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Penny pinching provisions 

Some of us are starting to feel the panic of the holiday season — especially when it comes to the balance of our bank accounts. A few of the things I am especially thankful for around the holidays include my Amazon Prime subscription (free two-day shipping is a necessity for all procrastinators out there) and the fact that there are plenty of places in the area to score happy hour cheap eats. Go forth. Eat, drink, be merry, and save your money.

2Vine (24 Winthrop Street) has recently undergone some major renovations, both to the space and to the menu. I'm a new disciple of the almighty oyster — I found the nerve to try them only a few years ago — and now I look for $1 oyster nights with fervor. Monday through Friday, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., 2Vine not only has $1 oysters, but $7 oyster shooters (basically a shot of Bloody Mary mix and vodka with an oyster at the bottom). The happy hour menu also includes mini fish tacos ($6), beef sliders ($6), and baked oysters ($5).

Ox and Stone's (282 Alexander Street) happy hour runs Tuesday through Friday, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Not only can you choose from an assortment of $3 tapas, glasses of sangria are $7, margaritas are $5, and all specialty cocktails are $1 off. Some selections from Ox and Stone's tapas menu include flour tortilla chips with fresh guacamole, fire roasted peppers, and chiles rellenos. Who knows, after a few of those $5 margaritas you might order the fried crickets.

The happy hour at Avvino (2541 Monroe Avenue) runs Tuesday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and includes $5 sushi rolls. All are chef's choice and change weekly, but the menu always includes at least one vegetarian option. Happy hour also include $5 glasses of their house punch and $3 sake, beer, and wine specials.

If you're looking for a happy hour that extends beyond Monday through Friday, West Edge Restaurant and Lounge (284 Exchange Boulevard) has deals on Saturday as well. From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., all drinks are $1 off and all social plates and flatbreads are half price. Crab cakes, made with jumbo lump crab, roasted red pepper pesto, and lemon aioli, will only set you back $7. The chicken confit, caprese, or chef's featured flatbreads are $5.50 to $6.50, and vegetarian cheap eats include risotto fritters ($3.50) and tempura fried spring vegetables ($3.50).

Other notable happy hour specials include $12 Mussels and Beer Mondays at Amore (1750 East Avenue) from 4 p.m. to close. Salena's (302 North Goodman Street, Village Gate) happy hour is Tuesday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and features $2.50 Dos Equis drafts, $1 off other drafts, and $1 off margaritas. Select appetizers are also on special including the Dos Equis Braised Chicken Wings ($3.50) and Queso Fundido ($2.75).

Quick bites

Joe Bean Coffee Roasters (1344 University Avenue) will host a Black Friday Beer and Coffee Extravaganza on Friday, November 25, from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. A variety of coffee beer will be on draft in addition to Bunny Bombs (Stillwater Big Bunny beer and an espresso shot) and the Breakfast Beer (draft beer and Kyoto Cold Brew).

Black Button Distilling (85 Railroad Street) will release a port finished, barrel strength, single barrel, straight bourbon the weekend of November 18. The company has only made 312 bottles of the stuff and half are already sold. Tastings will be available at Black Button Distilling for $8, which will be applied toward your purchase if you decide to buy a bottle.

If you're looking to get a head start on your holiday shopping this year, a subscription to the Empire Crate could be a good idea for your New York State-loving friends and family. The monthly box subscription service was created by Brianne and Brandon Dingeman, and the couple aim to scour the Empire State for the best food finds and deliver them to subscribers. Subscriptions start at $39.95 a month. More information can be found at

Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to

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