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It must be 5 o’clock somewhere! How often have I heard that rallying cry? Cocktail hour is the perfect transition from work to play. The cocktails help you unwind, while a few nibbles here or there tide you over until a later dinner. That’s how it started, anyway. Now, cocktail hours are so bountiful that they constitute a meal on their own.

db Bistro Moderne
255 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami

The market-driven French-American bar menu at db Bistro showcases pintxos, the Basque word for a type of tapas, traditionally served on a skewer. The selections at db Bistro are priced $3 each. Some, such as the dates stuffed with an almond and then wrapped in bacon and crispy cod croquets on a pool of romesco sauce, are bargains. Others, such as spicy shrimp, Spanish tortillas, grilled octopus, and crispy pork belly, are over-priced, though all were delicious. The Spanish tortilla, similar to a frittata, was creamy rich and the plump sardine on a crostini were adequate portions for the price point.

A variety of fresh seafood ranges from oysters ($3.50 each) and a rather lackluster shrimp cocktail, to a grand platter featuring oysters, clams, shrimp, mussels, crab and smoked salmon. If seafood’s not your thing, try what is billed as “tarte flambée,” which isn’t so much a tart as a flatbread. Other options are; lamb pita sliders, saucisson and a burger.

For those with a sweet tooth, the dessert menu is extensive. The coconut rice pudding has a lot going on for one plate. In addition to the light coconut pudding, it is served with two quenelles of mango-banana sorbet, caramelized banana chips, granola and coconut foam. Somehow they all work together harmoniously. The crunchy chocolate bar is more straightforward with a strip of caramel and praline glaze layered upon a brownie with candied hazelnuts sprinkled on top. If you’d like something lighter, the warm basket of madeleines makes you understand Proust’s obsession with the cookie.

A visit to db Bistro for happy hour is the perfect way to kick off an evening if you’re heading to Arsht Center. Cocktail hour is from 5-8 p.m. on weekdays. If you’re in the mood for a bite after the show, the happy hour repeats Tuesday through Saturday, 11 p.m. until closing. For those seeking something closer to home, check out these options.

3330 E. Oakland Park, Fort Lauderdale

Thasos’ happy hour, daily from 5-7 p.m. and on Friday’s from 9 p.m. until closing, not only offers two for one cocktails, but they also dish up free appetizers.

2037 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors

Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m. enjoy $5 flatbreads and empanadas and $2.50 Session Lager, $2.50 Magic Hat draft beer and select wines for $5.

The Naked Grape
2163 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors

Happy hours are from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and are extended until midnight on Thursday. House wines and bubbly are only $5, while select small plates such as macaroni and cheese, and meatballs run $5-$8.The cheese plate is an exceptional deal.

3599 N. Federal, Fort Lauderdale

This kitschy tourist mecca also offers a number of happy hour specials that make it a fun place to stop off after work for a mini vacay. In the Molokai lounge from 5-7 p.m., it’s half-off all appetizers and most specialty drinks. The best bet though, is Wednesdays from 5 - 9 p.m., when there’s a free buffet with a drink purchase (minimum $10).

Beefcakes at Boardwalk
1721 N. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale

Okay, so most folks don’t go there for the food, but Monday through Friday, from 3-9 p.m., all drinks are two for one. They also do a “Meatballs and Martinis” special on Thursdays with $5 martinis and complimentary meatballs.

“The Taste of Equality”

On Thursday, October 6th, from 6-9 p.m. Equality Florida and The Village at Gulfstream Park are teaming up to host a mouthwatering evening, filled with raffle prizes, tasty treats and savory sips during “The Taste of Equality.” The culinary journey includes stops at restaurants, galleries, and shops at The Village at Gulfstream Park.

The event includes the opportunity to sample food and drink pairings at any or all of the participating shops and restaurants; III Forks, Adena Grill, Brio Tuscan Grille, Cantina Laredo, Frankey’s Sports Bar, IL Gusto Ristorante Italiano, Mijana Lebanese Cuisine, Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar, ROK:BRGR, Sirona Fine Art, Williams-Sonoma and Yard House. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

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