Frugal Finds: Your guide to enjoying the after-happy hour in downtown Iowa City

Photo by Jared Krauss
Photo by Jared Krauss

In my years at the University of Iowa as an under-paid student employee, I developed a keen eye for the frugal finds of Iowa City’s downtown. As a young professional crawling out from under the pile of construction debris that I now realize is my student loan debt, I need even more drinks in a week, or so I tell myself.

Whether you’re a line cook or server looking to liquify your feelings post-shift, or you want a reason to go out after a late night at the office — whatever the reason you miss the usual happy hours — here are some of my favorite midweek frugal finds for the evenings. I hope you’ll share some of your favorite frugal finds with us, whenever and wherever they are.

Short’s Burgers: $6.99 burger (black bean, too!); Deadwood: $3.75 craft & import pints. Forbidden Planet: Half-priced wine

I call ahead to Short’s for takeout, and eat my burger on the back steps of the Old Capitol, before trying to snag a seat at the Deadwood’s patio — and if it’s full, I hop on over to Forbidden Planet for half-priced wine on their patio with my book.

El Bandito’s: Taco Tuesday; Donnelly’s Pub: $4 seasonal cocktails or Moscow Mules; Mami’s: Taco Tuesday

Bandito’s kicks off their deals early, every day at 4 p.m. If you can manage, start there. Then, I might end up at Donnelly’s Pub. And whether or not you’re sauced, if you think you’re hungry again for tacos before you pass out, stop by Mami’s 8-10 p.m. for up to four $1 tacos.

Wednesday: The last ten minutes of Basta or Mosley’s happy hour; FilmScene’s Late Shift at the Grindhouse

The idea was to provide options for when you miss happy hour, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that, perhaps a bit too often, I am able to catch the last ten minutes. At Basta, when the sun is strong, you feel good drinking a Combover (whiskey, vanilla, rhubarb, etc.) under the shade of an umbrella on their patio. Head to Mosley’s and — at a picnic table with rising brick walls to your immediate south and west, and the sounds of cars on Gilbert Street to the east, and your buy-one-get-one-for-a-penny drinks sweating rings into the wood — well, you might wonder if you’re still in Iowa City.

Goodness, that’s not even into the evening, when I often see many friends walking with great intention towards Film Scene’s Late Shift at the Grindhouse at 10:30 p.m. There you have $5 entry, $2 popcorns, and $3 PBR tallboys.

Thursday: Forbidden Planet: $3 U-Call-It

I often work late on Thursdays, so I am glad to relax alone with a book on Forbidden Planet’s patio, drinking my $3 Cuke Nuke-em, because everything is $3.

I am a creature of habit; these are some of the places I go. Share your favorite frugal finds, your favorite days, or your whole schedule with us. Use #frugalfindsic and tag Little Village on Twitter: @LittleVillage or Instagram: @LittleVillageMag

Jared Krauss lives in Iowa City, Iowa. You can find him on Instagram: @jared_krauss. This article was originally published in Little Village issue 202.