College student? Broke? Wanna get your cheap drink (or eat) on?
If your answer was yes to 2 of 3 of those questions, then this article is for you. We’ve categorized the best bang for your buck happy hours around LA by neighborhood, if the occasion should ever arise (which it will) to eat and drank for cheap. Go post-work, post-doing nothing, post-class or pre- any of these things for those of you who are feeling a little frisky and/or embracing the “yes man” mentality (to somewhat hazardous levels).
#SpoonTip: Well drink = a drink made with the bar’s cheapest alcohol available… aka ideal for the broke college student who generally can’t afford to be picky (maybe go for the Grey Goose when you’ve graduated from top ramen dinners).
If you’re trying to get away from the crazy bustle on 3rd Street Promenade for a different kind of bustle this bar is for you. But be prepared to wait if you want a table. Voted Best Happy Hour on the Westside by LA Times 2012 and Best Happy Hour by Eater LA Fall 2013, it’s definitely a favorite local spot.
Happy Hour discounts on well drinks, cocktails, sangria, mimosas, beer and wine. But, sorry guys, gotta leave the kids at home because “children under 13 welcome before 5 pm, PG-13 environment thereafter.
You can check out the $5 Bar Fly lunch menu til 4 pm on weekdays for earlier options with the whole fam. Oh, and did we mention there’s a old school dumb waiter in the back? Yeah, pretty cool. Aaaaaand it boasts a state-of the-art speaker system to fit the mustache-clad bow-tie-wearing bartender vibe.
Located in Venice, well Venice…ish. Technically on main street Santa Monica, but between the tourist trap that is the 3rd Street Promenade (see Misfit) and the other tourist trap that is the Venice boardwalk (see Ganga-doctor… i.e. sketch med card central) sits O’Briens pub. $5-7 food, $3-4 beer, $6 sangria, $9 flights, outdoor seating and the beach about 10 steps away. What else could you need?
Don’t worry, there’s also green decor to bring back that Luck O’ the Irish Disney nostalgia, compliments of the Irish waitresses (…or waitress… sorry to say the exact count is still unclear). This place can also get pretty packed on weekends if you’re looking to get rowdy. They have both Wednesday night trivia and Thursday night stand-up at 8 pm before live band performances (here’s the calendar, we got you). Unfortunately music is after happy hour, but maybe start early (because why not?) and stay for the show.
Looking to fill that Chicago void? You can pretend its 60 below again – said no one ever –but seriously, come for some delicious Chicago-style food and drink, and even enjoy ’em on the terrace or rooftop patio. And hold on to your hats (although the windy city has probably already blown them away), Rush Street on Friday and Saturday nights 10 pm to closing becomes “Club Rush” with – wait for it – dress code, we know, an LA marvel. Barney Stinson would approve (no self five necessary).
Want more? $4 beer and wine. You can even get your tangerine dream, southern bell, or “flirting” cocktail for $6 or $7 (for a total of 7 specialty cocktails) – the same price as Rush Streets infamous sliders. Other than that it, has some other $5, $7 or $9 food options (Windy City Wings are involved).
Other “happenings” include specialty dinners at 5 pm as well as Saturday and Sunday “Red-Eye Brunch” – in other words $20 bottomless Bloody Marys and mimosas from 10:30 am-3:30 pm. And you can have all that right on Culver City’s main drag inspired by the OG Chicago strip.
For a bit of an older vibe, ironically get on over to UCLA’s college town of Westwood for happy hour. Wells and cocktails for $7 (yes, there is a watermelon margarita option), as well beer and carafe’s galore. Happy hour also features discounted food, and may we recommend, seriously recommend (just try it), the kale salad. When in LA no? Although, disclaimer: Goji berries not included, you’ll have to settle for quinoa. Life’s hard, we know.
Feeling more childish? It’s conveniently located across form Westwood’s Hammer museum. So, if going drunk to a museum is still waiting for a check mark on your bucket list, stop on by. There are also cheeseboards, lamb lollipops, and some fancy discounted flatbreads if you’re looking to further muddle those youthful and sophisticated lines.
