The Place: Copa d'Oro, 217 Broadway, Santa Monica, (310) 576-3030.
The Hours: Tuesday through Friday from 5:30 to 8 p.m., all night Mondays.
The Deals: "Happy Depression" menu with $5 classic cocktails; beer and wine $5; panini $4-$6.
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The Digs: Just steps away from touristy Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, this elegant lounge offers a classy and yet approachable respite from shopping at the mall. Don't let the burly doorman guarding the entrance fool you: you're in even if you sport an "I Love LA" t-shirt, cargo shorts and flip-flops. The dimly lit room is decorated with Spanish colonial accents, rust-colored bar stools, a painted brick wall and chalkboards listing the cocktail menu. A long bar nearly running the length of the room is topped with jars and bowls of farmer's market fresh fruit and vegetables (a sign on the counter notes these aren't for snacking). The other half of the space offers a variety of banquettes, couches and arm chairs to everyone from the oh-so chic to tourists looking to break out their nice clothes. A couple of nooks for big groups of friends bookend the entrance.
The Verdict: A well-done Manhattan (on the rocks) for $5. Enough said. But if you do want to hear more, the "Happy Depression" cocktail menu has got to be one of the best happy hour menus in town, what with a dozen classic favorites like the Jack Rose, Moscow Mule and Champagne cocktail. Sure, the five panini are the only eats offered during happy hour, but you have your choice of savory, like the tuna melt, or sweet, like Nutella. And the ham and cheese panino is delicious with that Manhattan.
Overall Grade: A
For more, check out Our 50 Favorite Happy Hours.