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Upstairs before the happy hour crowd descends.

Image: Julie Soefer

When Hungry’s unveiled its plans to renovate and create Upstairs, its second-floor bar and lounge, the details were shrouded in some sort of mystic elegance. Half a year after its New Year’s Eve opening, Upstairs has finally spread its wings to its full capacity. Starting in May, the 40-year-old neighborhood institution is offering a new cocktail menu as well as weekly specials featuring both drinks and bar bites.

For the uninitiated, the lounge consists of an indoor area and a (covered) outdoor terrace, plus a private room dubbed “the Treehouse.” Tucked away in a corner of Rice Village overlooking a row of lush oak trees, Upstairs offers the feeling of a vacation spot at an accessible location.

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Just some of the new cocktails.

Image: Julie Soefer

The happy hour menu, available from 4-7 p.m. on weekdays, is packed with equal parts classic drinks and delightful innovations. Indulge yourselves with a wide selection ranging from a snazzy Frozé to a solid Old Fashioned, from a simple Bellini to a refreshing margarita blended with Cimarron tequila, beet, lemon and ginger called “Just Beet It.” Supplement that with appetizers like the Spinach Artichoke Dip. The beef kebab was smoky and flavorful if a little dry, but complete with an extra boost from the juicy bell pepper. We’ve also heard good things about the tacos.

Start the week off strong with Monday’s $7 mules and martinis made with Ketel One vodka. Steak Night Tuesdays are steak nights feature 12-oz. certified Angus rib-eye and hand-cut fries for just $16. Looking to UnWINEd on Wednesday? Call your friends and share a free pizza with the purchase of any bottle of wine. On Don't Mess with Texas Thursdays, pay tribute to the Lone Star State by toasting $4 draft beers and $7 cocktails with Texas-made liquor.

Celebrate the end of the week at Fresh Mix Saturday. For $10, you get to choose from a select list of top shelf liquor (think gin, vodka or tequila) to mix with fresh-squeezed juices. Come for the drink specials, stay for the live music, details for which can be found on their Facebook page.

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Hungry's Café & Bistro

$$ American/New American, Global Multiple Locations

An neighborhood institution, Hungry’s is where Rice Village and Memorial families have come for decades to enjoy Mediterranean-inspired favorites like gyros,...