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How to Happy Hour

Tortoise Clubs breaks down the best "meal" of the day

Tortoise Club

Yes, technically happy hour isn’t a meal, but it’s still one of the best and most fun times to gather around a table, or on a patio, to spend time with friends. And as the longest day of the year approaches, we all have more daylight hours to while away drinking and reveling in the Chicago summer.

One newly added happy hour to check out this month, and all summer long, is at Tortoise Club {350 North State; 312.755.1700}. Stop by during the week between 4:30 and 6:30pm to enjoy $1 shrimp and oysters, live jazz, and cocktails on their sunken patio.

And if there are any happy hour newbies out there, Tortoise Club Mixologist Kal Huettl will help you make the most of it …

Tortoise Club

DiningOut: What elements make for a great happy hour?

Kat Huettl: One of the underrated elements of happy hour is the atmosphere. Our customers enjoy coming to Tortoise Club after a long day of work and interacting with other customers, which makes for a very enjoyable experience.

What are your top drinks for happy hour?

Happy hour is a great time to drink a “lighter” cocktail that includes a prosecco or gin base, such as a French 75.

There is another cocktail that’s called a Seelbach that includes French bourbon, curacao, and heavy bitters topped with Champagne. This is great to sip on with co-workers after work!

Tortoise Club

Why did you decide to introduce happy hour specials for the summer?

As most Chicagoans know, summertime in the city is the best time to sit outside on a patio and enjoy a refreshing cocktail. With the extra hours of daylight, this season is truly made for happy hour. At Tortoise Club, we offer light bites that pair well with our signature cocktails. I love interacting with the customers to try to find their perfect cocktail!

You offer $1 shrimp and oysters (wow!). What drinks pair well with those foods?

Drinks that pair best with shrimp and oysters include anything bright and acidic, such as light white wines, lemon-based cocktails, or a session IPA (bitter, low alcohol content).

Tortoise Club

What are some other appetizers or light bites you would recommend for happy hour diners?

We have several lighter options at Tortoise Club that we recommend to our happy hour patrons, particularly our Salmon Poke–Hawaiian style. The poke is a larger-cut tartare style that incorporates soy and sesame elements.

What other menu additions can we look forward to this summer?

For the upcoming summer months, we will be providing an array of classic cocktails, as well as lighter alcohol substitutes that will please every palate.

What are your favorite parts about the city during the summer?

One of my favorite parts about the city in the summer is the amount of fun and engaging activities in all of the different neighborhoods. From street festivals, concerts, to patios and rooftops, there really is something for everyone. I love the saying, “if it was summer in Chicago all year-long, no one would ever leave.”

By Kaleigh Glaza