1044 N. High St., Short North
Bodega's great happy hour has to be the worst-kept secret in town. Because, as Bodega's many fans know, this nifty and artsy bar/restaurant in the nifty and artsy Short North is frequently elbow-to-elbow, cheek-to-cheek and lager-to-ale-crowded during its gloriously extended happy hours.
See, like that infamous Spinal Tap amplifier, Bodega goes one better by serving its discounted drinks from 4 until 8. As for the libations Bodega's fashionable patrons are gunning down, there's always $3 glasses of red and white wines, $2 well cocktails and ... drumroll please ... 50! 50! yes, I said 50! great beers on tap going for half-price.
So remember that when you enter Bodega and see it's completely teeming with bright young tipplers. Just give your name to the friendly hostess for a later-opening table and wriggle your way up to the hoppin' bar. Bodega's bartenders are surprisingly efficient at filling multitudinous drink orders and you can use the waiting time to take in the place's snazzy vibe.
Stare down at the menu with its interesting soups, paninis and such, and look up at the rowdy sports projected directly on to a brick wall. Check out the Jenga-like decorative wooden slats placed all around and gaze at the blurry little sepia-toned mural of vintage-hatted faces in a crowd overlapped by vibrant wave forms. In this trendy haunt situated in a near century-old building, it all makes perfect sense.
Runners up: Marshall's, Dub Pub