Happy hours in SD and SF + Writing a CAE Review

There is a reason they put the word “happy” in “happy hour”: grabbing a drink (for a discounted price) while the sun is still out is a great thing! Have you checked out some of the best happy hours in San Diego and San Francisco?

The key to a good happy hour is, of course, price. But there are other factors that contribute to the experience: is the food discounted? How long is the happy hour? And most importantly: is it too crowded to get a drink at all?

Here are some of our suggestions for great happy hours in SD and SF. Cheers!

Best Happy Hours in San Diego

Glass Door

The Glass Door – Little Italy 

Premium cocktails, delicious fried calamari, and the most incredible “duck fries” are just some of the perks of the Glass Door, but the real draw to this locale is the view. The restaurant is situated above the Porto Vista hotel and provides a stunning look at Little Italy, the San Diego Bay, and Downtown. It’s the perfect place to watch the sun set (while sipping on a sunset cocktail, of course)!

The Princess Pub – Little Italy 

This down-to-earth pub in the heart of Little Italy has (surprise!) the most delicious Mexican food. Try their fish tacos and you will not be disappointed! Beers are discounted during the afternoon, and the patio is a great place to sit and “people watch.”

Johnny V Cover Photo

Johnny V – Pacific Beach 

Two dollar drinks and an appetizer with each beverage? There is a reason Johnny V calls itself “The King of Happy Hour.” Many Pacific Beach and Mission Beach locals take advantage of this Friday evening deal and make Johnny V the starting point for their Friday nights.

Las Hadas – Gaslamp

San Diego cuisine has a strong influence from Mexico: everyone loves a Corona, a Margarita, and some chips and salsa during happy hour, even in sports bars! Las Hadas serves top-shelf drinks for $5 and a delicious side of chips and guacamole for just $6. It’s a tasty way to spend your afternoon.

Best Happy Hours in San Francisco

Bar Agricole

Bar Agricole – SOMA

House-made sausages and fresh oysters for just $2.50? Bar Agricole is a great place to unwind. We love its beautiful mixture of modern and industrial decor, and so do SOMA residents.


Beso Bistronomia – Castro 

Are you in the mood for something Spanish? Beso Bistronomia serves up patatas bravas, pan con tomate, and delicious tapas for just $5-6. Take your Spanish classmate and have them tell you how the food rates!

E and O

E & O Kitchen and Bar – Union Square

San Francisco is known for being an eclectic mix of cultures, and E & O’s menu proves just that: guests can enjoy anything from Indonesian fritters to fresh oysters during happy hour. Fusion food is all the rage in San Francisco!

All of this talk about restaurants and reviews reminds us of the CAE Writing Task 2, where you could be asked to write a Review. The following includes some tips for writing the best review that you can.

Writing a CAE Review

Remember the following while writing a CAE Review:

Your audience. Who are they? Make sure that your tone is appropriate.

Plan. Always, ALWAYS outline your paper before writing. This is a vital part of the writing process and will ensure that you have a well-developed paper. In the end, it will actually save you time to spend these few minutes preparing.

Remember to be engaging. The CAE Review is typically written for a magazine, so the readers want to be entertained. Don’t make your writing too dry: have fun with it!

Use colorful collocations. This will help keep the language (and the review) interesting.

Answer all parts of the prompt. You will be asked to do several things: make sure that you do them all!

Check and revise. Leave a few minutes to edit your paper, making sure that you don’t make any careless errors (like subject-verb agreement mistakes).

Read reviews. The best way to prepare is to read lots of reviews! Check out the reviews for the restaurants you like and the movies and books you love. This will provide you with useful vocabulary and acclimate you to the appropriate writing style.

Good luck on your CAE exam!

For more information on the CAE Exam and our intensive preparatory classes, visit www.cisl.edu.

All photos from the restaurants’ respective Facebook pages. Cover photo from E & O.