by Allison Arbuthnot


November '10


October '10

"Los Angeles' Wine Bar Happy Hours"

"Best Rum Happy Hours in LA"

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"


Not all that long ago, when I first arrived in the City of Angeles and was floundering like a fish out of water trying get my bearings in the Beach Cities, I relied heavily on the advice of locals to find the desperately needed food and drink that would lubricate my transition. Hailing from San Francisco, to make me feel at home I needed a killer burrito, a good dive, and most significantly, cheap, high quality, pretension-free, hole-in-the-wall sushi.Chicken Taco

One place kept coming up again and again: Katsu! Japanese restaurant in Manhattan Beach. I'm not just excited-the exclamation point is an official part of their name; katsu is an expression in the tradition of Zen Buddhism, a kind of shout used to demonstrate one's enlightened state or to induce another to achieve their own enlightened state.

After a happy hour at Katsu!, you'll see that the exclamation point is quite appropriate.

Katsu! rocks their happy hour seven days a week, but it is one of the few happyChicken Taco hours that is actually only an hour long, with one exception. From opening at 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and for an extra hour until 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Katsu! offers nine different hand-rolls at $2.50 per piece, 99-cent cold draft Kirin beers and $5 Kirin pitchers. Hot and cold sake and house wine can be had for $4, and 13 different appetizers ranging from simple edamame and calamari to gyoza and Kurobuta sausage are available at just $3 each.

Chicken TacoThe restaurant, tucked behind a yoga studio on a busy intersection in Manhattan Beach, is not much to look at from outside, although plenty of people do look as a line starts to form at the entrance around 5:15 on any given day of the week. Inside, bright lime-green walls warm up the close quarters, made a bit more spacious by a triple split-level design.

Chicken TacoThe sushi bar at the entrance is often the first to fill up, then the long, rustic wooden tables. While some small tables do dot the floor, be prepared to sit family style if you come in a small group. Likewise, large parties are happily accommodated-almost every time I've been, there's been a party of ten or more. The place can get loud, but service is quick and efficient, and for a pauper's penny, you'll find yourself with a king's feast.

Chicken TacoHighlights include the almost-shockingly awesome calamari, the rich and creamy spicy scallop hand-roll (word to the wise: eat the hand-rolls as they arrive; the tender seaweed wrap quickly becomes chewy as it sits), the Nigori unfiltered sake, steamed shrimp dumplings, and the 99-cent beers (duh).

Chicken TacoNot to be missed is the baby crispy spicy tuna appetizer, a hot, crunchy, savory rice paddy topped with a thick layer of chopped Ahi sashimi, drizzled in sweet eel sauce and kicked up a notch with some raw jalapeƱo. It is an experience of contrasts-hot and cold, spicy and sweet-that, well...katsu!