The Westside can be a goofy place these days: There's the tech scene in Silicon Beach, the tourist trap that is Venice Beach, and the surfers, hipsters and corporate culture everywhere in between, from Westwood to Santa Monica. But if there's one thing that can unite everyone for a drink, it's that magical hour (or two or three) known simply as happy hour. Whether you’re looking to relax after a long day at work, catch up with a friend or just save some dough on date night, these great deals on drinks and bites are here to help. From the happy hour–only burger at Ox & Son to $2 oysters at the Lobster, here are our favorite happy hours to check out on the Westside.
While Brick + Mortar’s bottomless mimosa brunch may bring this Main Street eatery the most attention, its best kept secret is the happy hour, offered Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m. With six hours of discounted plates and drinks, there’s plenty of opportunity to try out the whole menu. Shared items range from $5 to $12 and include a chuck burger, chili-glazed wings and a cheese board, while pizzas will run you $11 and come in four varieties, including barbecue chicken and margherita. Pair it with a $5 well drink, a $6 house wine or a draft beer, which are $2 off during happy hour. 2435 Main St., Santa Monica. (310) 450-3434, brickandmortar-brg.com.
It may be located at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel, but FIG has won over a local crowd with its locals-only happy hour, FIG at FIVE, which runs daily from 5 to 6 p.m. Instead of curating a separate, discounted menu, FIG keeps things simple and offers half off most items on the regular menu. Which means happy hour patrons can ball out on a budget with FIG’s high-end and seasonally inspired dishes, including the steamed Manila clams and fresh bucatini pasta. The only downside? Happy hour is interpreted literally here — it's offered for just one hour — so you may have to chow down fast. 101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 319-3111, figsantamonica.com.
A bit of a hidden gem, Palomino in Westwood offers what could easily be considered the best happy hour in the city — in part because it’s not actually an “hour” at all. In fact, Palomino offers happy hour prices all day, every day, in its bar and lounge areas, seated on a first-come, first-served basis. The extensive menu features a selection of small plates from $4.95 to $11.95. There are Sicilian meatballs, truffled deviled eggs, and crab and artichoke dip, as well as pizzas for $9.95 to $10.95. But no happy hour list would be complete without drink specials: Palomino’s includes $4 draft beers, $4.95 wine by the glass and $5.95 cocktails — including our favorite, the basil gimlet. 10877 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood. (310) 208-1960, palomino.com.
With views as picturesque as the ones from Santa Monica Pier–adjacent the Lobster, it’s no surprise that the regular menu items cost a pretty penny (or two). To take in the ocean views without forking over your whole wallet, check out the “happiest hour,” offered Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The menu includes $6 cocktails, including the signature mojito and margarita, and $2 oysters of the day. Other small plates, which range from $4 to $12, include the lobster roll, crab taquitos and truffle fries. 1602 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 458-9294, thelobster.com.
In the heart of the Santa Monica tourist hub and just off the Third Street Promenade, Sushi Roku might sound like the last place you'd want to unwind after a long day at the office. But don’t be fooled by the bustling out-of-town crowds out front — this hip Japanese eatery caters to budget-minded locals during its daily happy hour, Monday through Friday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Selections include $5 martinis, beers, sakes and wines. Pair them with $3 to $6 bites such as popcorn shrimp ceviche, albacore tacos and Robata-yaki skewers. 1401 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 458-4771, innovativedining.com/restaurants/sushiroku.
Bodega Wine Bar
One of Santa Monica’s most versatile wine bars, Bodega is an ideal spot for everything from a first date to a girls' or guys' night out. Its daily happy hour specials, which run from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 p.m. until close Sunday through Thursday, only serve to sweeten the deal. Broken up into categories, the happy hour menu boasts $6 wines, $4 beers and $6 soju drinks. (True to its name, this spot isn’t permitted to serve a full bar, so all cocktails are made with the Korean liquor. We’re not complaining.) The menu is rounded out by $6 appetizers, such as the bacon-wrapped Medjool dates and $8 pizzas, ranging from the classic pepperoni and mushroom to the inventive brie and apple. 814 Broadway, Santa Monica. (310) 394-3504, bodegawinebar.com.
Ox & Son
If you ask us, a great happy hour is a daily happy hour — which is exactly what Montana Avenue spot Ox & Son offers with its 3 to 6 p.m. “Social Hour” (which is actually not one social hour but three). The happy hour menu aptly reflects chef Brad Miller's overall concept and vision by offering elevated and modern interpretations of traditional comfort foods. Menu selections include $2 oysters, $8 chicken croquettes and the $15 ’Merica Burger (two beef patties topped with pickles, cheese and lettuce), which is offered only during Social Hour. Patrons also can snag discounted draft beers, wines and punch bowls — and what better excuse than a punch bowl to bring a group of friends along? 1534 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 829-3990, oxandson.com.
For old-school Venice Beach vibes, Hama Sushi’s happy hour comes with a side of vintage surf videos, a vibrant outdoor patio scene and a prime location on Windward Circle just blocks from the ocean. Locals dig this spot for its fresh, high-quality ingredients, and the happy hour offers much the same food at impressively low prices. The deals run from 4 to 7 p.m. daily and include rolls, starters and drinks. Appetizers, including soft-shell crab, baked mussels and edamame, start at $2 and go up to $6, while a selection of hand- and cut rolls will cost you $5 each. Dine in at happy hour and take $1 off all beers, sake, wine and martinis. 213 Windward Ave., Venice. (310) 396-8783, hamasushi.com.
Uber-trendy Main Street eatery Areal offers a little something for everyone. For sports fans, there's a bar area filled with TVs; for boozy brunch fans, there's a scenic outdoor patio; and for the rest of us looking to pinch our pennies, there's happy hour. The only problem with the extensive happy hour menu, offered Tuesday through Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Monday from 5 to 7 p.m., is that your eyes might be bigger than your stomach. There are $3 tacos and fries, $5 bacon-wrapped dates and shrimp quesadillas and $4 sliders. But don't forget the beverages: Areal offers $2 off all draft beers, $6 glasses of wine and $7 to $10 cocktails. 2820 Main St., Santa Monica. (310) 392-1661, arealrestaurant.com.
Enterprise Fish Co.
Tucked just off Main Street and across from the beach, Enterprise Fish Co.’s sprawling seafood-centric concept typically caters to crowds of families and tourists. But thanks in part to its happy hour menu, this spot is also a favorite among Santa Monica locals. Arrive between 4 and 7 p.m on any day of the week or from 9 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights to indulge in $1.50 oysters on the half-shell, $2 oyster shooters and $4 vodka and tequila oyster shooters from the raw bar. Bar favorites, such as Hawaiian poke, mesquite grilled artichoke and kobe beef sliders, will run you $5 to $9, while premium small plates including fish and chips, day boat scallops and lobster rolls, are $7 to $20. Pair it with a beer, wine or well cocktail, which run $4 to $7. 174 Kinney St., Santa Monica. (310) 392-8366; enterprisefishco.com.