When the clock strikes 4:59 pm on a Friday afternoon after a long week of work, there's no better places to blow off steam, grab a cocktail and munch on bar bites than one of these local happy hours -- the perfect places to unwind, and come alive after 5 pm. But these watering holes aren't just your run-of-the-mill taverns. They all offer something special to help you ring in the weekend.
Zed451: If you can sneak out of the office a bit early, do it. Once you arrive at Zed451 at the ripe hour of 4:30 pm, you'll be on time for when its "secret" happy hour begins. But pay close attention to your watch because you've got a mere two hours to indulge. While there are no drinks specials, a range of sliders on the menu are half price. So order a maple cajun BLT slider and wash it down with a kiwi mojito, made with house infused kiwi 10 Cane, fresh kiwi, mint, lime and rosemary-mint infusion with a splash of soda. It will make your 9 am meeting with your boss seem like a distant memory.
739 N. Clark St.; 312-266-6691
Green Mill: Head up north on the Red Line to Uptown, and you'll see a happy hour unlike any other at the Green Mill. Catch the "Flip Side" show with Chris Foreman who plays a mean Hammond B-3 organ, and chats it up with regulars sipping martinis. This blind musician rips through songs showing off why he can pack crowds in, and sometimes even takes requests. No wonder why he, along with his band Deep Blue Organ Trio, got the coveted spot opening for Steely Dan during their North American tour a couple years back.
Fridays, 5-8pm; free
4802 N. Broadway Ave.; 773-878-5552
Bull & Bear: Tap into happy hour at the stock-market themed Bull & Bear the right way: with a table tap table. You can pay-as-you pour with these beer taps hooked up directly to your table, and choose one of the two options: domestic or import. Not only does it cut down on your wait time for a cold one after a long day, but it comes in handy after you order any of the "Short Order" items from the menu, like the little Philly with seared shaved ribeye, peppers, onions, with white or "Whiz" cheese since the kitchen can get backed up. Book a reservation in advance, or else it may be a losing proposition since Bull & Bear only has five of these sleek beer-me tables.
431 N. Wells St.; 312-527-5973