Drunk After Work: Buffalo Wild Wings
The Place: Buffalo Wild Wings, multiple locations in Orange County, www.buffalowildwings.com.
The Hours: Monday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m.; daily, 10 p.m. to closing.
The Deal: $4 domestic beers, $5 house wine and wells, $6 bombs, food specials Monday through Thursday.
The Scene: A sports fanatic's safe haven, focused on hockey playoffs, baseball statistics and the ridiculousness of football lockouts. For those who can't reach Wingnuts and want more to look at than Wingstop, this is what man caves are modeled after, with jerseys lining the walls and countless screens airing games or spewing factoids. It's where a guy can be a guy and NOT have to impress the opposite sex. Maybe there's a loosened tie or two, but for the most part, Buffalo Wild Wings is as casual as it gets, what the rest of the country considers a typical happy hour.
The Sauce: The preferred beverage is good ol' beer: classic Budweiser, Miller, Coors and Michelob rule the roost. However, the powers that be stock a few international options from the likes of Dos Equis, Corona and Modelo. House wine is Sonoma staple Kendall Jackson, and for those with Office Space-like bosses, bombs of the Jäger and Cactus Cooler variety await to drown your whining.
The Food: Find a wet napkin because this basic happy hour is bound to dirty your texting thumbs. Wing specials vary, based on the day of the week; the best deal is Wing Tuesdays, when traditional (i.e., bone-in) wings are 55 cents. Any Wing Mondays are a free-for-all, giving you a choice of traditional or boneless for 60 cents. Boneless Thursdays go for 65 cents. Just to show it's family-friendly, there's even Kids Eat Free Wednesdays, with the purchase of a regular-priced entrée. Oh, sure, there are salads, flatbreads, and even ribs on the menu, but wings are the only special offered (did you not see the name as you walked in?). Sauce or seasoning options keep it somewhat interesting, with flavors such as salt-and-vinegar and mango-habanero.
The Verdict: Unpretentious, mildly gimmicky, but all-around decently played, Buffalo Wild Wings is a clean standby open late. Protein-starved college kids and whomever "Average Joe" refers to feel welcome. Everyone else? Hmm . . . high-fives for dual happy hours and posting featured sporting events at the entrance. Jeers for lack of post-workday sustenance besides okay chicken deals and NO Friday specials.
The Grade: C+