I recently embarked on a quest for the best happy hours in Sacramento. I love food and I love a bargain and I’m too lazy to cook (more accurately, I’m too lazy to clean up afterwards). So it makes perfect sense that I find an assortment of inexpensive, tasty dinner alternatives. Many happy hours exist that ply you with cheap alcohol, but I’m looking for happiness through easy eating.
Mix Downtown is a “small plates” lounge style restaurant, rather than simply a bar, although it could double as a sports bar with several big screen TV’s. But the eclectic and mismatched comfortable seating, cozy alcoves, and outdoor deck with multiple fire pits, are geared more towards conversation. The food tends to come in a pleasantly haphazard sequence, as soon as each plate is prepared, rather than all at once, which encourages sharing of assorted items. There are approximately a dozen choices ranging in price from $6 – $12 and each probably represents about half of a decent sized meal.
However, from 4pm-7pm Monday-Friday, every item on the menu is half price. The drinks specials vary evening by evening, but the food is always discounted. At half price, the menu is noteworthy. Korean BBQ beef skewers (generously proportioned) are $5, as are Kobe sliders (3), roasted vegetable and goat cheese flatbread is $4.50, a comfort food style individual crock of mac’n’cheese is $4, and sweet potato fries are $3.
Better still, on Tuesdays only, Mix serves $2 chicken tacos, featuring a crunchy shredded cabbage blend rather than limp lettuce. These are small but, despite being the day’s special, are still made to order so one can opt for or against components such as guacamole and jalapenos. For late arrivals, although the half price specials end at 7pm, the $2 tacos are served until 10pm. It’s easy to eat well for approximately $10 each and without being limited to one selection.
Adding to the appeal of Tuesdays, starting at about 6pm(ish), Mix has live music from singer-songwriter Dave Zaragoza – one of those talented people who can produce a rich and appealing sound armed only with a guitar and a microphone. It’s mellow music and only adds to the relaxed ambience. This isn’t a place where you need to shout at each other to compare notes on the day.
In assorted side notes, Mix is unusual for many bar-like environments in that they are capable of producing a decent cup of coffee in a large mug. They also have a stylish bathroom that’s worth a visit, even if just to be impressed while waiting for the first small plate to arrive. The only potential downside was noticed by my friend, who commented that he wouldn’t want to get drunk at Mix as the long entrance staircase is solid concrete and doesn’t look very forgiving towards stumbling patrons.
That staircase takes you upstairs in the Firestone building, on the North-West corner of 16th and L Streets. It’s a location that’s a little difficult to spot at first glance as there doesn’t appear to be enough room between DeVere’s Drish Pub and the corner California Pizza Kitchen for an additional venue. But Mix is located above DeVere’s, and isn’t at all confining once inside. I recommend that you check it out if you haven’t already – but I also recommend that you do so on a Tuesday.
Tip: A good resource for comparing daily happy hours and specials can be found online at sacmix.com.
1525 L St at 16th St
Tues 4pm-12am (food served until 10pm)
Wed- Fri 4pm-2am (food served until 10pm)
Sat 6pm-2am (food served until 11pm)
Sun 6pm-2am (food served until 12am)