The last time we had free bar food was at the diviest of dive bars, Hollywood’s White Horse Saloon (RIP), when the surly bartendress would put out cubes of white and yellow cheese on Camel cigarette toothpicks, Ritz crackers, baskets of popcorn, and questionable hot dogs in the middle of the covered pool table. We promise: The free happy hour spread at Culver City’s new meat-fest, the Cannibal, is much better than that.
Every day from 5:30-6:30 p.m. (yes, weekends too), you can stop in for stellar drink deals—$20 bottles of rose (!!), $3 beers, and $5 draft Old Fashioneds—and hit the platter laid out across the bar filled with charcuterie of the day, chicharrones, cacio e pepe potato chips, pickles and more. One day it might be thinly sliced porchetta and thick slabs of country pate with pickled red grapes; another time you’ll find pink ribbons of ham and little pots of rillettes and lardo to spread on thinly sliced bread. Someone usually tries to post the day’s offerings on Instagram in case you really need to know ahead of time.
You’re welcome to go up to the platter as many times as you want, but it’s only there for an hour. The best plan is to get there at exactly 5:30 and fill up a plate because they don’t always replenish the offerings. The New York-based restaurateurs didn’t know the power of a good happy hour in this town, and it’s already become a favorite in the neighborhood. There’s almost always a line at the door waiting for it to open.
While you’re there, might we suggest ordering the happy hour cheeseburger, chicken wings, or chicharron nachos. Since they’re all only $8, you might just order all three.
The burger is a mighty little meat-packed patty, a trifecta of pork, beef and lamb topped with lettuce, tomato, pickle, American cheese, and Thousand Island dressing. It’s pretty perfect, and actually more filling than it looks. The wings are crisp and golden with just a touch of sweet-and-spicy heat, and come with a chili-lime yogurt sauce. Chicharron nachos are probably the biggest crowd-pleaser, a mound of crisped and puffy pig skin topped with smoked pork shoulder, avocado, cilantro and queso fresco. The regular menu is available too, so should you need a kale and apple salad, or snap peas with little itsy-bitsy fingerling potato chips to counteract all that meat, you’re welcome to order it.
One more bonus: A lot of restaurants with happy hours restrict you to the bar area only, even if they have a great patio. While those are the only seats inside at the Cannibal for free-snack and cheap-wine and beer indulging, there are a few outside tables for this power hour. So, yeah, ending a day with cool breezes on a summer day, a bottle of wine at a retail price and free meat? This could be happy hour of the year.
The Cannibal, 8850 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 310-838-2783, thecanniballa.com