The place: Pann's Restaurant. 6710 La Tijera Blvd. Los Angeles; (310) 670-1441.
The Hours: Monday to Friday, 4 to 6 p.m.
The Deals: $2.99 cocktails. That's right. $2.99.
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The Digs: One word: Googie. More words: An actual diner from the 1950s (1958 to be exact), this is the classic American diner from the era. With retro diner charm mashed with spacey, populux architecture, the restaurant seems at once stuck in the past and oddly tilted towards the future.
Inside, a generous counter swooshes down the restaurant, red booths abound, and generous windows let in plenty of light. This is an L.A. landmark, and its close proximity to LAX practically guarantees that on any given visit, there will be an, ah, interesting cross-section of residents and visitors. Between the 4 to 6 p.m. happy hour, you're just as likely to run into other LA landmarks like Cardinal Roger Mahony (who sat down a few booths away from us) as you are likely to see random tourists making a pit stop before or after their flight. A dark, highbrow wood-paneled 16-seat restaurant with fedora-wearing mixologists whipping up farm-fresh egg whites with candied kumquats and organic vodka, this is not - but if you came in looking for that sort of alienating crowd, your spaceship landed at the wrong port. The Westside is further up that way.
The Verdict: One of the reasons why we always appreciate Pann's is because it has no qualms with serving diner-quality beer (Bud, Michelob) and wine (many variations on the Robert Mondavi theme) alongside its homey comfort food. And now we add another reason: with $2.99 cocktails from 4 to 6 p.m., this might be the most unexpected and random place to celebrate happy hour. The list of happy hour cocktails is simple and short (a margarita, Bloody Mary, mimosas, a sweet tea mojito, among a few others). The Bloody Mary was not particularly strong, and the margarita may have had more slush and syrup than alcohol, but there's salt on the rims and the mugs were full. For the price of a Happy Meal, we wouldn't expect any more, or any less.
The happy hour is limited to the cocktails, so you will have to pay full diner price for your plate of chicken and waffles, biscuit, or Dreamburger and fries. There are daily dinner specials, however, and, for your sweet tooth, you can't really go wrong with a slice of sock-it-to-me cake for $3.49.
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SHOW ME HOW
Sure, you're probably not going to go totally out of your way for this happy hour, but chicken, waffles, and a cocktail? That's a pretty great way to reward the partner/girlfriend/boyfriend/relative/best friend who battled traffic to pick you up from LAX in the middle of rush hour.