Employees Only has been one of West Hollywood’s greatest dining additions since opening earlier this year. For those who haven’t been, it’s a culinary cocktail marriage of co-founder/bartender Dushan Zaric and Chef Sascha Lyon where bone marrow poppers, lamb chops, and pizza live happily together on the menu before you hit the speakeasy-style backroom bar.
The drinks are strong and if you are still standing at 1:45am, the staff will send you off with a homemade cup of their signature chicken noodle soup. The nightly ritual originated at the Manhattan Employees Only venue as a nod to Greek club traditions along with Zaric and Lyon’s own European backgrounds.
The signature soup is comprised of a family recipe with chicken, celery, garlic, bay leaves, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, cardamom, salt, and pepper. No matter how much you have had to drink, this is a great way to depart into the night – before you slip into an Uber or Lyft.
LA’s favorite pizza place, Mozza, has recently started a late-night happy hour menu from 10pm to midnight, Monday through Thursday. Sit at the bar and continue your night of drinking with discounted wines by the glass, and prosecco, along with grilled cheese sandwiches, fried chicken wings, meatballs, Nancy’s chopped salad and, of course, pizza.
Early Bird Happy Hour
We are very excited about this new open-air spot on a corner of Santa Monica Blvd. where Beach Nation once lived. The Golden Hour at Conservatory actually lasts from 3-7pm every day and there is plenty of room between the large bar, table tops, cafe and dining room to stretch out. Drinks range from hangover remedies to refreshing lemonade and vodka combos, so settle in for at least a few rounds. Be sure to order the charcuterie plate with truffle salami, and the cheese platter with Cyprus Grove. The lamb meatballs are also worth a try and the fried chicken sandwich was tasty. Stay until 6 and try to wiggle your way into the private back bar, Society Room, with a speakeasy feel and cocktails by Josh Goldman of Soigné Group. We will be spending a lot of time at this new spot between meetings and celebrating.
Happy Hour at 4pm
Our favorite new happy hour is at the Kimpton La Peer in West Hollywood’s Design District at Viale dei Romani which is actually an aperitivo hour helmed by four-time James Beard Award-nominated chef, Casey Lane. There are bites for $4 that include truffle fries or woodfired prawns, grilled calamaro and crispy clams for $9. Select wines and cocktails are $10. Options include sitting at the restaurant bar or alfresco in the courtyard, Aperitivo á la Viale dei Romani should be a must for your next meet and greet from 4-7pm Monday-Thursday and then 2-7pm on Friday through Sunday.
And, check out their new L’express lunch for only $29. Monday – Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Complimentary valet parking is offered at La Peer Hotel to Viale guests until 3 p.m.
Thanks to The h’wood Group and John Sofio of Built, Inc. – who seems to have designed almost every cool venue in Weho over the past handful of years, The Jeremy Hotel (soon to be a 1 Hotel) has a new rooftop lounge called Harriet’s that has one of the most comfortable open-air rooms for cozying up in a banquet to watch the sunset. Order shrimp cocktails and a Waldorf salad from a Bestia alum who curated the menu. And, 40 Love (pictured above) is the group’s latest upscale country club style bar which is geared toward sports with tilted flat screen television and fun finger foods like Kobe beef hot dogs and pizzettes. It opens at 4pm for happy hour, so take advantage of the front patio while the weather is still balmy – and we know where we will be watching the Super Bowl.
Happy Hour Heading East
Ma’am Sir in Silver Lake has received rave reviews for the Filipino inspired menu but they also have a killer happy hour during the week from 5 to 7pm (barring Tuesday when they are closed.) The hangover fried rice is delicious and one portion is large enough for two with sausage and topped an over easy egg and a steal at $7. Take advantage of the $7 wines and $5 beers or start a new hangover with a $5 shot of High West bourbon.
Otoño in Highland Park raises the bar for Spanish restaurants with chef Teresa Montaño formerly of Ración in Pasadena. We haven’t tried the paella yet but the happy hour here is more than a full meal with classic twists on tapas including, fritter of jamon serrano and pan con tomate, grilled local squid and gambas a la plancha with griddled blue prawns, cherry tomato, green garlic and brandy de jerez. Of course, you need to order a G&T from the list to accompany the Valencia orange marinated Spanish olives and the fried Marcona almonds. While other Spanish fare has suffered and shuttered around town, we think this intimate eatery has legs. Be sure to sit at the bar on a Sunday afternoon at 4 for some of these great deals and a delicious ending to the weekend.
Alexander’s in Pasadena is a high-end Japanese steakhouse has been around for a few years now but the social hour everyday from 5-6:30pm with wagyu sliders should not be missed if you are in the area for any reason – like a meeting with your accountant. What is new is a weekend brunch (Saturday & Sunday from 10am to 2pm) by Chef Travis Flood, that will snap you out of any funk or hangover in a hurry. Wagyu bacon with Anson Mills grits and truffle; grilled pork chops with kimchi fried rice and tempura onion rings; or tri-tip and eggs with potato ‘tots’ and chimichurri should do the trick.
Bone Kettle is one of our favorite Old Town Pasadena spots and they have just launched a 5 o’clock hour Monday through Sunday with craft beer, house wine and hot sake all for $7.00. Executive Chef Erwin Tjahyadi’s small plates include oysters, steak Tartare prepared with St. Helen’s Ranch hangar steak, chili vinaigrette, lemongrass, and krupuk. Chicken Wings made with fried citrus-brined Petaluma free-range chicken wings and charred lime; the Bone Marrow with scallion confit, toasted bread, mizuna, pears and apples, and Bone Kettle’s famous savory Oxtail Dumplings with seasonal mushrooms, leeks, and San Bai Su.
Happy Hour with Champagne
Bubbles & Brews is a new addition to The Montage in Beverly Hills. Yes, we miss Thomas Keller’s Bouchon across the way but here you can have that same spectacular European style courtyard view from the Café bar. From 3-6 they offer everything from Italian Prosecco to Roederer Estate Brut from the Anderson Valley along with a few sparkling rosés but don’t skip the crispy oyster and bacon sliders, spicy tuna tartare or truffle aioli fries.
At Crack Shack (Westfield, Century City) by Top Chef’s Richard Blais, they offer happy hour from Monday -Friday from 3-7pm with chicken lollipops and spicy biscuit sliders, plus discounted cocktails, beer, and wine. What they do offer all day and night from 10:30am to 10pm is crispy fried chicken and champagne. That’s right, there is a whole menu practically dedicated to one of the world’s greatest food-drink pairings. You can order by the bottle, along with a whole bird, or opt for the 5-piece meal and buy your bubbly from a Moët & Chandon vending machine. This is one of the best ways to toast recent purchases or to decompress after seeing A Star is Born.
Happy Hour at Home
For a ‘healthy’ happy hour at home, you can now order from the new Little West juice bar on LaBrea (formerly Clover Juice.) Elevate these fresh elixirs by pairing with a spirit of your choice. Some combinations they recommend: Sunrise X Champagne, The Quench X Vodka, Gold n Greens X Tequila, Gingersnap X Bourbon, Pink Lemonade X Mezcal. Sounds good to us!