September '10

"Los Angeles' Sexiest Happy Hours"

July '10


"The Happiest Tradition"

"Best Happy Hours in West Hollywood"

June '10

"There's More Than Booze in Bouzy"

"LA's Longest Happy Hours"

"The Secret is Out: Happy Hours at LA's Speakeasies"

April '10

"Classic LA Happy Hours"


For many of us who imbibe now and again, Happy Hour is an old friend of a term. Its name rings with fond memories of cheap beer, free hot wings, and, of course, unqualified happiness. But for most of us, Wednesday afternoons spent sucking down dollar drafts before dinner dissipated when we graduated college and entered the world of expensive cocktails and maturity, and rightly so. These days, however, given the current state of affairs in the country, let’s not be so quick to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because we’re grown-ups, we needn’t subject ourselves to the limitations of pricey-drinks-or-no-drinks-at-all. All across this fair city, bars and restaurants are bringing the discounts back. From beer bars on the beach to Hollywood rooftop lounges, Los Angeles food and beverage establishments are pumping new life into this old and beloved tradition of late afternoon libations, of friendly fraternizing—a tradition of relaxation. You, Los Angelenos, are cordially invited back to Happy Hour.


In classic American irony, Happy Hour has its roots in the Prohibition Era US military. During the 1920s, the United States Navy would schedule afternoon entertainment breaks for their men on ship—wrestling and boxing matches and the sort—to help the sailors unwind. Whether or not they were hitting the sauce at sea is unclear to me, but something about the wrestling must have made the men smile because it was there that the term was born. Back on land, thirsty Americans everywhere were creating the tradition that would adopt the Happy Hour name from the Navy. With Prohibition in full swing, the nation was having a heck of a time trying to enjoy a sober meal, so they would pack into a speakeasy and throw a few back before settling in for a dry dinner. After Prohibition ended, cocktail lounges faithfully carried on the ritual of pre-dinner drinks, and an industry was born.


After a peak in the ‘70s followed by a dive into dive bars-only status, today Happy Hour is the comeback kid of the restaurant world. Fueled by economic pressures, even the classiest of joints outside of your typical Happy Hour demographic are offering reduced price drinks and nibbles in an effort to bring in lagging clientele outside of peak hours. And don’t forget about your neighborhood joint that has had a killer low-key Happy Hour all along. In the South Bay, you can slug $3 beers ocean-side at Barnacles Bar and Grill in your flip-flops (4 – 8 p.m. weekdays, 837 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach) or dress it up a bit and head to Manhattan Beach’s Mucho Ultima Mexicana for $5 beer, wine, margaritas and appetizers during their celebrated Cinco de Mucho Happy Hour (5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 903 Manhattan Ave.). Whatever your swilling style, it’s high time you stopped being a tight-fisted teetotaler and celebrated the hard times the way our forefathers taught us how: with a good ol’ fashioned Happy Hour. Bottoms up!