Last week's State of the Union promoted a generally positive economic outlook. If your pocketbook is more cynical about times ahead, you may find yourself defeated by the meager options at your disposal for living well in an expensive city. If you define "living well" as indulging your craft beer habit, rest easy. That's where happy hour comes in.
Happy hour is a golden moment in a beer lover's life. Peak occupancy is hours away, bartenders are available for information and conversation, and if you're in the right place, the beer you adore is cheaper than at any other time. Not every beer bar offers happy hour, but there are a few places where you can get in before crowds and costs escalate and enjoy a moment of beer bliss. Turn the page.
5. Naja's Place
Hours: M-Th 2-6 p.m., F noon-6 p.m.
Beer special: $4 pints from a selected list, off the 88-tap menu.
Why we love it: The longest happy hour on our list. Naja's offers a huge selection of beer, from high-brow to low, coupled with low prices that will make the ocean sunset you're bound to enjoy even more beautiful.
Where: 154 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach; (310) 376-9951.
Hours: M-F 4-6 p.m.
Beer special: $4 pints; choose from 15-16 happy hour selections out of 26 tap lines
Why we love it: For this beer menu, the only constant is change. Enjoy rarities for less, but be aware of the swarming crowds that develop and discombobulated tourists who wonder if y'all just have an Amstel Light?
Where: 2911 Main St., Santa Monica; (310) 314-4855.
Hours: M-F 3-7 p.m.
Beer special: $3 domestic drafts, $4 imported drafts
Why we love it: If you've been to a Yardhouse, you'll know your way around this happy hour. A great place to take your friend who has been dragging his heels about craft beer -- he'll be comforted to see the Fat Tire and Blue Moon he's familiar with while you rattle on about the nose on your St. Bernardus abt 12.
Where: 10351 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 432-4360.
Hours: Daily 6-8 p.m.
Beer special: $4 pints; choose from four happy hour offerings out of 28 lines.
Why we love it: Happy hour here extends an hour later than almost any of your other craft beer purveyors. While the selection is limited in number, you can find reliable favorites cheaper than some of the lattes you've bought. What Surly Goat lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in quality.
Where: 7929 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 650-4628.
1. City Tavern
Hours: M-F 3-6 p.m., S-Su 3:30-6 p.m.
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Beer special: $10 for 32 oz. "share" pours. Includes almost all 22 tap selections.
Why we love it: If you're ordering on the side of strong or hard-to-find, this is an especially shrewd financial decision. Play the game right and you're getting a 50% price reduction ... seven days a week.
Where: 9739 Culver Blvd., Culver City; (310) 838-9739.
And don't forget that for $1 off standard draft prices during happy hour, check out Congregation Ale House in Pasadena and Beer Belly in Koreatown. Or try 38 Degrees in Alhambra for $2 off house beers, and 25% all draft beers at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks.