You’re picky about your happy hour. It’ll take more than cheap drinks and affordable bites to catch your eye. Everything has got to taste good, too. Fortunately, a number of bars and restaurants have upped the game with quality happy hour offerings that go beyond your typical well drinks and sliders. We’re talking sherry and food pairings and even a happy hour week with a different special each day. Here are the newest to entice you to stop by after you clock out.
Culina at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills has a new Crudo Hour (Monday through Friday, 6 to 8 p.m.) featuring dishes by chef Mette Williams. Enjoy selections like salmon with spring pea vinaigrette, mint, and pancetta dust, or halibut with strawberries for $6 each. Or there’s $2 oysters and a variety of snacks ($5 to $9) like prosciutto-wrapped polenta and shishito peppers with bottarga, basil seeds, and lemon. You can quench your thirst with 6-ounce carafes of Italian varietals ($7) picked by wine director Chris Bradford and cocktails like the Saba Moda with bourbon, saba, and barrel-aged bitters. Or go with a refreshing $6 draft beer like Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA.
One of the last acts of awesomeness that bartender Dave Kupchinsky did before departing from West Hollywood’s Eveleigh in February was create an Aperitivo Hour (daily, 5 to 7 p.m.) that highlights sherry and food pairings as well as low-ABV cocktails, just like they enjoy in Spain. His pairings include anchovies with Manzanilla, and an Oloroso with a fatty New York steak. But if you’re in a cocktail mood, try the refreshing Wicked Game, a bottled cocktail made with Campari, dry vermouth, blood orange and fennel gastrique, and soda.
The new Downtown 800 Degrees’ happy hour (daily, 3 to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.) has the standard offerings of $4 well drinks, draft beers, and wines by the glass, plus $2 off everything else on the drinks menu. But if you’re looking for something to nosh on, there’s a $5 small-bites menu, available all day, featuring 10 shareable plates like truffle-cheese bread, arancini, and grass-fed meatballs.
At the gorgeous Magnolia House in Pasadena, there’s a Neighborhood Hour (Monday through Friday, 4 to 6:30 p.m.) with food by executive chef Kyu Yi and cocktails by bar manager Colin Shearn (Philadelphia’s The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.), all for under $10. Fill up on the drunken nachos ($7) covered in beer-cheese sauce or split a Margherita flatbread pizza ($8). For drinks, there’s a $7 specialty cocktail “of the moment,” $6 house sangria, and five different craft beers, like Craftsman 1903 and Heavenly Hefe, for $5 each.
Enjoy $5 to $6 cocktails created by Godfather of Cocktails Vincenzo Marianella at The Independence’s new happy hour (Tuesday through Sunday, 3 to 7 p.m.) in Santa Monica. Sip on the light Laurel Canyon made with gin, lime, honey ginger, and organic egg white or the boozier Doheny with bourbon, apricot brandy, and Jerry Thomas bitters. For a snack, take your pick of savory bites like the $2 smoked onion soup shooters, $4 hanger steak skewer with chimichurri, and $3 Cincinnati chili sliders.
If oysters are your jam, then there’s the Third Street BP Oysterette’s Oyster Hour (Monday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m.), which has the largest selection of oysters in the city and at $1 each. They have at least 15, including two of their own unique oysters, the BP Royale and the Surfrider. Wash it all down with $5 draft beers and sangria and $6 house wines by the glass.
Edwin Mills in Pasadena keeps you on your toes with a different happy hour every day (Monday through Thursdays, 4 p.m. to close; Friday 4 to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Mondays are half price off all appetizers and alcohol; Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays have $3 martinis, appetizers, mixed drinks and beer; Wednesdays are half price of all wine and sake with live music; and it’s all-you-can-drink mimosas with brunch on the weekends.