Going to happy hours doesn’t mean you have to clog up your arteries with thirty 20 cent wings or get as drunk as a skunk on ten glasses of $4 wine. No, there are a few places that actually offer nutritious and tasty food at happy hour. Yes, think vegan pizza, avocado and beet fries and fried corn fritters. Dairy free, gluten-free and meatless items that makes me happy indeed.
Flight of 3 fo $6 – Double chocolate & salted caramel, pumpkin pecan & dark chocolate mint, $10 fennel sausage & $2 Kombucha $6 wine
Say Cheese Please, that is – almond and cashew cheese that tastes so much like the real thing that those of us with dairy allergies have literally been jumping up and down for joy when Virtuous Pie opened its doors as it’s the only restaurant dedicated only to it offering vegan pizza pies with cashew cheese. And there’s also kaboucha on tap and cashew cream ice cream. During happy hour (Monday-Friday: 2:30/5:30pm and Friday/Saturday: 10-11pm) select pizzas are only $10, kombucha $2, wine $6, beer $4 and a flight of 3 ice cream $6.
Juniper isn’t a vegan restaurant but when I saw the new Happy Hour menu (daily 4:30-6:30pm) I knew it would qualify for healthy eats as I had Puréed S-squash and Pumpkin Seeds on Toast (minus the ricotta) $8, Kale Salad for $10 which tasted like a Caesar except it used kale instead of romaine. Although this wasn’t exactly healthy I couldn’t resist ordering the Bison, Elk and Wild Boar meatballs $12 which were absolutely delicious. There’s also a great list of non-alcoholic drinks if you don’t want to drink such as Strawberry Fresca, Basil, Lime & soda. Although the price of food at this happy hour is priced a little higher than most, the portions are enough for two and you are definitely paying for quality as Josh Gale was a contestant on Top Chef Canada and it shows. Happy hour is daily 4:30-6:30pm with $7 wine, $5 beer and $5 to $12 food.
The Blind Sparrow is one of those places that isn’t under the radar of anyone I know as it seems to be a local neighbourhood haunt that serves craft beer and food that surpasses the quality found at most pubs. When I came across their happy hour menu I knew I had to add it to my healthy happy hours.
So I ordered the Beet and Avocado Fries with sweet teriyaki sauce (minus the goat cheese) $10 and $3 Featured Taco which was smoked salmon with pickled onion & fresh greens. The fries were just light tempura battered avocado and beets which weren’t greasy and tasty while the taco has a good variety of greens in it that wasn’t just iceberg lettuce and again wasn’t greasy. I could have had three of these. I didn’t have a drink but had a Virgin Caesar which was only $4.50. There’s also complimentary popcorn which is always a smart tactic to make patrons thirsty. Other items that weren’t in the happy hour menu but which were healthy and at the same price range were Coconut Gai Lan $6 and Roasted Vegetables $7, proving that grease doesn’t have to be the number one ingredient in food served at “pubs”. Happy hour is is Monday-Friday 3-6pm with: $5 pints, $6 wine $7 cocktails, $3. – $10 food.
Formerly Cannibal Cafe, the owners of Masaladobo chose to turn this into a Mexican-Indian fusion restaurant which as weird as the combo sound, actually works and guess what, it’s dairy free and gluten-free. There’s basically two happy hours – 3-6pm where Margaritas on tap are $5, and from 2pm to closing Mondays to Friday, their Cantina menu is 2-4-1. So the smart thing to do is to come in between 3-6pm to have both drink and food specials. As for the food well it’s a happy marriage of Mexican and Indian producing flavourful items such as Ginger Duck Kebabs ($7-$14.50) which had a fragrant ginger worthy spice. The Blackened Tuna Tikka Taki ($8-$15) was slightly seared and if you’re a sushi fan you’ll want to order one for yourself. My friend ordered the Wild Salmon Pakoras ($7.50-$14) which I wasn’t crazy about as I find that when salmon is deep fried it’s always too well done for my taste.
Other Vegan Happy Hours
The Naam, which is probably Vancouver’s first vegan restaurant which offers happy hour specials such as $5 wine, $3 draft beer, $3 tacos or a Ice Cream Cookie Naawich for $6. Happy hour is offered Monday-Friday 3-6pm, excluding holidays
Showcase Restaurant surprisingly has two vegetable items on their happy hour menu: Szechewan Green Beans with andouille sausage ($7) and Miso Cauliflower ($6)
Meet on Main and Meet on Gastown only offers $4 sleeves of Phillips Lager, $5 Groovy Fries or Corn Fritters during their happy hours offered 3-5pm and 10pm to close, but there’s lots of vegan items on their menu such as Cronut $7.25, Organic Steamed Kale $4.75 and Sweet Chili Cauliflower $9.75.