Web Original: Critic’s Notebook: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Critic Joy Manning offers up Ansill, her favorite happy hour that rises above the rest in deals and atmosphere.

Happy hour “specials” are usually anything but — greasy wings, rail cocktails, and watery draft beers aren’t palatable at any price. Plus, people turn out in droves for the deals, making the whole happy hour experience overcrowded and loud, too. Finding a happy hour that rises above this level is a challenge. That’s why I’m hesitant to even draw your attention to my favorite happy hour spot. The last thing I want is competition for a bar stool at Ansill, but it isn’t fair for me to hog all the Cape May Salts for myself. Alas, I can no longer keep it from you.

From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on every weekday (including Friday), Ansill offers $1 oysters (shucked to order, no less), $5 glasses of bubbly (Italian Prosecco), and a $3 draft beer (recently Amish Four Grain from Lancaster Brewing Co.). Beyond these really appealing specials, though, the atmosphere is completely laidback. You can actually sit at the bar. I know the economy is bad right now, but trust me, it seems better after a couple drinks and a dozen oysters. It’s a luxury that will set you back just $22. Now, that’s what I call happy hour.