Let the after-work relaxation begin! Whether you’re looking for a place to unwind with colleagues or have a quiet one-on-one with a friend, Los Angeles has something to offer those seeking a few extra happy hours in their day. Say the words Happy Hour and images of after-work frivolity, hot appetizers, and cold drinks come to mind. When the clock strikes 5:00, or perhaps for many of us 6:00, we may dash out the door clamoring for the first place with a seat waiting for our bodily company. With its medley of make-your-own-hours entrepreneurs and freelancers, plus melting-pot communities, Los Angeles has managed to accumulate a number of happy hour offerings that speak to the literal varieties of life in this city. Here are five places that should satisfy both your appetite for delicious bites and a little post-work revelry.
8741 Alden Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Fusion runs rampant around town, and Chaya Brasserie is at the head of the pack. The Beverly Hills eatery boasts a French-Japanese flair and a varied selection of tapas-like plates. On select nights a DJ plays melodic and mellow tunes, and though the place can get packed, the noise levels never get too loud to compete with intimate conversation. The main dining room and covered outdoor patio offer plenty of seating, although the bar area is the only place where you can take advantage of happy hour deals.
The term happy hour stretches beyond its true meaning at Chaya Brasserie as it lasts from 5:00 pm–8:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday, and 5:00 pm until close on Sunday and Monday. Fruity guava and tangerine martinis, funky sweet, tart, and ginger margaritas, international wines and beers, and a potpourri of standard and specialty sushi rolls and other hearty bites pepper the happy hour selection. Hummus pizzas, charcuterie plates, satay skewers, spring rolls, and chicken quesadillas satisfy guests’ appetites. And with small plate prices averaging about $5–10 and most drinks rolling in at $8, happy hour is also a happy medium for guests’ wallets.
2454 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90403
Down along the most western corner of Wilshire Boulevard lies Wilshire Restaurant. Intimate and warm, the restaurant has charming lighting, antique wood and mirror décor, and a spacious design. Although happy hour specials only happen at the bar, it is worth a return to sit at the outdoor bar and terrace. The restaurant does have a casual air, but it would be suitable for a date or a special evening out on the town.
The California-style menu choices are fresh and distinct, and the organic and seasonal ingredients change often, making the happy hour assortment unique and ever changing. Monday through Saturday, from 5:00 pm–7:00 pm, the bar offers two sets of snacks—one small and the other a bit larger. A collection of $6 plates includes kobe beef sliders, curry shrimp skewers, and burrata and arugula pizzas. If you’re looking for a larger meal, try one of four grilled meat or veggie burgers with crispy fries or a crunchy salad. The more expensive item offerings also include black cod ceviche, BBQ pork ribs, and oysters—all for $12. If a cocktail is your way to wind down, tangy mojitos and margaritas, wine, beer and well drinks range from $5–$9.
206 N. Rodeo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90210, plus several other locations
Although Los Angeles is known for an array of unique dining establishments, there is one chain that tops the list of happy hours: McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant. In years past, it has been noted as one of the top seafood restaurants in the country. It’s a comfortable and boisterous place to go with a pack of coworkers or a group of friends for beer, banter, and maybe a burger. Where else can you go where buffalo wings, spinach and artichoke dip and steamed mussels are each offered for under $5? The most well known item is the ½ pound cheeseburger at the whopping price of $1.95. The low food prices are matched by selected half-priced drinks. Most McCormick & Schmick’s in the area offer these values in the late afternoon and also later at night, usually 9:00 pm until close. The best part is that there are locations across Los Angeles, so whether you’re Downtown, near the Valley or at the beach, there should be a deal in your neighborhood. Be sure to call ahead of time as each location has slight variances in hours.
445 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90071
Happy hour at Ciudad is festive and exotic. Monday through Friday from 4:00 pm–7:00 pm tapas and cocktails bring smiles to hungry faces. On Sundays from 4:00 pm–9:00 pm, specials are offered on drinks only. It’s a happy hour that will leave you feeling like you’ve stepped right into Latin America…by way of Los Angeles of course. Bright oranges, yellows, and greens decorate the walls and menus and hint at the mélange of colors and flavors that appear on each plate. The Downtown work crowd mingles with locals over the varied food creations. Minty mojitos, smooth sangrias, and mixed margaritas are just $4, which is about the same going price for several dishes—pork carnitas, potato rajas tacos, ceviche, gaucho steak, and chicken asado tacos. There’s even a lovely Barcelona chocolate cake if your sweet tooth is ringing. Following in the steps of several other restaurants, Ciudad also offers a late-night happy hour: Ciudad After Dark. The late-night, drinks-only happy hour is Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 pm-11:00 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 pm-midnight. Get there early to grab a good seat because the joint gets packed, and you’ll only get these specials at the bar.
1555 Vine Street, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Getting a good sushi meal can blow your bank, and understandably so. Fresh seafood is pricey, but if you’re looking for a way to flex your chopsticks and stretch your hard-earned money, check out Kabuki in Hollywood. It's right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of town, which makes it perfect for tourists and anyone else with a desire to be near the action. Deep red and black color the restaurant's dimly lit interior, and the friendly staff always greets newcomers upon entry. It's great for a casual, laid-back nosh. Monday through Friday, from 3:00 pm–6:00 pm, the prices on a variety of plates can’t get any better. Try broiled mussels or gyoza dumplings for $4, California and salmon rolls for $3, calamari, sesame chicken and house specialty rolls for $5 and salmon sushi and crab sushi for $2.50. Sake shots and Kirin bottles will only set you back $2; mojitos, well drinks, and sake and soju cocktails are $5, and sake samplers and Kirin pitchers are $8. Kabukis are sprinkled through Southern California, and they all have the same happy hour specials, though menu items may vary. Their happy hours may be earlier than the norm, but if you can sneak away from the office early, it’s worth it.
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