feel free to recommend your favorite haunt, whether you’re a patron or the owner, by emailing bapar@me.com. You also can see more photos at BruceTheBlog.com.

It’s best to call to confirm the Happy Hour selections and pricing as restaurants tend to update menus and policies every so often.


Monster Margarita at Excelencia Mexicana pairs a jumbo-size margarita with a mini-bottle of Corona, called Coronita. At $15.95, it’s not on the Happy Hour menu, but nonetheless the sweet-and-sour blend is more than enough to leave you happy.

Excelencia Mexicana
551 Route 6
Mahopac 10541
(845) 628-3767

Half-price margaritas, beer and wine are served 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday & Sunday.  We’ve enjoyed the sausage poppers, nachos and mini tacos, which also are reduce-priced. Although not part of Happy Hour menu, a specialty here is the Monster Margarita, which combines a Coronita (small Corona) upside down feeding into a margarita. The sweet-and-sour blend is my taste buds’ friend. The website could use some help. Part of it is unreadable due to poor graphic design, and there’s no info on Happy Hour.

Spoiler alert: Cinco de Mayo festivities are on the way!


Elyse Apar (l) and friend Susan McCarthy enjoy the Friday night Happy Hour at Gaudio’s, which runs till 7:30 p.m.

2026 Saw Mill River Road
Yorktown Heights 10598
(914) 245-0920

Owner-chef Vincent Gaudio comes from a family of restaurateurs and also operates the adjacent pizzeria, Three Boys from Italy, which specializes in brick oven pies. With $6 top-shelf martinis, $4 cocktails, $3 beer, $4 red and $3 white house wines, and $6 bar menu items, Gaudio’s Happy Hour itself is top shelf. On a recent visit, his margarita flatbread pizza, mussels in white wine, and baked Apple with cannoli cream, hot fudge sauce and nuts had us exclaiming, “Oh my Gaudio!”

Gaudio's menu sampler

A sampling of deliciousdishes at Gaudio’s includes cheese and olives; Margarita flatbread pizza; mussels in white wine sauce; and baked apple with cannoli cream, hot fudge sauce + nuts.

Muscoot Tavern

This location, strategically situated at the corner of main routes 35 and 100 in Katonah — and neighboring Somers and Yorktown — has been around for nearly a century in one form or another.

Muscoot Tavern
105 Somerstown Turnpike (NW corner of 100/35)
Katonah 10536
(914) 232-2800

The nearly century-old landmark offers a unique, comfy down-home feel whether you’re hanging at the classic bar or seated in the dining room. Under the ownership since 2012 of Eddie Lubic (of Eduardo’s in Mount Kisco) and Ann-Margaret Wagner, the “Scoot” lets you take advantage of BOGO bar items (Buy One, Get One Free) 9 p.m.-11 p.m Thursday-Saturday. From 4 p.m.-6 p.m. everyday, there’s $1 off cocktails and starters, and $2 off beer. Live music weekends.

Bruce Apar owns and operates APAR All-Media, a Hudson Valley agency for advertising, content, marketing and public relations. Follow both APAR All-Media and Hudson Valley WXYZ on Facebook. Reach him at bapar@me.com.

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