Enjoy great deals at Happy Hours in these top Adelaide bars

With marked down drinks, sunset views over the ocean or picnics on the grass, plus a variety of great value grub, the South Australian capital knows how to put the “happy” into Happy Hour.

A plate of prawns on a table overlooking the beach
  • Alexis Buxton-Collins
  • December 2019

Time it right and you can eat and drink like royalty. Here are the best places in Adelaide for beer, wine and cocktails, pub grub and comfort food – for a handful of loose change.

Best for seafood: SeaSalt

This upscale fish and chipper in Henley (think AUD $2 oysters, blue swimmer crab spring rolls and Ortiz anchovy soldiers with salted egg yolk) has a prime spot overlooking one of Adelaide’s favourite suburban beaches. Grab a seat under the striped umbrellas and watch the sun set over the ocean with a beer, wine, cider or gin for AUD $7 from 4-7pm every day. There are daily cocktail specials during the 4-7pm Sunset Sessions and the AUD $12 millennial pink SeaSalt spritz is always on the menu.

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Best for pizza and beer: UniBar

The pool table is still there but the venerable bar at the University of Adelaide’s North Terrace campus recently had a facelift and moved downstairs. Student prices mean the eight taps of craft beer are AUD $5 a pint from 4-6pm weeknights and a rotating tap stays at that price all the time. Hand-stretched 12-inch Neapolitan pizza from Vera Pizza Oztalia are AUD $10 on Wednesdays. Don’t miss out on alfresco drinks – just ask the bartenders for a picnic rug and take your tipples out to the grassy area beside the nearby cloisters.

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A barman pulling a pint
The University of Adelaide's bar offers student-friendly prices to everyone.

Best for Italian: Spaghetti Western

Expect a hip-hop soundtrack and exposed brick walls adorned with pictures of celluloid cowboys in this three-storey CBD Italian-American diner “where Clint Eastwood meets Jay-Z”. The laid-back saloon on the ground floor hosts a happy hour every weekday from 4-7pm with Peroni Red and (usually Italian) wines by the glass for AUD $5, plus complimentary peanuts in the shell. On “Tight Tuesdays” you can get spaghetti and meatballs for AUD $8 a serve; best to book in advance.

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A bar full of people
You'll love this bar's American-influenced interiors and Italian wines.

Best for cocktails: Ground Floor at Electra House Hotel

High ceilings and ornate plasterwork give the heritage-listed former telephone exchange an air of retro class and the central location makes it popular with the after-work crowd. Daily food and drink specials include AUD $15 for ramen with an Asahi on Tuesday. Friday’s happy hour includes select beers and wines for AUD $6 from 4-7pm and AUD $12 cocktails from 7-8pm. The pick of the cocktails here is the exquisite Pornstar Martini, which uses Grey Goose vodka infused with Tahitian vanilla beans and comes with a shot of Pol Roger.

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A pink cocktail garnished with a strawberry
You can sample Electra's electrifying cocktails too at happy hour prices.

Best for pub grub: Harry’s Bar

The Tattersalls building was the tallest in the CBD when it was erected in 1917 and a sense of that grandeur is preserved in the second-storey bar with polished wooden furnishings and floor-to-ceiling blue drapes. You might nab a seat on the chesterfields for select AUD $6 drinks on weeknights from 4-7pm but it’s standing room only for Thursday’s Super Happy Hour from 3-7pm when all drinks except top shelf spirits are AUD $5. Here, you can enjoy a glass of crisp sav blanc on one of Grenfell Street’s only balconies looking towards the Adelaide Hills.

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Best for a pint and a curry: Exeter Hotel

Everyone’s welcome at this old-school watering hole in the city’s East End where the original wooden bar fridges are still intact and the only things that have changed in decades are the band posters on the beer garden walls. The wine selection is good but stick to beer when happy hour brings pints down to schooner rates on Tuesday and Thursday from 9-10pm and Sunday from 7-9pm. A pint of Coopers Pale Ale, Australia’s original craft beer, at the mosaic tables out front is heaven. The kitchen provides upmarket grub: Wednesday is the ever-popular curry night.

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The exterior of a pub.
Enjoy a spot of people watching alongside a happy hour drink at this popular pub.

Best for gastropub dining: The Mile End Hotel

Just down the road from Thebarton Theatre in the inner west, this 176- year-old pub is the perfect spot for a pre-show drink (or a bed afterwards). Pints and house wines are AUD $7.50 from 5-6pm Monday and Thursday and all day Tuesday and Wednesday, with AUD $10 cocktails on Friday from 5-7pm and Sunday 2-6pm. You can build your own gin fizz from one of six local gins and a range of fruits and mixers.

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Sydney-dweller? Here are the city’s best happy hours.