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Here's what makes Americano Pie Bar in Islip one of Long Island's best happy hours

Happy hour at Americano Pie Bar in Islip

Happy hour at Americano Pie Bar in Islip is generous, with all appetizers and specialty cocktails (such as this Bee's Knees) sold at slashed prices.  Photo Credit: Newsday/Corin Hirsch

Long Island is a trove of happy hours, but not all are equal. Twice a month we’ll spotlight a happy hour that may have flown under your radar, with each establishment offering food and drink of a higher caliber than you might expect. This week, we start in Islip. Look for future posts on newsday.com/feedme

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, as the saying goes.  Or 3 o’clock — or even noon. When it comes to the widespread pregaming known as happy hour, start and run times can vary wildly.

Especially in New York. Happy hours — which gained momentum, if not yet the name, during Prohibition when diners hit speak-easies before the evening meal — are banned in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Utah and even Ireland. In our home state, though, happy hours have relatively free reign, as long as drink prices don’t fall below half of their normal cost.

Why should you care? While happy hours carry the connotation of revelers getting buzzed   on deep-from-the-well booze, their secret superpower is that in addition to deals on beer, wine and cocktails, they are superb opportunities to score excellent food at slashed prices.

That is, if you’re up for eating early and you know where to look.

Where: Americano Pie Bar in Islip

Why: Generous hours (including entire Monday service) with appetizers slashed to $7, including shrimp tacos, troffolini pasta stuffed with ricotta and pear, and many pizza pies; dainty and delicious clams oreganata carries an extra $2 charge, as do wonton tuna tacos.

Drinks lowdown: Beers are $5 (with many local crafts on tap) and the $7 specialty cocktails use middle- and top-shelf liquor, such as Manhattans made with Bulleit rye and bee’s knees (on the rocks) with Tanqueray gin. Wine is $6, and the "by the glass" list is lengthy and not rote.

Drawback: Summertime vibes are not strong in this dark and sleek bar.

Details: Americano Pie Bar, 517 Main St., Islip, 631-581-8700, americanopiebar.com. Happy hour runs all day Monday, from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday — bar and lounge only.

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