With St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday, March 17, daylight savings time giving us more light in the early evening and the James Beard Taste of America dinner returning to L.A. this summer, we decided to put together a happy hour list that includes a few JBA nominated and Michelin-star chefs, plus some of our old haunts in Beverly Hills and new favorites. These golden few hours of the day have become just as much about the chef-driven snacks as the creative cocktails and wine deals.
Ocean Prime Beverly Hills
This seafood-centric restaurant has an elevated lounge menu near the outdoor patio from Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with $5 off all small plates, sushi and raw bar offerings. Be sure to order the lime and coconut milk marinated white fish ceviche tossed with pineapple, onions, peppers and cilantro served with crispy tortilla chips. Handcrafted cocktails and house spirits will be available for $8, beer for $5 and $8 featured wines.
This decades long beloved open-air California bistro on Canon Drive owned by Peter Garland is known for celebrity sightings and calamari. They also have The Bar Room with an extended happy hour from 5-8 p.m. daily. The house red and white wine is just $6 with well spirits for $7 and select beer for $4. And, you can order that popular calamari for just $7, the meatballs or a kale and quinoa salad for the same price if you are working on your summer body already.
You might not know that the Drago brothers clan famous for Italian staples Via Alloro and Drago Ristorante, also own a mouthwatering sushi restaurant. Even better news, they have a happy hour Monday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with many best-selling dishes for $7.50 such as hamachi Jalapeno, salmon sashimi and crispy spicy tuna. The drink menu includes cocktails, beer, wine and sake for $7.50 as well.
Speaking of Via Alloro, we just had to give a nod to it’s happy hour which runs from 12 p.m. (noon) to 7 p.m. every day, Sunday to Monday in the bar area. This unheard-of all-day deal features appetizers such as prosciutto and burrata focaccia, diver scallop carpaccio and a mushroom soufflé for $8.50 each, cocktails, house wine and beer for $8.50.
N.10 Recently Launched Spritz Hour
A gem on Third Street, designed by Christopher Keith, N.10 was launched to pay homage to owner Italian soccer star Alessandro Del Piero with a minimalist concept and a wood burning pizza oven. The recently launched Spritz Hour from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday brings $12 gourmet pizza to the forefront along with six different $9 spritz cocktails created by superstar mixologist Matthew Biancaniello. If you’re lucky, he just might be behind the bar making the ‘Rabarbaro’ with prosecco, rhubarb and infused Saint Germain.
40 Love for Sports
Designed by John Sofio for the h.wood Group, the country club setting with a lovely front garden patio, is perfect for an afternoon negroni but also for watching a game on one of the large screen televisions inside. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. where all specialty cocktails are $10; draft beer is $4 and wine is only $5. The menu features just what you want when you’re watching a game: chicken wings, Western bacon burgers and brownie sundaes all for $6 and under.
Gracias Madre West Hollywood
Weekdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., this standby on Melrose Avenue has one of the best day drinking patios in town. Stick with tequila from the well-stocked bar and try the hand-crafted cocktails, like the Purista Margarita available on the happy hour menu
for under $10. Nibbles include a vegan twist on classic dishes such as the Al Pastor taco, with oyster mushrooms, grilled cinnamon pineapple and cilantro, or their beer-battered Portobello tacos, with mushrooms, paprika aioli, napa cabbage slaw and salsa.
Tipsy Chef in Santa Monica
An all American-style café and bar just opened at the historic Edgemar Center for the Arts on Main Street with the tag line “where cuisine and cocktails meet community.” This is a place to have fun and not take yourself too seriously. ‘Tipsy Time’ is 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. during the week and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekend, where the well drinks and wine are just $6. Yes, you can find curly fries and Cracker Jacks for $6, but there are a number of $12 salads too.
Recently opened at the Row in the Arts District, M. Georgina by Michelin Starred- chef Melissa Perello–best known for her restaurants Frances and Octavia in San Francisco–created a special happy hour menu for those looking to have an early drink with amazing bites from the approachable, yet refined, seasonal food that has earned critical and popular acclaim. From 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, guests can nibble on marinated olives and feta for $5 or chicharrónes with kraut powder for $6 and sip on an old fashioned for $8. There is also a special Sunday happy hour from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., which provides a wonderful ending to the weekend.
Previously located in Eagle Rock, the new downtown location next to Whole Foods features a stunning art deco inspired design by Marisa Zajack. They also have a great happy hour Monday through Friday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Beer is Booneville Gold Lager Honest Abe Cider for $7; red, white and rosé wines are $8; Old Fashioned and The Hot Neighbor Vesper cocktails are $10. The elevated fare includes shaved Brussels sprout salad with kumquat, parm, basil and breadcrumbs or smoked eggplant dip with tahini, herbs and grilled bread are both $8.
Tavern in Brentwood
This westside staple features one of the most extensive cocktail hours by James Beard winning Chef Susan Goin and Wine Director Caroline Styne. The bounty includes an array of tacos from shrimp to brisket for $8, organic turkey burgers with tomato confit and a charcuterie board for $15. The best-selling menu staples of bacon- wrapped dates stuffed with Parmesan for $11 and Spanish fried chicken with romesco aioli is on the list for $18. Even better, the cocktail hour lasts from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week in the Blue Room with $11 cocktails and $9 wines by the glass.
You might be familiar with Michelin Star- chef and avid surfer Josiah Citrin’s happy hour at the newly revamped Citron in Santa Monica where Melisse once stood, but he also owns a restaurant specializing in meats cooked on an open flame and cocktails in Venice where they offer The Evening Glass Off menu from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The entire menu is a steal and under $10 from the house Charcoal burger to the smokey grilled chicken wings, skewers of grilled meats and veggies plus smoked lamb ribs under $5 and oysters under $3. Cocktails are also under $10, and one not to miss is the midnight margarita with El Charro tequila, charcoal and lime.