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Family Friendly Happy Hour

A family trip to Mystic may include the historic Mystic Seaport and interactive Aquarium. A boat tour or visits to quaint shops rounds out the smiles and sweet memories.  Now you’re downtown at the edge of the Mystic River watching boat traffic but don’t want this fabulous day to end. Ice cream and candy shops beckon but your parental responsibility kicks in and you wonder where to find real food your kids will eat.  The surprising answer is Happy Hour… with the whole family. Yes, really. Savvy adults have enjoyed food and drink bargains this way for years but there’s no reason why families with children can’t do the same thing. Mystic abounds with family-friendly options.

There are fabulous adult beverage specials and full menu options at each of these restaurants but let’s focus on feeding the kids first.  Once they’re happy, you will be too. Here are selections from happy hour menus where you can catch a light dinner or shared “gappetizer”. Rest your tired feet and re-charge everyone’s batteries with a late afternoon meal that’s easy on the budget.  None of these items are from “kid menus” (but some restaurants offer them too) so order enough for everyone without restrictions or reservations. All menu items are subject to change.

Scotch egg $4 during happy hour at Friar Tuck’s

Friar Tuck’s Tavern serves $5 kid cheeseburgers and $3.50 Tuck wings (6) either plain or with barbeque or buffalo sauce. Hand-cut fries are divine. All are served in a funky sports-vibe stone & wood dungeon. Look for the cool cartoon sign identifying the hobbit door entrance. Mon.-Fri. 3-6 p.m. 15 Water St.

BONUS: 2 hours of free docking for small boats is nearby at 37 Water St.

Mystic Pizza’s $5 appetizers include mozzarella sticks, chili cheese fries, homemade onion rings and potato skins.  Mac & cheese and grilled cheese with fries are perennial favorites with kids and adults for $6.75 . Booths and tables are comfortable and casual. Multiple TVs show clips from the movie Mystic Pizza and logo tees are available. Be sure to take a photo in front of the entry sign that inspired the movie. Mon-Thur. 3-6 p.m.   56 W. Main St.

The Mariner’s “Prime Time” seating for children is limited to a few booths near the front door and is the atmosphere is a bit dark but ½ price appetizers and their epic $5 mac & cheese is worth a stop. The $5 garlic bread tower is great for sharing  because who wants to be the only one with garlic breath? Tuna tartare and Mariner Calamari make this a great stop for seafood lovers. 3-6 p.m. every day except holidays. 21 W. Main St.

Chapter One on West Main Street

Chapter One exudes contemporary elegance but their $5 soup of the day and $5 Backyard Burger are satisfying without being overly fussy. The $6 chicken quesadilla or cheese fries are so good you’ll be glad you dropped in but be sure to try the $7 bacon mac & cheese for melty bliss.  5-7 p.m. every day. 32 W. Main St.

The hip Engine Room on the edge of town has $5 “old-fashioned” cheeseburgers & hot dogs. Juicy rotisserie chicken is half price and the grilled cheese is a perennial favorite.   High chairs are available. 4-6 p.m. every day. 14 Holmes St.

Balcony seating with a view at Harbour House

Harbour House atop the hill at the intersection of Rts. 1 and 27 provides $1 wood-fired wings, $7 wood-fired flatbreads, $6 sliders (3 minis) or nachos, and $2.50 fish tacos with a fabulous 180 degree view overlooking Mystic. Mon-Fri 3-6 p.m.  Sat & Sun 2-6 p.m. 3 Williams Ave.

BONUS: Free coloring page & puzzle for kids.  

Wherever you eat, I hope you’ll share your positive experiences on social media and return soon. Fun lives here year ‘round.  If you’d like to keep up on things to do, food & drink and events in Mystic please sign up.

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Mystic Happy Hour Listings

Delish British Fare: Friar Tuck’s Tavern

Chapter One: Elegant Indulgence

Elizabeth Saede is a local author of Lobster Summer. She is also the author of’s “On the Water” column. Elizabeth can be reached by email at Sunshine06378[at]

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for such an informative and entertaining list of where to eat at happy hour! This is perfect for folks who enjoy eating out a lot but don’t want to wrack up huge restaurant bills.

    1. Thank you, Lisa. As a frugal lady, myself, I appreciate when others share great ways to eat out on a budget so I can enjoy Mystic even more by myself, with family, or with friends.

  2. I’ve been to every one of those places, some with Elizabeth. She is right, they all have great food at good prices, each with a different ambiance and all the charm of the area. If you’re a visitor, consider a ‘a food tour’! And if you’re not, let’s head out for happy hour.

    Another of my favorites is Bleu Squid in Olde Mystic Village. They have mac & cheese to die for and healthy kale smoothies. Thanks for reminding us of what we have right here at home, Elizabeth.

    1. Kate,
      I’ve been meaning to set up a food stroll with friends and then write about it. Let’s start making plans. The Blue Squid’s mac & cheese and their adult grilled cheese are both legendary. Mmmm, now I’m hungry ! 🙂

  3. Yum – you’ve made me hungry. I can’t wait to get to downtown Mystic and try a little bit of everything. Thanks for the great information and the scrumptious summary of what’s available. Keep writing!

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