The term “happy hour” was used in the 1920s to designate a period of entertainment on a ship. Today, it’s that block of time when the public can walk into a restaurant, bar, bowling alley or sports facility and enjoy an assortment of food and alcoholic beverages at discounted rates. In most places in LA, happy hour is between 4 and 8 p.m., with some exceptions. For the consumer, happy hour is a good time to sample a new place or get reacquainted with an established one. Here is a select list of some of LA’s more popular happy hour spots.
Vintage 10 Fifty
1050 S. Hill St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Tucked within the Belasco entertainment complex are several stand-alone amenities, including a wine and tapas bar that offers cosmopolitan beverages and delectables at yesterday’s prices between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m. An evening hot spot for those who work, visit and live in downtown LA, Vintage 10 Fifty’s happy hour menu features a $3 beer selection; appetizers that range from fried pickle strips to calamari for less than $10 per serving; pulled pork, grilled chicken or veggie sandwiches, priced at less than $10; and side dishes, including sweet potato fries and onion rings, for $6 or less. This is an ideal place to mingle before seeing a live concert at the nostalgic Balasco Theater or any other music or sports venue in LA’s central business district.
River Rock Lounge
12833 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
Once frequented by Hollywood legends John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart and Lena Horne, the Sports Lodge Events Center near the CBS Studio Center is where to find a place dubbed “the new school of old school cool.” Between the hours of 4 and 7 p.m. every week night, River Rock Lounge slashes the prices of its extensive craft and tap beer selections and specific food items to $5 per order. There are more than 35 alcoholic beverages from which to choose. Its high-five menu includes hot wings, calamari, roasted pears and mini corn dogs with caramelized red onions and a pickled vegetable. For a few dollars more, patrons can order from a list of signature cocktails and organic offerings, featuring the Tru Grit Gimlet, a vodka mix. A visit to this historic venue is a budgetary experience worth adding to your travel itinerary.
6255 Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
Located within walking distance from the famous Hollywood Palladium concert hall, this bar is considered by locals as the best place to find signature food and beverages at prices uncommon in LA’s most popular tourist destination. During happy hour, which runs from 5 to 9 p.m., those who enjoy the healthy taste of edamame will find the Japanese soybean dish at The Well for $3 per serving. Street-style tacos stuffed with either chicken, beef, pork or mahi mahi also carry an individual tab that’s less than it costs to park your car in a Tinseltown lot. While firing up the famous film location’s acclaimed jukebox, patrons may want to sample some $6 cocktails not found anywhere else outside LA, including the Cucumber Press vodka mix, Brown Sugar Old Fashioned whiskey blend and its soothing Rumba Punch.
The Bar at The Culver Hotel
9400 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
Spending a few hours inside this quaint and historic amenity is like being transported back in time to Hollywood’s 1920’s golden era. Happy hour runs from 4 to 7 p.m., during which time select specialty and Mediterranean-style cocktails are tabbed at $6 per serving. Standard bar bites, including garlic fries and chicken wings, are priced at $5 per plate. LA’s “in crowd” seems to be attracted to the bar area’s vintage decor and the type of clientele the establishment once wooed. Hollywood legends Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Judy Garland, Ronald Reagan and Dorothy Dandridge were once part-time residents of this now 89-year-old hotel. Although live entertainment does not power up until 7:30 p.m., theatrical bartenders have been known to put on their own show while mixing drinks during happy hour.
1212 3rd St. Promenade
Santa Monica, CA 90401
For an exotic, tropical experience without having to damage your daily budget, a visit to Monsoon Cafe is a highly recommended choice for locals and tourists alike. The eatery offers more happy hour food and drink items than any other comparable entity in the beachfront city. Between the hours of 4 and 7 p.m., every select Pan-Asian item on its menu costs $4 per small plate, including chicken satay, Hamachi poppers and Inari sushi. Popular house spirits and a single serving of hot sake carry a fixed $4 tab. The patio area is dog friendly, and the spacious interior consists of miniature cabana-type tables that either surround or overlook a dance floor. Checking out this cultural spot during happy hour is a good way to determine whether you should return for lunch or dinner.
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Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.