The place: El Chavito, 4441 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles (323-664-0871)
The hours: daily, 5-9 PM
The deals: $4 well drinks; $3 Tecates; cocktails between $4-7; $3 tacos
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The Digs: Attached to Silverlake's Mexican warhorse, El Chavo, El Chavito is a skinny snip of a bar, catering to the neighborhood's young and attractive as well as to the stylish out-of-towners staying at the party hearty El Tres Inn upstairs. Even at happy hour, it's dim and loungey, the low hanging chandeliers and candles casting an amber glow in the purple hued room. Later in the evening, it can be difficult to get a seat at the bar or at one of the smattering of tables along the long burgundy banquettes. But until nine, the intimate space is only partially full, which gives it a friendly, casual feel, making it easy to strike up conversation with the guy next to you about the merits of micheladas as a hangover remedy or to eavesdrop on the fashionably bespectacled screenwriters one table over as they bitch about the idiocy of their show runner.
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The Verdict: Though there is a small menu of food specials, El Chavito's is a drinking man's happy hour. Go for quality with the $6 "scratch margarita," a potent housemade blend, or opt for quantity with the $4 "house margarita," which is tart and well-salted. The four-dollar well drinks and three-buck Tecates are solid options, but we've reserved a place of honor in our happy hour rotation for El Chavito's michelada, a fiery, fizzy combination of Tecate, tomato juice, Tapatio, Worcestershire and loads of freshly squeezed lime juice. It may be an ideal hangover remedy, but it's also a pretty good choice for creating a hangover in the first place.
When it comes to food, most of the options like $7 nachos and quesadillas are a little too pricey to be truly happy hour friendly, but the three-dollar hard-shelled tacos, available in beef, chicken or potato, are sufficient to satisfy early evening cravings. Of these, potato is the best, particularly when topped with El Chavo's surprisingly piquant salsa, which comes with a $1.50 order of chips (though most nights you'll probably be offered some on the house).
While El Chavito won't blow you away with creative eats or copious meal deals, the service is friendly, the booths are comfy, the drinks are stiff, and the hours are long. It's enough to make us pretty darn happy.
Overall grade: B