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Happy Hour [ˈhapē ou(ə)r]: noun. A marketing term for a period of time in which a public venue offers discounts on alcoholic drinks.
For me, happy hour is any hour while the sun is setting or has already set during which I consume a leisurely drink with or without pleasant company. I love happy hour as much as Alex Kerkovich loves ribs; if I could, I’d go twice a day. My shortlist covers the vast expanse of Los Angeles… and shows you how far I’m willing to go for a good cocktail. Each of these spots is tried and true, setting the scene for a quick first date drink or a lengthy catch-up with friends. To get you in the mood, I added my picks for the right shade of lip color to go with each hour.
Neighborhood: Hermosa Beach
Must-try: grilled asparagus with crispy prosciutto, poached egg and truffle aioli + any of their craft beers brewed on the premise
Happy Hour: 5 to 7pm on weekdays for $4 Abigaile beers, $5 wines and more
The Lowdown: While I rarely find myself south of LAX, I would make the trek for Abigaile. You wouldn’t guess from the outside (and likely due to the fact that this space used to house Union Cattle), but downstairs is a sophisticated craft beer brewery with airy high ceilings. The upstairs lounge comes with your pick of tall tables fit for even larger parties; you will feel like you’re dining outside with large windows and a view of the ocean. For a brewery, you may be surprised at just how delicious their farm-to-table selections are.
Give Lip: Keep it muted and rosy beige with MAC Tinted Lipglass in Lust.
Neighborhood: Mar Vista
Must-try: Blackjack quesadilla with spicy pork and salsa verde – my mouth is watering already
Happy Hour: 11pm to 2am Saturday through Wednesday
The Lowdown: Technically a speakeasy off a nondescript corner of Washington Blvd., the fact that it served Kogi on a regular basis put Alibi Room on the map. I no longer chase food trucks, but this place holds fond memories for me. Without question, it is the first place I would go when looking for a no-fuss drink and a delicious bite. Best part is that the speakers generally surprise me with great ’90s R&B.
Give Lip: Go with easy Rosebud Perfume Co. Rosebud Salve to avoid any mishaps while you’re chowing down.
Neighborhood: 2 locations in Santa Monica + on Rose in Venice
Must-try: Moderna pizza (1/2 off during Happy Hour) + the Farro salad
Happy Hour: 5 to 9 pm at the bar every day
The Lowdown: This is one of my favorite restaurants in L.A.—consistent, group-friendly, and now with two locations convenient on the Westside. If I were to move, it would be close to the top of the list of things I miss. The Santa Monica location is reminiscent of small authentic Italian eateries, while the Venice locale is in the hustle and bustle of the hip Rose Avenue restaurant block. If you’re staying for dessert, I highly recommend the bignole served with salted caramel.
Give Lip: Let your lips sparkle subtly with a shimmery nude pink like Stila Lip Glaze in Kitten.
Neighborhood: West Hollywood
Must-try: Gangster cocktail (rain organic cucumber vodka, fresh watermelon juice & lime)
Happy Hour: Every hour at Laurel Hardware is happy, but there are no specials.
The Lowdown: Serving a seasonal menu for brunch, lunch, and dinner, Laurel Hardware is a disguised gem that is already too popular for those of us that love it. All the action happens in the back, so plan to have a late dinner on the outdoor patio then stay to mingle at the bar. Don’t get too attached to any of the greens/veggie dishes as those are the ones that change constantly, but know that with a little bit of discernment your meal at Laurel will be one of your best that month.
Give Lip: Stand out in red with RiRi Hearts MAC Lipstick in RiRi Woo.
Must-try: The Violet Beauregard (Tito’s Vodka, grand poppy liqueur, blueberries, thyme, fresh lemon juice, sparkling water) – she’s floral, strong and gets the job done
Happy Hour: Cinema Sundays features free movies, $2 popcorn and drink specials
The Lowdown: The only haunt on my list that doesn’t revolve around the food. It’s no secret that I love to read, so it’s obvious why I would choose this bar that’s decorated with shelves of (unfortunately) untouched books… a time and a place for everything. What I love about Library is the proximity to people; standing room only (okay, mostly) means countless opportunities to start up conversations and/or people watch. Plus if you’re looking for more action, The Standard Hotel is but a hop and a skip away.
Give Lip: Play up your inner old Hollywood vamp with AERIN Beauty Lipstick in Mercer, and see where the night takes you.
Neighborhood: Downtown Culver City
Must-try: Tuscan Chop Salad with crespone, burrata, kale, chickpeas, tomatoes, red onion and crispy prosciutto
Happy Hour: 4 to 7 pm on weekdays at the bar
The Lowdown: For teachers, those of use who used to “play school,” and all inner nerds, Public School 310 is the best way to feed your nostalgia for recess any night of the week. After a couple $4 drinks, the communal tables in the bar area may or may not be a great way to make a new friend. Snack sharing optional.
Give Lip: Make the night even more playful with a true fuchsia like Benefit Cosmetics Hydra-Smooth Lip Color in Dare Me.
Must-try: Pan con tomate with prosciutto
Happy Hour: 4 to 6:30 pm every day
The Lowdown: Your neighborhood coffee shop by day (with industrial floor-to-ceiling windows letting in sunshine, it’s a popular spot for locals to work all day on laptops), Zinque becomes a loud and lively wine bar after hours. One of the few places where you won’t feel guilty about drinking a glass of wine while the sun is out… it’s a fan favorite. For single girls on a budget, make sure to hit that 6:30pm cutoff because wine by the glass does get pricey here.
Give Lip: All you need is a sheer berry like Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Sugar Rose Tinted (the SPF is perfect if you’re visiting pre-sunset), and add an extra coat of mascara.
What are you favorite spots for a drink in L.A.?
While Catherine Abalos loves a good Moscow Mule, a well-crafted gin and cucumber cocktail, or a smooth glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Malbec, her signature drink is a vodka cranberry with a lime and a straw.