Hundreds of teacup candles hang ablaze on brick, setting the mood at Wilshire Restaurant, a dark, romantic haunt, designed by Thomas Schoos of Koi, TAO and Citizen Smith (to name a few). Sure, the new happy hour may not be as packed as its previous $1 martini nights, which ended in August, but for $7 a pop, cocktails are just as delicious, the clientele is just as chic, and you have that much more room to spread your wings in the swanky bar or extravagant patio. Happy hours can get rowdy with the wrong crowd or right bartender, but if you're looking for a place to lounge, warm by a shimmering fire, and actually hear what your bartender is saying, this is the place to hang your hat. Wash your drinks down with scrumptious appetizers and entrées — as the restaurant prides itself on hand-picking the freshest, seasonal ingredients from local farmers markets. Winos can look forward to Monday nights, which is half-price wine night, and on Thursdays stay up late for a second happy hour from 10 p.m. until midnight, ending just before you turn into a werewolf. 2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 586-1707. Mon.-Sat., 5-7 p.m., Thurs., 10 p.m.-mid.

—Celia Soudry

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