When we went looking for all-day happy hours, geographic diversity was a priority. But striking patterns emerged -- namely, the bars most likely to discount booze beyond the typical late-afternoon hours were located mostly in 9-5 work destinations. In fact, from Santa Monica to downtown, all-day happy hours cling to I-10 so devotedly you'd think SigAlert determined the value of a drink. Venture into the Valley and, generally speaking, you'll find establishments serving cocktails and beer whose prices are unaffected by the inflation of the Westside. Often they don't call it happy hour there -- they just call it cheap.
So call all-day happy hour a gimmick if you want. Or call it a desperate attempt to lure office drones away from their work. But we're not complaining. In fact, we offer congratulations to those of you living or working somewhere along the I-10: You've got a really great excuse to start drinking now.10. O'Brien's:
There is no shortage of British and Irish pubs on the Westside, but O'Brien's is unique in offering cheap drinks, every day, nearly all day. Yes, it's decked out in typical expat splendor with mahogany touches, seasoned wooden tabletops and vintage Guinness signs, but we're convinced that the best place to sit at O'Brien's is outside. A no-frills ensemble of shaded patio furniture provides a buffer for observing high-maintenance gymgoers and bronzed beach fanatics hunting discount designer maxi dresses. Watch the game or the people, but do so while you're chasing $3.50 domestic bottles and $5 well drinks, wine by the glass or premium draft beers with a round of chips and guacamole or potato skins. The casual vibe is as refreshing as the ice-cold beer. Happy hour daily, noon-7 p.m. 2941 Main St., Santa Monica; 310-396-4725.9. Wokcano Long Beach:
L.A. is home to six of Wokcano's pan-Asian, nightclublike restaurants, but the Long Beach location is the only one lucky enough (or unpopular enough) to have a happy hour that runs until closing four nights a week. As long as you don't mind sitting in the futuristic, Blade Runner-reminiscent lounge, you can enjoy discounts from 3 p.m. until well past midnight. Unlike a lot of all-day happy hours that offer only a handful of items on discount, Wokcano's offers sangria, well drinks and multiple flavored vodkas for $4, $5 sake bombs and a dozen or so sushi bar creations at roughly half-price. With more than enough options to keep things interesting and so-called "lounge nights" Friday and Saturday, when a DJ comes in, this is one all-day happy hour worth the trek to Long Beach. Happy hour Sun.-Wed., 3 p.m.-mid.; Thurs.-Sat., 3-7 p.m. Lounge-only happy hour Thurs.-Sat., 7 p.m.-1:30 a.m. 199 The Promenade North, Long Beach; 562-951-9652.8. Yen Sushi and Sake Bar:
The website for Yen Sushi and Sake Bar stakes its claim as the place that invented all-day-every-day sushi happy hour. There is no way to verify such assertions, but the happy hour at Yen has at least been around long enough that it's not uncommon to see entire groups of regulars ordering discounted grub and drinks without ever looking at a menu. Located on "the Balcony" (aka the second floor) of a Ralphs shopping center in a gray area between Mid-City and Beverly Hills, Yen is the perfect pit stop when traffic on the 10 seems too formidable or you're just looking to stuff your face and get drunk for less than $20. Small sakes for $1.99 and $1.99 mugs of draft Kirin are just the beginning of Yen's extensive happy hour menu, which also includes sushi, hand rolls and fresh rolls all starting at $2.99 apiece. There's a paltry $7.99 minimum per person if you're ordering off the happy hour menu, but get a Banzai Roll (regular price $9.99) and a beer and you're solid. Happy hour daily, all day. 9618 W. Pico Blvd., #509, Pico-Robertson; 310-278-0691.7. Palomino:
An upscale Mediterranean restaurant located among dozens of college-friendly dining options in Westwood might sound like a doomed business plan, but with quality food and drinks plus an "all-day, every day" happy hour menu available in the elegant bar area, Palomino has managed to stay on the corner of Glendon and Lindbrook for more than 15 years. Sit in the comfy leather chairs that surround imported marble tabletops or grab a leather stool at the long, wooden bar and cozy up with $5 basil gimlets and whiskey sours or $4 glasses of Sycamore Lane wine. Perfect for both professional meetings and after-work rendezvous, Palomino's happy hour allows you to be as sophisticated (expertly fried calamari for $10) or primitive ($5 cheese-stuffed sliders) as you choose. Happy hour daily, all day. 10877 Wilshire Blvd., Wstwd.; 310-208-1960.