As much as I love being on the move—road tripping, planning the next vacation, running to the bike trail after work to catch the last light of the day—sometimes all I want is an inexpensive but delicious glass of wine to end my day. Sacramento is becoming one of the more hip towns in California, if not in the entire nation. With that being said, I expect some of the best happy hours to be dabbled throughout the city. After searching and searching for “the best wine happy hour in Sacramento,” I came up with next to nothing. There are endless articles that talk about “the best happy hours,” but those span over 30 miles in distance and cover a large variety of drinks and eats. So, what’s a girl to do? This article differs a bit from my usual outdoor escapades, but as the final warm weather wave is upon us, I think it is necessary to enjoy those after-work patios with a large glass of red in a happy hand.
Commence thesis-level wine happy hour investigation. I made a list of all the wine bars, dive bars, fancy bars and restaurants in Sacramento proper that claimed to have a wine list on their happy hour menu. This process involved calling, networking, Google searching and diving deep into Yelp reviews. Obsessive is a term too light for the research I was gathering. If becoming a self-proclaimed wine connoisseur is on your list of things to do, just attempt to create your own “best wine happy hour” list and you will not only gain a perfected palate, but as it turns out, you will also get loads of free wine in the process. This list is based off about 20 happy hours that I took part in—and I’ll tell you right now, I had more than a glass of wine at each of these venues. I’m awarding myself an expert happy-hour-goer for this achievement. Enough rambling, let’s get to the best wine happy hours in Sacramento (with nice patios, because this girl likes to be outside).
The Grand | 1600 L St.
Makes me happiest: Monday–Friday, 5–7 p.m., $5 glass rotating
You know it, but most likely have never actually experienced this Sacramento gem. Not only is this one of the smallest wine bars in the entire United States, it is one of the oldest buildings on the block. The charm this place emanates makes my heart soar. Located on the corner of 16th and L streets, the patio is inconspicuous for its popular location, and a perfect place for people watching or chatting with the cute and friendly bartender. With many Mediterranean wines to choose from, The Grand is my favorite happy hour spot for wine in Sacramento.
58 Degrees & Holding | 1217 18th St.
Makes me happiest: Monday–Friday, 3–7 p.m., $5 glass of red, white or sparkling
This one stole my heart with the experience. Immediately when walking in, the sommelier introduced herself, sat down and was more than willing to chat with us and share endless information on their selection of wines and bites of food. I started with a glass of red, followed with a glass of white and was convinced to finish with a glass of sparkling. Show up on Thursday with a date and get down on dinner for two and a bottle of wine for $40. Needless to say, I have been back.
Lucca Restaurant & Bar | 1615 J St.
Makes me happiest: Monday–Friday, 3–6 p.m. (Thursday all night!) $5 glass
When I am in happy hour mode, I am also in frugal mode. Taking one look at Lucca, I knew I would be spending a pretty penny. To my surprise, a glass of red followed the $5 trend of my favorite places and the quiet atmosphere calmed my work-induced, stressed mind.
Revolution Wines | 2831 S St.
Makes me happiest: Tuesday–Friday, 3–6 p.m., $5 rosé and white, $6 red
Hipsters and young folk, Temple coffee next door, Natural Foods Co-op across the street. You get the idea. This laid-back venue is great for an after-work pick-me-up or cooldown. You can buy jugs of wine or bring back your jug for a refill. Wooden and well-lit with large windows, this one is high in my book.
The Rind | 1801 L St., Suite 40
Makes me happiest: Er’ day, 3–6 p.m., $2 off
Three words: wine and cheese.
Sit on the patio and plan your next vacation with a glass of red, white, rosé or sparkling, and until next time, adventure on.