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Date Night On the Cheap at Lake of the Ozarks

Vicki Wood is a self-employed mother of four grown children living in Mid-Missouri. She was formerly a nurse and is getting back to writing.

Doing Date Night on a Budget

Could a 20 dollar date night be a reality at the Lake of the Ozarks? It doesn't seem possible, but it really is, and I will tell you how to do it.

Happy Hour


This is where to start your cheap date night!

Here is a list of a few places around the lake to do a really cheap date night. Most places have happy hour weekdays and some even do happy hour all day Saturday or Sunday.

  1. Hyvee Market Cafe- Every weekday from four to six pm you can get half-price appetizers, but most importantly the bar serves drafts at 1.50 each. Then drinks are buy one get one free on Tuesdays. This is my pick for starting your 20 dollar date night.
  2. Tuckers Shuckers-Located on the historic Bagnell Dam strip, happy hour is 3 to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and appetizers are usually around 5 dollars. Calamari Strips and Coconut Shrimp are a meal in themselves. House wine and large mugs of cold domestic draft keep your wallet fat at only 3 dollars. In the warm months, the view of the strip is fantastic from the balcony. Once a month, the strip hosts Hot Summer Nights Car Cruise, and Tuckers Shuckers is the ultimate place to view it at.
  3. Pappos Pizza- Half price beer and appetizer specials from 3-6 pm are available Monday-Friday. The appetizers are amazing, the meatballs being my favorite. You can make a very nice meal out of happy hour here.
  4. El Charco Azul- Thursdays are Thirsty! Domestic and Dos Equis pints are only $1.00 all day. Free chips and salsa upon request round out your cheap eating here.

Dinner on the Cheap


Frugal Dinner Choices

When dining at Lake of the Ozarks, the choices seem endless. But I am focusing on how to do date night within a budget. Because, let's face it, as moms and dads we need this night. We've earned this night! It keeps our sanity, especially in the long, cold winter months. Money is usually tight for everybody this time of year.


Cheap Dinner Eats

My number one place to eat cheaply is El Charco Azul on Tuesday nights. Tuesday is our designated date night because there are other good deals around on Tuesday nights at Lake of the Ozarks-see Entertainment on the Cheap.

El Charco Azul in Osage Beach, Missouri features $1.00 Taco Tuesdays year round. You can choose from soft or hard tacos, and beef or chicken filling. Their chicken tastes like a grandma has stewed it all day on the stove top. I have never had better pulled chicken. There is no minimum or maximum for this deal. You can carry out if you want to picnic with a lake view. They have a really nice patio if the weather permits. We usually order four each. With water, that is only 8 dollars plus tax of our twenty dollar date night budget used. With happy hour at Hy-Vee Market Grille, we are only up to ten dollars for the night.

Another Taco Tuesday choice is Mexicali Blues in Osage Beach. They also have a dollar taco special but they have a few rules. One is that you have to order the same type of shell, no mixing on your order. You can, however, order different fillings and they offer pork as well as chicken and beef. The shredded beef is very good! There is a three taco minimum order. You can order water to get a less expensive bill, but they do offer happy hour from 4-6 pm with margaritas being around 3 dollars.

Steak and Shake is always a good option. With their large offering of 3.99 specials, you can do cheap date night at ten dollars.

If I ever can get away from Taco Tuesday, I am sure I can find other cheap eat deals at Lake of the Ozarks. If you have any suggestions, send them my way!

Entertainment on the Cheap


Having Fun on a 20 Dollar Budget

Here are a few fun entertainment ideas to keep your date night on a budget.

  1. Tuesdays at Eagles Landing Movie Theater- Five dollar movies are the special on Tuesdays at this theater. They also have great concession specials for this day. These are first run movies, not old stuff. We often wait until Tuesdays to see a new movie out instead of fighting the crowds on the weekends.
  2. Eagle Days-This event is the first weekend of January and is completely free. To get the best viewing you will want to have date day instead of night. There are three viewing areas, Willmore Lodge, Osage National Golf Club, and The Historic Bagnell Dam. I love watching these amazing creatures.
  3. Polar Bear Plunge- This is completely free to watch, and man what fun to watch people freeze their fannies off jumping in the lake!
  4. Bowling- Eagle Lanes Bowling Alley. A lot of the bowling alleys in the area have afternoon play specials, but when my husband and I first started dating, we played pool here more than anything. We were young and broke. They have 10 dart machines costing only 1.50 per game.
  5. Busters at Miner Mikes- Located across from the Factory Outlet Mall, this is a grown-up arcade. So with five bucks, you can play for an hour.
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How Did We Do?

My date night consisting of Tuesday night specials totalled 19.50 before tax. The breakdown is 1.50 for 2 BOGO house drafts at Hy vee Bar, 8 dollars for 8 tacos with unlimited chips and salsa at El Charco Azul, and 10 dollars at Eagles Landing Movie Theater for two movie tickets. Maybe someday I will venture out and find more.

© 2018 Vicki Wood


Gregory DeVictor from Pittsburgh, PA on June 16, 2018:

Vicki, I hope you get the job. Besides, people need to know where the best deals are for happy hour or just dining out in general. I believe you have what it takes to provide them with that information. For example, whenever I go back up north and visit Erie, I want to know where I can get pepperoni balls for $1.00.

Vicki Wood (author) from Eldon, Missouri on June 16, 2018:

Thank you Gregory, I really enjoyed researching and writing that article. I recently applied for a freelance writing job with an area newspaper. If i get the job, I hope to be able to expand this article into a regional series. I have an article on the hit series "Ozark" in the works. Thanks for stopping by.

Gregory DeVictor from Pittsburgh, PA on June 15, 2018:

Vicki, thanks for a really appetizing article. I especially enjoyed reading everything about the tacos.

Vicki on January 10, 2018:

Thanks for your comment, Larry, the lake area is so much fun in the warm months. You should come up and visit. Follow me, i plan to write more about it.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on January 08, 2018:

Looks like a lot of fun, and I'm always looking to save a few bucks.

Great read!

Vicki Wood (author) from Eldon, Missouri on January 06, 2018:

Update-Hyvee Market Grille bar only offers the two for one drafts on Tuesday happy hours, but I also found out that during a Kansas City Chiefs game, you get a free draft for each touchdown during the game only.

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