Remember the days when a $10 price tag on a burger made you blink? That certainly isn’t the case anymore. Today, “gourmet burgers” at the big steakhouses top $20, and even bar burgers typically go for double figures. Can prime beef on a bun really be worth upward of 20 bills? It doesn’t seem like it. Then again, some of these top-shelf dandies are darned impressive. Solution? Eat ’em at a discount by taking advantage of happy hour.
I’m not talking about the “sliders” that you’ll find on happy hour menus all over town, but full-sized burgers that fetch at least double the price when ordered from the main menu. One of the best is available at the two Fleming’s Steakhouses (Town Square and West Charleston Boulevard), where the 5-6-7 happy hour runs 5–7 p.m. daily in the bar. There are five discount food choices here, including the prime burger, topped with cheese, bacon, onion, lettuce and tomato, plus an order of fries. It’s normally $13.95, but just $8 during happy hour. You can also swap the fries for two giant onion rings that are almost as impressive as the burger. Cocktails and wine by the glass are $6-$8, Blue Moon is only $3 and other beers start at $7.
An even better play is available at the new Hawthorn Grill inside the JW Marriott on Rampart Boulevard, where the Hawthorn burger is as good as any you’ll find in that $20 category and a relative bargain at $15 retail. But during the daily happy hour from 4–6 p.m., everything (except oysters) on the bar menu is half price, making this excellent burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato and butter pickles, served on a brioche bun with fries, a steal for $7.50. Grab a $2 draft and you’re livin’ large for less than 10 bucks.
The same concept holds true for bar burgers, where an already good deal can become downright awesome. The Porchlight Grille (8416 W. Desert Inn Rd.) has several hamburger variations starting at $8.99. That’s a good price for the quality, but from midnight to 3 a.m., almost everything on the menu is half price, making it just $4.50 for a loaded 6- to 8-ouncer with fries or rings. Get fancy with mushrooms, bacon, etc., and you’re still under $6. Not quite as cheap, but still a deal, all burger variations are $8 on Saturdays from 5–10 p.m. There’s more than hamburgers at Porchlight and good specials run every day, including a creative mix-and-match $9.95 lunch.
A $4.50 burger is tough to beat, but Charlie’s Down Under (1950 N. Buffalo Dr.) beats it. This is another local bar with a strong 24-hour kitchen that specializes in big burgers. They’re good any time, but from 11 p.m.–5 a.m. the Charlie’s Burger is just $2.99. If you’re burgered out, other graveyard specials include a steak sandwich, sliders and biscuits and gravy, all $2.99.
These are my best discount-burger go-tos. There are others: See if you can find a banger of your own.
Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and lasvegasadvisor.com.