The Place: Agura, 514 N. La Cienega Boulevard, West Hollywood, (310) 289-1940.
The Hours: Monday through Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m., bar lounge and patio only.
The Deals: $3 Sapporo draft beer, $4 well drinks and house red/white wine, $6 specialty cocktails, $5 appetizers.
The Digs: A long alley leads you to the entrance of this Japanese-French fusion restaurant housed in a former church on La Cienega Boulevard's restaurant row in West Hollywood. The heavy sliding door reveals the hostess stand two steps in from the doorway. A small, dark bar lounge with about four seating areas pushed together is located to the left and an airy main dining area furnished with banquettes and ornate high-backed chairs on the right. A large golden Buddha statue looms over the sushi bar and three private dining rooms can be accessed by some steps, shoes off of course. The patio, which is elevated above street level, is right outside the main room and decorated with Japanese masks and red paper parasols and looks out onto the busy boulevard.
The Verdict: This happy hour is for the girls, what with three signature cocktails — Lychee Pomatini, Holy Cosmos and Rising Sun Mojito Lime — that are sure to have you sipping pinky up. All made with soju and juices and served up in a cocktail glass. Perfect for gaggles of girlfriends to toast their shopping finds from the Beverly Center down the street. If cocktails aren't your bag, however, there's always the pink sparkling sake. Small plates ranging from spicy yellowtail rolls (5 pieces) to popcorn shrimp tempura can be ordered and split. The spicy tuna roll here actually has an interesting kick, maybe jalapeños. Not in the mood for Japanese fare? There's always the bacon and onion quiche, salmon nachos or the salmon escabeche. If you're more about food than drink selection during happy hour, this will do. Only thing is, with hardly any other patrons on the patio and no one wanting to sit in the very dimly lit bar lounge inside, it can get kind of lonely and almost cheerless. But if you roll with your own entourage that shouldn't be an issue.
Overall Grade: C+
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