By John Petkovic, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ready to party like royalty, even if you’re a pauper?

Well, then, roll out the Cleveland Happy Hour Guide and raise a glass – and let’s make that a discounted glass, bartender.

Happy Hours have been around for decades. They once involved a cheap draft, some pretzels, maybe a basket of popcorn, a fistful of peanuts.

Then something happened: Culinary sensibilities started to rise as the economy started to tank. Restaurants responded with Happy Hour, with increased offerings and expanded hours.

Some places offer a specific Happy Hour menu. Even high-end eateries have jumped into the game, luring patrons with a discounted look-see in the hope of getting them to return for dinner.

But the popularity of Happy Hour redefined the after-work party – with offerings that have nothing in common with the pretzel days.

Delmonico’s in Independence does a stellar salmon BLT. Parallax offers a killer absinthe cocktail. XO Prime Steaks does a Tuna Tartare. Mad Greek rolls out Indian food and 32 cocktails. Lockkeepers does stuffed peppers.

Here are 40 places – one for each hour in the work week – with stellar Happy Hours. What went into choosing these guys? Yes, price. But also the number of selections, the hours, vibe, something unique about the menu.

Washington Place Bistro

2203 Cornell Road, Cleveland, 216-791-6500;

Happy Hour: 4-7 p.m. daily

Happy Hour at this chic yet classic bistro in Little Italy is more than merely a look-see for the broke and cheap among us. It’s a fun hang at that stylish glowing bar – and the liberal hours mean you aren’t quarantined to some quiet part of the weekday. The Happy Hour menu contains snacks and small plates, and combines them with daily deals. So the specific action depends on the day. Either way, a cool hang.

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