The glorious San Fernando Valley. Spatially vast, heavily populated, and wildly lacking in proper places to drink. Or so we thought. Today, it's time to put your ignorance to bed and minimize the attitude long enough to see the truth — that from Burbank to Agoura Hills you can always find a decent beer.
From properly sanctioned establishments pushing the envelope of the beer industry, to dusty dives where you can still drink quality beer cheaply, to burger joints that perfect craft beer pairings, there are no excuses for being thirsty. Turn the page for eight reasons why you should stop complaining about being in the Valley, listed from east to west.
What: Not far from the Bob Hope (we're told 'Burbank' wasn't good enough) Airport has long lived a stalwart establishment serving cold beer to more than two generations of Burbank residents. Its current incarnation, Tony's Darts Away, from the unstoppable Tony Yanow, continues the tradition of placing a happy buffer between patrons and their sobriety. With 40 California-exclusive draft beer selections to choose from.
Why: While there is no happy hour beer special, there are vegan sausages to entice you. And if meatless meat doesn't suit you, the consistent top beer bar ranking should. 1710 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; (818) 253-1710.
What: At this Sherman Oaks house of barbecue and beer you will find more than 40 beers on tap and a generous bottle list. It's a great place for a pulled pork sandwich and a beer. It's an even better place if you haven't had Russian River's 2009 Supplication — the reserve list is highly seductive. A wise group would join purses for a build-your-own vertical tasting.
Why: Happy hour spans Monday – Friday 4:30-6:30 p.m., with 25% off all draft beers. Not only is the beer reserve list worth a visit, but the whiskey offerings are plentiful — just how we like it. 13539 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; (818) 906-7427.
What: Offering eight beers on tap and a bottle list of 50 domestic and imported craft selections, you're sure to find something here to your taste. The casual but bustling ambiance sets the appropriate mood for a burger and a beer. Upon entry you'll roll your eyes at the abundant usage of canine imaging, but you'll also probably walk away somehow charmed.
Why: Adjacent to the ungodly 405/ 101 interchange, this a perfect location to avoid road rage. Happy hour, Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m., supplies you with free fries or bottle caps with the purchase of two beers. 4525 Saugus Ave., Sherman Oaks; (818) 990-2583.
What: A perfectly respectable burger and beer joint in the wildly enthralling hamlet of Encino. The beer list is decent, albeit limited and a touch pricey, but the burgers are generously portioned and indulgent. You're not alone if a visit here has you replaying scenes from a certain 1992 Pauly Shore film. No wheezing the juice.
Why: On weekdays from 3-6 p.m., happy hour upgrades your 16 oz. to 23 oz. for free, or try a $3 beer cocktail. Check in on Yelp for another free upgrade. 17620 Ventura Blvd., Encino; (818) 532-1815
What: Featured in our Best Neighborhood Bars post from February, Instant Replay once again makes the list. Why does a decidedly dive bar with a modest beer list still garner our attention? Because we have a soft spot for places built for drinking, where pretension is more conspicuous than the neon sign out front. Plus they make the effort to keep you notified of keg changes via Facebook.
Why: Ten craft beers on tap. Cheap prices, happy hour or not. And Reyes' Taco truck out front will get you on your feet again. 21927 Saticoy St., Canoga Park; (818) 712-0628.
What: The small Wolf Creek chain in Santa Clarita Valley has extended its operations to Calabasas. With ten beers on tap, six of which come from their own stores, they're making a concerted effort to bring a little craft class to a suburb saturated by Kardashians. House brews explore styles outside West Coast IPAs; the bottle selection is small, but includes a few imported selections to round out your options. You'll be glad you didn't go to the Cheesecake Factory.
Why: Stop in for happy hour weekdays, 4-6:30 p.m. and get $1.50 off any draft beer. 26787 Agoura Rd., Calabasas; (818) 880-6300.
What: It may be a last stop before leaving L.A. county, but Agoura Hills is not without decent beer. The Lab Brewing company provides 31 hospitably-priced tap selections with plenty of West Coast IPAs for the hopheaded. Featuring eight house brews, you'd be remiss to go without trying their Belgian Trippel. There are no bottled beers — but you won't miss them if you stop in during happy hour.
Why: With a huge time range, happy hour, from Monday to Saturday from 3-7 p.m. and all day Sunday, provides $4 house beers. 30105 Agoura Rd., Agoura Hills; (818) 735-0091.
What: Nine house brews are always available at this Agoura Hills brewery, but the casked offering — which changes weekly — is especially worth visiting. There are also six guest taps to broaden the selection and a small but select bottle list. Make sure you've had the Ladyface IPA.
Why: Weekday happy hour from 3-6 p.m. features $2 off beers and cocktails. We also love how up-to-date their Facebook page is, so you have no excuses when something special comes up — like the casked Chesebro with apples and apricot. 29281 Agoura Rd., Agoura Hills; (818) 477-4566.