Whether you need to impress your internship boss or you’re just looking to get a little shmancy, The Montage Hotel’s Scarpetta surprisingly has a happy hour deal. Signature cocktails drop from $14 to $9, and wine is $8. Not a bad spot on a nice or rainy day (it has a convenient, never needed covering), with a view overlooking the Canon Gardens and fountain.
Found also in NYC, it has a bunch of top notch reviews by Food Network host and Top Chef Scott Conant (with two published cookbooks might we add). Esquire magazine also voted it one of the “Best New Restaurants in America,” so we doubt it’ll disappoint.
Beers, mules, and sangria for $5 isn’t even what gives this spot its name. In the center of West Hollywood’s Melrose Avenue, along with it’s vegan or “plant-based” Mexican fare, Gracias Madre (ideal for it’s trendy location and floppy-hat-wearing clientele) dons a well-lit outdoor terrace with trees artfully wrapped in warm lights.
The food is sourced locally and all grown organically from local farmer’s markets, as well as from it’s own farm called, we kid you not, Be Love Farm located in California (taking the happy hippy vibe to an all time high).
Happy hour includes their famous sangria, Mezcal Mules, beer and other cocktails all for $5. If you come for a boozy brunch be sure to check out the Mexican Mimosa or Madre Maria (basically a Bloody Mary), but if you’re on a health kick get the (undoubtedly) LA-inspired Madre Green Smoothie. But we will warn you, don’t order a coffee unless you’re cool with almond milk – we tried it, and it was still surprisingly good.
Two words: tequila tasting. Bliss or bar? We don’t know, your choice. Unless you’ve soured the experience with that particular alcohol. In which case, avoid Monday nights, but it’s only one of the many events they have.
Petty Cash offers flights every which way: vertical, horizontal, and agave (please note: not a direction), and it has a ceviche bar with optional sea urchins – only for those who the phrase, “If it’s from the sea, it’s not for me,” doesn’t speak to an emotional and spiritual level.
Not only do you get delicious guac (seriously some of the best we’ve had), but the tacos, margaritas with “the good stuff,” and cool ambiance right on Beverly Blvd. walking distance to the bars on Melrose (yeah, walking distance) makes this spot even better.
It’s also adorned with hand painted murals by local street artists and graffiti art by the kitchen staff (a group of many talents) and a backroom with a shuffleboard table. Food-wise they have special menus as well as seriously delicious zucchini blossom tacos and pizza style quesadillas, if you’re into that kind thing – which we are. Also, be sure to check out the Fly By Night or Oaxacan Old Fashioned, along with Mexican spirits and beer from their cellar.
Come for cool grungy vibes – yes there is a car hood featuring a pin-up, and the string lights hanging above graffiti-ed walls – and stay for the $5 happy hour for any beer or any starter including popcorn chicken, garlic pub fries, pretzels, and more (all highly recommended). It’s worth the gas money for the trek or Uber/Lyft – let’s be real, you’ll be drinking more than one.
It’s also close to a bunch of other great spots on SNL‘s “The Californians” featured street “Cahueeeennggaaa” if you’re feeling like making a Hollywood night out of it. But forget Old Hollywood’s Roaring 20s, District 13 additionally has “The Roaring 10’s” every Saturday night with live music from 9 pm to 1 am featuring $5 pints.
You can also watch sports on any of the 6 hi-def TVs for your viewing pleasure. And that’s not all – 22 rotating taps of draft beer, including plenty of gluten-free options for some local LA flavor.
Once you’re done at District 13, hop next door to a more bougie environment. St. Felix includes 2 bars, some seriously awesome decor, and a beautiful patio with outdoor lights (we know it’s like Christmas, or Chrismahkuh for you Seth Cohen fans out there).
It also includes a wide variety of excellent food from Portobello mushroom risotto croquettes –yes, you read that right, to Moroccan chicken cups, to Felix’s very own crowd-pleaser mac & cheese (but don’t worry they didn’t forget the white cheddar, Gouda, blue and Parmesan cheeses and bacon).
