Nestled near Los Angeles International Airport is the Proud Bird restaurant, whose banquet rooms and lounge are housed in a sprawling complex with an architectural style that might be called Hacienda Montalban. From the outside, the restaurant resembles a combat aircraft museum — real World War II Mustangs, Messerschmitts and Spitfires spread their wings alongside replica MiGs and Spads from other wars in the parking lot and out in back on long lawns. There are monuments to the Tuskegee Airmen and the Flying Tigers and, for sound effects, there is the constant roar of jets from across the street at LAX. (The restaurant's meditation tea garden and koi pond in front, while soothing, seem a little out of place here — especially with gas-flame torches belching fire on the nearby walls.) Once past the wall-to-wall galleries of aviation photos and memorabilia inside, you soon find yourself drowning in buckets of well scotch for $3.75 a drink (forget drink umbrellas — these pours require diving boards), or knocking back a Guinness at $4 a pop. Appetizers on the bar menu are cut in half to $5 during this time and, if the tempura fried shrimp, calamari and shrimp cocktail have the consistency of Tater Tots, you probably won't notice after your third cocktail. (Talk about 12 O'Clock High.) 11022 Aviation Blvd., L.A. (310) 670-3093, the Mon.-Fri., 4-7 p.m.

—Steven Mikulan

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