The place: Bleeker Street: 18640 Ventura Blvd. Tarzana (818) 996-3008
The Hours: 4pm - 7pm daily.
The Deals: Half off select wines, appetizers and pizzas.
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The Digs: Bleeker Street is an unexpected surprise. While the address claims to be on Ventura Boulevard, it's actually tucked around the corner on tiny, nondescript Yolanda Street. An intimate patio out front gives way to a small space that maximizes every inch of square footage. Soaring ceilings, exposed brick and lots of candlelight make it feel hip yet relaxed. Owner Steve Hamile was inspired by Greenwich Village and wanted the space to reflect that. The bar, not surprisingly, is also small, with about 15 or so seats, but there is also a large communal table that is first-come-first-serve.
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The Verdict: There are two house wines available during happy hour for $5 each, so if you are looking for a deal on something a bit more potent or hoping for a large beer or wine selection, you won't find a bargain here. Their small appetizer menu is half off and really runs the gastronomic gamut, with selections like mac-n-cheese, sweet corn tamales and ginger-crusted ahi.
Probably the best deal is their half price pizzas. They normally run from $12 to $15, so for under 10 bucks you can get a filling and tasty meal. Of the eight or so pizzas they offer, the 42nd Street is their most popular, with caramelized onion, fig jam, prosciutto and gorgonzola. The service at Bleeker Street is attentive and relaxed, and you get the sense this is a place that is trying to cultivate a neighborhood-everyone-knows-your-name vibe. The food offerings during happy hour go above and beyond your standard after-work fare and the pizzas really make stopping by worthwhile. As for the service, it's friendly and professional, and the ambiance is laid back, modern and cool all at the same time.
Bleeker Street could easily get an A rating as a top happy hour destination except for one thing -- the drink deals -- which are basically nonexistent. To advertise for happy hour and then offer half off on only two wine selections, no matter how good they are, really misses the mark. They should definitely expand the selection on drink deals if they'd like to draw more people in, thus...
Overall rating: B +