Eating out ain't cheap — but sometimes it's necessary. Empty fridge? Hot date? Just want to live a little? These can take a toll on your wallet. Avoid a state of emergency by familiarizing yourself with the Queen City's daily dining and drinking deals. This handy cheat sheet to "meals ready to eat" will help you track down $1 pints, $2 tacos, $3 maki rolls and more.
Social Hour, ArtsRiot: Select plates — including chef George Lambertson's juicy 400 Burger and popular popcorn chicken — are half price from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday.* Also weekdays: $3 beer specials.
Early-Bird Special, Bluebird Barbecue: From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. daily, $30 summons three smoked meats (half portions) and four sides at this barbecue joint. That's a solid meal for two. Alternatively, $10 scores you a burger topped with bacon jam, cheddar, secret sauce and pickles — plus a side.
Duff Hour, Three Needs Brewery & Taproom: Every weekday starting at 4 p.m., Three Needs taps a special Duff Hour keg. $1 pours last until the keg is kicked, and reruns of "The Simpsons" play on bar TVs for the duration. D'oh! Almost forgot: Some nights, the pub throws in $1 pizza slices, too.
Bistro Dinner, Leunig's Bistro & Café: Every day from 3 to 5:30 p.m. and the last hour before closing, Church Street's Frenchiest spot offers two courses for $17.50. Start with a bowl of soup au pistou, then move on to salade Niçoise, steak frites or hearty boeuf Bourguignon. Can't pronounce any of that? The delicious food and small(er) bill are worth the embarrassment of trying.
Oyster Hour, Hen of the Wood: Enjoy $1 oysters daily from 4 to 5 p.m. and 10 to 11 p.m. at Burlington's farm-to-table hot spot.
Citizen Cider pours half-price drafts of its off-dry Unified Press cider. Pair a pint with Monday's mac and cheese dinner special.
Hit up the Daily Planet for half-price burgers.
Hop on over to Church Street Tavern for half-price wings.
Mojito Monday — why not? El Gato Cantina charges just $6 for the rum and mint cocktail.
Sip half-price cocktails at a table by the falls at Winooski's Waterworks Food + Drink.
The Daily Planet deals in $2 tacos, $2 tequila shots and $2 Tecate bottles.
Community Pint Night means $4 pints from Magic Hat Brewing at Rì Rà the Irish Local.
Manhattan Pizza & Pub goes Mexican with $2 tacos and $3 bottles of Pacifico.
Drink cracks open cans of Heady Topper — Vermont's most coveted beer — for $4.
Get $2 off any mac and cheese at Our House Bistro in Winooski.
Order the beer on special at the Archives and get four free tokens to use on arcade games.
El Gato Cantina offers chicken or shredded beef tacos for $2.
Burgers are half price at the Scuffer Tap & Table all day!
From 3 to 6 p.m., Asiana Noodle Shop dishes select apps and maki rolls for $3 to $5.
$4 Fiddlehead IPAs fuel the Wednesday open mics at Manhattan Pizza & Pub.
PBR pitchers are $3.50 at the Other Place.
$1 gets you a beer and $2 a taco at ¡Duino! (Duende) from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Students get half off their second pie at Pizza Barrio.
Hit up the Spot for 50-cent wings.
$5 nabs a can of cider and a McKenzie Country Classics hot dog at Citizen Cider.
Dig into a burger — and a bottle of Labatt Blue — for $10 at Rì Rà the Irish Local.
At Drink, Switchback Brewing's flagship amber ale sets you back just $2.
Like nachos? El Gato Cantina offers 'em half off.
Heady Toppers are $5 at Pizza Barrio.
Start your weekend with $4 cosmos at Drink.
Grab a $3 Goose Island Beer Co. draft at Nectar's — then stick around for the famous fried-chicken special: two pieces of Misty Knoll Farms chicken, Cabot mac and cheese, and collard greens for $14.50.
Check out Philly Friday at Manhattan Pizza & Pub: $5.99 cheesesteaks with fries and $5 Heady Toppers.
At Drink, $5 gets you a Long Island iced tea. Just make sure to drink a lot of water, OK?
Score an $8 burger at the Spot.
Got kids? Take 'em to Bluebird Barbecue, where they eat free on Sunday nights.
A pound of wings and a pint go for $8 at Mr. Mikes Pizza.
Boozy brunch idea: $6 candied-bacon Bloody Marys and $15 mimosa pitchers at Manhattan Pizza & Pub.
Survival Tip: Wondering where to line up for Heady Topper? Don't. Queueing up for beer is a sure sign that you're a flatlander. Instead, order a can at most BTV restaurants, or sample Vermont's many other delicious craft beers.Update, September 22, 2017: This story has been updated to remove a Wednesday meal deal that was no longer available.
*Update, January 22, 2018: This story has been updated to reflect current ArtsRiot Social Hour deals.