My love of Happy Hours extends back to my university days (sometime in the 1900s) when the Wentworth Bar at Sydney University offered $1 cocktails. They were brown and sticky and frankly lethal, but a great deal. From what I remember.
In a city where a good meal can cost upwards of QR500 for two, Happy Hours are the way to have a great night out and still have some change for the car ride home. I must applaud some of the big ticket hotels in this city for embracing this idea – based on the theory that customers will come back for more.
W Doha is the original and the best when it comes to Happy Hour. Their Sip n Savor in Spice Market is legendary – reduced priced cocktails and drinks with a free snack off their menu. It runs Sunday to Thursday 530pm to 730pm and the crowds waiting for it to open are legendary yet patient. I have also been known to eat all of the spicy shrimp. The bar area can get lively but it’s always a great vibe with cheerful service. Plus you get free popcorn and other crispy snacks. Free popcorn!
Their Italian restaurant, La Spiga has a similar offer from 5pm to 7pm Sunday to Thursday. A smaller bar area means it can be cosy, but the drinks (including Negronis and Italian wines) and the never-ending plates of crispy garlic flatbread make up for the close proximity. Check out the crispy calamari and zucchini on the bar menu – a great foil to the drinks.
In their signature restaurant, Market, a new concept has been introduced – Gin O’Clock. They had me at gin. Really. Saturday to Thursday between 5pm and 7pm for just QR120 you can act all sophisticated with a variety of gin cocktails soaked up by some fabulous canapes. I tried this out last week and I can say, you won’t stop at just one, so book the taxi. The atmosphere in Market is buzzy and the cocktails creative (one of mine had rosemary).
The Big Daddy of Happy Hours in Doha at the moment is Nobu Doha. Frankly it’s astounding value – a world class restaurant, interesting drinks, well priced snacks and that view.
Between 6pm and 8pm every night their Kanpai Happy Hour has become the place to be. People swarm the two bars and outdoor terrace for prices from QR35 glasses of wine and cocktails, QR30 for beers, QR45 for sake QR35 for spirits. Then there are the QR30 snacks on the extensive menu. Standouts are the tiny salmon tacos, wagyu beef dumplings and the black miso cod. All are versions of items from the Nobu menu.So you get a taste of Nobu at Happy Hour prices.
Be warned, get there on the dot of 6pm for a seat and Mondays is ladies night – with happy hour prices for ladies all night. Also, if you plan to drive on busy nights (Mondays and Thursdays) ditch the car and get a club car from the entrance of the hotel, the line for drop-off can be long. In all, in spite of the growing crowds, a very good night – delicious food, cool vibes and friendly service.
Back on the mainland, Elements at Four Seasons Doha is fast becoming a go-to venue. Their relaxed bar area with braces-wearing mixologists and comfy couches is winning fans, as is their creative cocktail menu. Their Four by Four Happy Hour menu has cocktails inspired by the elements – earth, fire, water and air and runs from 4pm to 7pm Sunday to Thursday. Wednesday is Ladies Night from 4pm and they even have a Saturday Happy Hour from 4pm. My favorite part (apart from the White Lady gin cocktail, is the Tapas Trolley offering well priced snacks from the menu.
An erstwhile favorite is the Belgian Cafe Doha which has one of the earliest Happy Hours in town – Sunday to Wednesday from 4pm to 6pm and Thursdays from 2pm. It can get smoky and blokey but always a fun place.
It’s not all about the West Bay crowd, back towards the Airport are a couple of great value nights out. Misturado at the Crowne Plaza Doha is a well kept secret I am loathe to expose. Happy Hour is 5pm to 7pm with discounts on drinks and a good selection of bar snacks.
Meanwhile over Sharq Village and Spa the always lovely terrace at the Al Dana restaurant hosts one of the city’s newest Happy Hours. C Lounge Hour runs very Monday to Wednesday from 8pm with one for one drinks and a selection of snacks on offer. My new favorite is Aperitivo Wednesdays which is Italian-style cocktails and bites from 5pm to 8pm. This is truly one of the most underrated venues in Doha.
This is by no means an exhaustive list – just the places and deals I go back to again and again (and again….). I will update this post as new ones emerge.
What is your favorite Happy Hour?
*I was a guest of W Doha for their Gin O’Clock launch but opinions are my own and you know, I really, really love gin. And snacks. I also love snacks.