Saint Felix also has a WeHo location if you’re in the mood for less of a trek (depending on your starting location) or a more rainbow-infused experience. The WeHo location sits in a fun area as well, across from the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood’s design district, by the Troubadour concert venue, and across from The Abbey for some more muscle-and-spandex-filled fun.
Working downtown or just into that up-coming “trendy” vibe or in mom-speak “hip” vibe (cue the “mommmm stopppp”)? Then this is your New-Orleans-inspired spot. Preux & Proper encompasses a bright interconnected outdoor/indoor area and an upstairs terrace with a great view of downtown (high rises to your hearts delight).
It’s packed with a variety of types and ages andddd a game table, sorry we have no idea what type. But we do know that there are NoLa style po’boys, fritters, and some apparently delectable crispy frog legs for the brave-hearted who may or may not be among us.
Head over for “Rhythm & Blues” – aka 10 pm Tuesdays filled with moonshine and music. Every other day enjoy innovative drinks, 12 beers on tap, and 6 frozen daiquiri flavors with a nice breeze from the open set up and windows, all perfect for the recently very hot LA summer days. It’s also conveniently located on Spring Street, just a hop skip and a jump away from the art galleries (…and skid row so maybe don’t jump).
Your classic old-style bar with red leather booths, orb-shaped lights that actually say Cole’s (noticing this is a great level of drunkenness test), and a healthy dose of good ol’ old fashions. But it’s not just decor, Cole’s is the oldest public house.
It also has bragging rights as the originator and home of the famed French Dip Sandwich since Cole’s 1908 founding in the Pacific Electric building. On that note, be sure to check out the OG penny style floors, historic photos, and red car bar (preserved and awarding winning) – woot woot it’s old things.
As if all that wasn’t enough, cocktails for $8, well drinks and beers for $5, $2 off of any spirit, $6 wine and champagne aaannd food options. Plus all day and night Happy Hour Tuesday. You’re welcome.
The twist? Cole’s is also the front to a secret bar. You didn’t hear it from us, but the 20s style speakeasy “Varnish” features flappers and a waiting list at the not-so-best-kept-secret door at the back of Cole’s. So if you’re looking for some bootlegging, time-machining sequin action then have a beer at Cole’s while you wait your turn.
In Downtown LA’s financial district, the dimly lit and eclectically decorated Salvage is located in the 1926 landmark (now The Roosevelt Residences). If it’s name wasn’t a giveaway, Salvage’s odds and ends interior incorporates design elements, fixtures, and materials literally salvaged from the original construction of the historical building. The Sherlock Holmes style also sets a mysterious tone with candle (well electric candle) lit rooms, an orb clad terrace, preserved wooden tables, artfully exposed brick, and murals galore.
You can basically see Robert Downy Jr. sitting at the plush mismatched leather chairs within arms reach of the bar’s creative menus, which are placed on the inside flaps of real books, that you can actually read. That’s right folks, real books not kindles, iPads, ebooks, or any other electronic device… a throwback, we know.
Happy hour also includes $5 beer, wine ‘n wells, and oodles of the bar’s featured organic $7 cocktails. Whether you want to marvel at a bygone area, pretend to be your favorite pipe-smoking detective, or enjoy some discounted drinks check out this new bar and lounge for a distinctly unique experience.
Rock, booze and blues… this is not a drill, it’s item one on the event page for the website. Every Sunday 3 pm-6 pm, be there or miss the overall wearing bartenders at the boat shaped bar with mason jar candles and brick-exposed walls. Don’t take our word for it check out it’s website for info and drink-related humor. That plus the online bar blog pretty much says it all.
All drinks $5 during happy hour so go get your dark n’ stormy, mule, Manhattan, mis or “man”mosa. And keep in mind, acclaimed as home away from home for whisky lovers, it houses $5 Whiskey Wednesday if the Live Jazz Sundays aren’t your thing (but honestly who doesn’t like live jazz? If the answer is you then just you’re missing out).