There was a time when happy hours were mostly for hawking greasy pub grub that practically begged to be washed down with PBRs and bottom-shelf swill. Those places are still around, but as our collective food and beverage palates evolve, so does the demand for quality fare at reasonable prices—even during happy hour. Read on for our guide to the top restaurants and bars in Los Angeles where you can get the most bang out of your happy hour bucks.
Celebrated Southwestern chef John Sedlar’s flagship restaurant is on the bucket list of many food lovers, but if the price point is at all a deterrent, then the happy hour ought to come in handy. A number of snacks are available for only $5, including cheese-stuffed Spanish peppers, an arepa corn cake topped with apricot barbecue shrimp and the braised short rib tamale with an impressively even meat-to-masa ratio. Also, there are more than 10 serious cocktails from the Julian Cox-curated bar program, each for only $7. Happy hour takes place Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Located in the heart of the Downtown business district, Chaya has become a mainstay among area office workers and the pre-theater crowd, making it an ideal happy hour haunt. Calamari ($6) sounds deceptively simple, but is fried crisp with just the right amount of breading, and pairs perfectly with a jalapeño aioli. Otherwise, the best bets are the fresh sushi rolls, served in generous portions, such as spicy tuna ($6), shrimp tempura ($7), seafood tartare roll ($7) or inside out albacore ($6). Happy hour cocktails ($7) run the gamut from a classic gin Martini to the more exotic Seeing Double, with blood orange and lavender-infused tequila, plus lime and pomegranate juice. Happy hour is available weekdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the bar and lounge areas.
This grown-up restaurant in the heart of Hollywood has introduced a “Six Degrees of Sadie” menu, with a variety of small plates and specialty drinks each priced at only $6. Among the rich nibbles are deviled "bacon and eggs" with crispy prosciutto, oysters on the half-shell with a "bloody mary" mignonette, an ahi poke with cucumber pickle and lotus root and steamed Pei mussels in a smoky tomato broth. Cocktail classics are the Moscow Mule, Daiquiri and Old-Fashioned. The Six Degrees menu is served in the Center Lounge Tuesdays through Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Located adjacent to the Orlando Hotel, The Churchill draws just as many loyal locals as LA visitors. The gorgeous patio, central location and solid menu play a part in the repeat business, so the happy hour is almost a cherry-on-top bonus. Grass-fed beef sliders ($7) are filling, as is the duck sausage pizza ($10), and the gougères and duck-fat popcorn are an ideal complement to lip-licking cocktails ($7) like a traditional, non-blended Daiquiri, Margarita or Old-Fashioned. Happy hour is available throughout the restaurant daily from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and late-night Sunday and Monday from 10 p.m.
Foundry chef Eric “Greenie” Greenspan is a fixture at his Melrose Avenue flagship—bouncing between duties as an ebullient expeditor and a snarky, good-time guy. His passion for his food is evident in all aspects, and the “social hour” offers a great way to experience it at a literal fraction of the price, when all of the items from the lounge menu are discounted by 25 percent. Be it nibbles like potato latke bites (regular price $6) or the short rib grilled cheese (normally $12) to the more sizable and luscious rib eye of beef (usually $29). Specialty cocktails like the Velvet Citron and Bardstown Breakfast change all the time, but are always specially priced at $6. Social hour takes place weekdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the bar and lounge areas.
