Where's the cocktail wieners? 

Best Happy-Hour Spread (Oakland County)
TIE: Big Buck Brewery and Tiki Bob's Cantina

My dear MT readers, did you misunderstand the term “happy hour spread”? Does it not imply generous portions of free food — stainless-steel tubs warming heaps of miniature egg rolls and saucy Swedish meatballs — that type of thing? Neither of our winners seems to qualify under this definition, although both host popular happy-hour events.

Perhaps you took “spread” to mean “a large, open area,” such as a cattle ranch. Or maybe you thought we meant “a wide and varied selection of single persons.” Both venues do occupy vast, cavernous spaces. Both bars also attract a sizable number of fairly good-looking, seemingly single men (in Big Buck’s case, the man-woman ratio is extremely high). But there are no buffet lines in sight.

The Big Buck Brewery is the unofficial corporate liquor dispenser for DaimlerChrysler Tech Center employees. Happy hour runs from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Drinks are $3.99 apiece. There’s no free snackage, but a special happy-hour menu offers hot appetizers such as battered mushrooms and cheese sticks for a minimal charge. (I’m told they used to be free.) I suppose one could purchase two or three of these plates and “spread” them out on the bar before eating.

Tiki Bob’s Cantina hosts a happy-hour party every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7-9 p.m. I was assured that free food would be available, and envisioned a table full of sweet ’n’ sour riblets, pineapple chunks and other tropical delights. Instead, two 18-inch plastic deli platters sat on the long countertop: one with sliced lavash roll-up sandwiches and the other with raw veggies and ranch dip. The real happy-hour deal at Tiki Bob’s is found behind the bar. All drinks — bottled beers, draft beers, shots, mixed and blended cocktails — are only 1 or 2 dollars apiece. With booze this cheap, you’ll soon forget about your empty stomach, and you can always fill up on olives and cherries.

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