In Boulder, Colorado, happy hour is more than just an hour – it is a way of life, with food and drink deals that often last all day. Add to that stunning views of the Flatiron Mountains, a wealth of hiking trails, more than 300 days of sunshine each year, proximity to some of the world’s best ski resorts, and a culinary and brewing scene that is good enough to regularly entice neighbours from Denver, and there is plenty in Boulder to raise a glass to.

Forget the typical 4-to-6pm happy hour specials on beer and house wine. From breakfast to bed time, Boulder establishments offer incredible deals on high-quality cuisine, locally brewed beer and top-shelf liquor. Of course, you need to know where to go:

Boozy breakfast: 11 am
Sometimes you wake up in a strange city and all you want is a Bloody Mary or mimosa. Welcome to The Buff, home of the all-day, $0.99 adult breakfast beverage. Starting the day here is always a good idea, but starting it with Saddlebags -- pancakes stuffed with bacon, sausage or ham and topped with two eggs -- is an even better one.  For something (a little) less likely to give you a heart attack, you cannot go wrong with the skillets, eggs Benedict or huevos rancheros.

Drink of the gods: 1 pm
Beer enthusiasts in Colorado were sipping locally brewed pints well before the term “craft beer” arrived in the American lexicon. But long before beer even existed, mead was the drink of choice. Head to Redstone Meadery for free tastings of “honey wine”, starting at noon every day except Sunday. Their modern version of this ancient drink is sweeter than the bitter swill that might come to mind. The Meadery offers free tours and there is live music on Saturdays.

Turning Japanese: 2:30 pm
Boulder has surprisingly good sushi for a small city located nowhere near a coast, and both Boulder locations of the Colorado micro-chain Hapa Sushi Grill and Sake Bar serve some of the best fish in town. From 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm and 10pm to midnight, the Pearl street location offers two rolls for $7. Diners can choose from a selection of 10 beginner rolls, including California and salmon avocado. Sides like edamame and ginger pork gyozas are just under $3. Hapa Beer -- a rice beer brewed exclusively for Hapa by Denver’s Great Divide Brewery -- is also $3, and large flasks of sake or fruit-infused sake cocktails, with names like G-spot and Threesome, are $3.50 The Hill location runs similar happy hour specials from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm and 9 pm to close.

European interlude: 3:30 pm
The Mediterranean Restaurant remains true to its name in both food and atmosphere. This large, vibrant spot has a beautiful garden, colourful decor and a menu with Italian, Spanish, French and Greek influences. The Med, as locals call it, might not have the cheapest happy hour drinks in town -- from 3 pm to 6:30 pm, draft beers cost $3.50 and select drinks are $4 -- but its list of nearly 30 tapas starting at $2 can satisfy even the pickiest eater with the tightest wallet. We recommend the bistecca (hanger steak with salsa verde and goat cheese), dátiles (bacon-wrapped dates and garlic sauce) and baked feta with tomato, artichoke and olives. The wood-fired margarita pizza is also rather impressive.

The Med’s French sister restaurant, Brasserie Ten Ten, offers a slightly quieter, more upscale experience, with the same spectacular menu of affordable small plates ($2 to $6). Frites with truffle aioli, gourmet crepes and sliders, and steamed mussels are all delicious, but we recommend the bone marrow with fleur de sel and port-poached shallots, and the filet mignon tartare with quail egg toast.

Fresh from the farm: 5 pm
The Kitchen exemplifies Boulder’s farm-to-table movement, with a fierce focus on local meat and produce, and a simply prepared, seasonal menu. Large, long tables and shared plates encourage a community dining experience. Its community hour (3 pm to 5:30 pm Monday to Friday) offers discounted samples from the normally pricey menu. Beer flights (small pours of several brews)  are $3, while wine and cocktail flights are $5. Nibbles range from $4 to $8, and plates from $7 to $13. The slow-roasted long farm pork, burrata and anchovy toast, mac ‘n’ cheese and crispy pig’s ears are all delicious. The sticky toffee pudding is the perfect ending to a late afternoon snack.

The new Next Door location is more casual and less expensive than the original restaurant, and features freshly prepared small plates, sandwiches, salads and soups all for under $9. The “community hour” from 3 pm to 6 pm (and 9 pm to close Sunday to Wednesday) offers a selection of Colorado craft brews for $2, house wine for $3, and snacks and appetisers between $1.50 and $4. The roast lamb, pork sliders and spiced chickpeas and hummus are all worth sampling.

The happiest of hours: 6:30 pm
In a town full of incredible happy hours, the Boulder Café can rightfully claim to host the happiest. When it is warm enough, the big corner patio on the Pearl Street Mall is perfect for watching street performers, hippies and the generally strange happenings that perpetually occur downtown, and a belly full of half-price, top-shelf drinks and appetisers make the experience even more enjoyable. Boulder’s longest happy hour (from 3 pm to closing time) is probably the only place in town where it is possible to order two glasses of single malt scotch, half a dozen oysters and an order of cheddar and Colorado ale fondue for less than $20.

Going underground: 8 pm
Aptly named Catacombs, this dark basement bar underneath the historic Boulderado Hotel has several cavernous rooms, arcade games and a dance floor. There is nothing glamorous about it, but if you are looking for a cheap cocktail and somewhere to shoot a few rounds of pool, Catacombs should be at the top of your list. From 4:30 pm to 9 pm Monday through Friday, Catacombs offers $1 basic liquor drinks, which attracts the college crowd.

Boulder’s first brewpub: 10 pm
The Walnut Brewery might be part of the giant CraftWorks national chain, but it still has a local feel. Any place with a mug club (a rewards program in which a specialized mug is kept behind the bar for each member) is clearly catering to a loyal group of customers. More importantly though, it serves high-quality pub fare and award-winning beers from the Great American Beer Festival (GABF).  From 3 pm to 6 pm and 10 pm to close, all starters, liquor, wines by the glass and beer are half price, but why drink a standard cocktail when you can sip on a pint of rich, slightly chocolaty 2010 GABF gold-medal winning Old Elk brown ale, or one of the rotating speciality dark or seasonal wheat beers?

Home away from home: 11:30 pm
It is hard to avoid falling head over heels for the Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery. The wooden booths and carpeted floors, the colourful, hand-drawn chalk art and the closet full of board games make it feel as though you are enjoying that black bean chilli, order of nachos and six flights of fresh-brewed beer in your living room instead of a brew pub. Mountain Sun and its South Boulder sister restaurant Southern Sun brew more than a dozen beers in-house, cook up creative versions of standard bar food and host live music on Sundays and Mondays. During happy hour (4 pm to 6 pm and 10 pm to 1 am on Monday to Friday, and 11 pm to 1 am on Saturday) pints are $3.50 and pitchers are $10.50. For something intensely hoppy, but with a perfectly citrusy balance, try the FYIPA, or give the Isadore Java Porter a try for a heady ale brewed with coffee. Rotating specialty stouts and fruit ales are always on offer, and two rotating nitrogen taps give regular brews extra smoothness and a thick, creamy head. The friendly employees, who do every job -- bussing tables, taking orders, running food, washing dishes, tending bar – are endearing if not a bit slow, but a game of yahtzee or scrabble makes the wait pleasant.