Chef/owner David Myers’ popular West Hollywood French brasserie is known for its traditional menu and sensational cocktail program. During the “hourglass hour,” a variety of bites and beverages are priced at only $9 and $6, respectively. Choose between a daily-changing selection of four oysters or shrimp cocktail in the raw section, a cheese and meat plate, or nibbles of steak or salmon tartare or truffle fries. Among cocktails are the Aviation No. 1, with gin, crème de violette and lemon (ideal for pairing with the raw selections) or the spa-influenced El Ranchero, with tequila, lime and cucumber. The menu is offered every day of the week from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The former Henry’s Hat space in Studio City is now home to a trendy gastropub, Spoonful. Aside from a few nods to vegetarians and a straightforward burger, the menu is otherwise dishing Dixie—and the happy hour is no exception. All appetizers are priced at $3, from fabulous fried green tomatoes, with a light layer of cornmeal crust and a nicely spiced remoulade to whiskey-glazed chicken wings and buffalo shrimp. Featured cocktails change daily and are specially priced at $7, while all other cocktails—including those made with the slow-melting Japanese ice globe—are $2 off. Happy hour runs daily from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Tucked away inside the Raymond Restaurant, 1886 has created its own identity through a top notch mixology program first launched by Marcos Tello, and a special menu of savory bites specific to the bar. All food items are discounted by $2 during the “parlor hour,” including small snacks like fried spuds and papadums (all normally $6) to roasted lamb neck or yellowtail collar (both usually $12). The daily bartender’s cocktail selection is Hendrick’s gin-based ($7), and the punch ($6) can be as straightforward as sangria or something much more complex. Happy hour runs Tuesday - Sunday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
In a beautiful, bi-level space adjacent to the Shops on Lake Avenue retail complex, Trattoria Neapolis has quickly become a local favorite for modern Italian. Both food and beverage specials on the “aperitivo” menu are all priced at an unbelievable $5. Among mini pizzas from the wood burning oven, imported from Naples, are a basic margherita, along with a compelling house lamb sausage with caramelized fennel and asparagus. Bar bite duos include smoked tongue sliders and the hearty short rib “manwich” sliders. Cocktails are also serious business, courtesy of mixologist Vincenzo Marianello, such as the tea-infused Old Fashioned and a classic gimlet. Available in the bar and lounge, aperitivo runs weekdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
FIG at Five is a singular hour in which most everything on the menu, except steaks and the “feed me” tasting menu, is available for half-price. This includes cheese and charcuterie plates, snacks, starters, entrees and desserts, plus beverages. Considering chef Ray Garcia’s focus on farmers market fare, dishes change quite frequently, making it a huge draw for foodie regulars. Among seasonal items worth a whirl are the super fresh chopped salad (normally $16), the beautifully seasoned young beets (typically $14) and the summery market asparagus with duck fat mushrooms and quail egg (usually $16). For dessert, don’t miss the house-favorite peanut butter crunch bar (normally $11). Happy is available Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. only.
Along with Waterloo & City and Corner Door, A-Frame anchors a trio of gastropubs along the western edge of Culver City. Distinguished by its unique, pitched roof, A-Frame is part of Kogi BBQ chef Roy Choi’s emerging culinary empire, and the food is as imaginative, yet approachable, as the architecture. The massive double cheeseburger ($7) combines a seemingly chaotic array of toppings—sharp cheddar, tomato confit, pickled red onions, hot sauce and sesame mayo—into a series of beguiling bites that are each a little different and a lot decadent. But be sure to start with the heirloom pickles ($3)—more like a creative play on crudités—with pickled apples, carrots and more. Also, try one of three cocktails ($7), such as the Backwoods, comprised of bourbon, applejack, maple and bitters. Happy hour takes place Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the restaurant.
Stop by A-Frame’s two neighboring restaurants for a proper happy hour bar crawl. Waterloo and City’s twice daily happy hour is also from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and again from 10 p.m. to midnight, except Sunday, when it runs 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eclectic appetizers include the rich chicken liver mousse ($6) to Indian butter chicken flatbread ($8) and even a sticky toffee pudding dessert ($5). Check out the “pub-tails,” too.
Adjacent to Waterloo and City, The Corner Door also does happy hour daily from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., including addictive crispy chickpeas and almonds ($3), as well as apple cider-glazed wings ($8). Classic cocktails like Margaritas and Moscow Mules are also $7.
A South Bay favorite, but little-known outside of its Hollywood Riviera enclave, Bouzy sports a casual, family-friendly vibe early on and then fills with more of a traditional bar crowd as the night progresses. Fortunately, there’s a happy hour for each. The food menu changes frequently, but includes both nibbles ($3), such as a delightfully creamy and crunchy egg salad on rye or roasted Brussels sprouts in balsamic, as well as “bigger bites” ($5) like chile verde with slow-braised pork, or a dinner salad of mixed greens with shaved fennel and apple. Cocktails like the Bouzy Hurricane are $4 each, and eight-ounce quartinos of food-friendly wines are only $5. Both happy hours take place daily from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close.
1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave., South Pasadena
12565 Washington Blvd., Culver City
1611 S. Catalina Ave., Redondo Beach
Chaya Downtown LA
525 S. Flower St., Downtown
8479 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood
The Corner Door
12477 Washington Blvd., Culver City
8384 West 3rd St., West Hollywood
The Foundry on Melrose
7465 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
1050 S. Flower St., Downtown
1638 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood
3413 Cahuenga Boulevard W., Studio City
336 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena
Waterloo & City
12517 Washington Blvd., Culver City