Maybe you just got out of a botched Tide bleach commercial audition in Hollywood and have two hours to kill until your on-camera class. Or perhaps you’re stuck downtown after a lightning round of work meetings and can’t see straight. Either way, it’s 4pm and you need a drink. Surprisingly, that’s a tough task to accomplish in this town. Most LA bars tend to open somewhere between 5 and 6pm, leaving 4pm a desert when it comes to finding a solid cocktail to pour down your throat. Here are the 16 best bars with their doors open (and with some great Happy Hour specials too) when you’re just trying to figure out where the f*ck to drink at 4pm.
By now, you’ve probably heard a little bit about this outdoor Mexican restaurant in Frogtown. The tacos (and those housemade tortillas) are fantastic, the patio is one of the best in LA, and their cocktail situation is just as good. But did you know you can get those cocktails all-day every day now? Open 10am to 10pm (closed Mondays), you don’t have to wait until dinnertime to get any of their drinks (can’t go wrong with a late afternoon margarita) or something off their solid craft beer and wine list.
Seven Grand has been one of the best places to grab a cocktail downtown for awhile, and their 4pm open time (3pm on Thurs-Sat) makes them the best after-work option when your boss is out of town and you sneak out early with a fake cough. Seven Grand’s bartenders will make you anything you want, but if you aren’t here to drink whiskey, you aren’t doing it correctly. Their Happy Hour runs from opening to 8pm everyday and gets you $6 cocktails and $5 beer.
You and your best friend who’s in town just ate your way through Grand Central Market and are now looking for a stiff cocktail and a comfortable chair to work it off in. Make moves to Perch. The downtown rooftop bar/restaurant might not be new or particularly trendy, but it’s still a great place to go for strong drinks, great views, and an after-work crowd that’s far more laidback than the other hotel rooftops in the area. Happy Hour goes from 4 to 6pm.
Maybe you had an off-site work event in a retrofitted warehouse or an afternoon power cleanse yoga class that went late and you don’t want to sit in traffic. Either way, it’s 4pm and you’re stranded in the Arts District. Resident, the beer garden/music venue/all-day hang space, needs to be your go-to where drinks start getting poured at noon everyday and at 10am on Sundays. They have an excellent beer list, good cocktails, and water misters on the patio for when the afternoon sun starts raging.
Being stuck in Hollywood at 4pm is a weekly occurrence for many of us. And yet, no one ever knows what to do until that dinner we regrettably planned with a ex-coworker we haven’t thought about in two years. The answer is to go grab a drink at Know Where Bar. The low-key spot in East Hollywood is a welcome reprieve from the strung-out Tickle Me Elmo’s down the street and home to great cocktails made by bartenders who actually give a sh*t.
Yes, its British Pub aesthetic feels like something out of Epcot, but The Pikey on Sunset is one of the most reliable bars in West Hollywood. They have a great front patio, a laid-back crowd , and a very good craft beer list. Happy Hour starts at 4pm and goes till 7pm, and involves $3 PBRs, $5 wine, and half-off well cocktails. If you get hungry, their English pub menu is great and shockingly healthy.
Melrose Umbrella Co. is easily the best cocktail bar along Melrose. And while weekend crowds can get intense, few people realize they just added daytime hours as well. Now open every day starting at 9am (when they serve coffee), you really can’t go wrong with any of their cocktails, but their Mezcali Me Banana is as delicious to drink as it is fun to order out loud with a shoulder shimmy. Happy Hour is from 5 to 7pm.
It’s 3:30pm on a Friday, work is dead, and your best friend just texted you that it feels like a Weho night tonight. Drop what you’re (not) doing and make moves to Saint Felix. The low-key cafe/bar along Santa Monica Blvd. has one of the better Happy Hours in Boystown (4 - 8pm and basically the entire menu is discounted), but with a much calmer atmosphere than its neighbors. It’s still a little too early for total debauchery.
Beverly Hills has no shortage of hotel rooftop pool bars, but The Rooftop Grill at The Montage is far and away the best one. Is it a total scene? Yes. Will you probably see a 65-year-old woman wearing fur-trimmed leather Gucci slippers screaming about olives? Definitely. But that’s just part of the experience here. And so are the views, the strong cocktails, and the snacks menu you won’t hate. If you’re looking to get fancy with some daytime drinks in Beverly Hills, Rooftop Grill is where you do it.
Your best friend from childhood flies out of LAX at 6:30pm and wants to grab one more drink outside without enduring 200% humidity. Grab a table at Venice Beach Wines. The tiny wine bar on Rose Ave. doesn’t have the most expansive wine list you’ve ever seen, but it’s still solid, with a great front patio and a cheese/charcuterie situation we’ll happily get involved with. Happy Hour runs from 3 to 6pm and gets you $8 glasses of wine, $6 draught beer, and a lot of discounted food.
With four locations around the city, Plan Check is pretty much a local chain at this point. But it’s a local chain that’s still good for pretty much anything - and that includes finding a decent drink at 4pm. Its Santa Monica location is particularly useful, because if you’ve ever taken your parents to see the Third Street Promenade, you know you’re going to need a stiff drink afterwards. Plan Check has solid cocktails, a good craft beer list, and a Happy Hour that goes from 11am to 7pm.
You had meetings all day in Santa Monica and now it’s 4pm and your phone is telling you it’s going to take an hour and a half to get back to Hollywood. Just get a seat at Library Alehouse. The bar/restaurant on Main St. is the best place to drink craft beer on the Westside, with a far more low-key vibe than the rest of the vodka apocalypse occurring on Main St. Happy Hour: 3pm - 6pm, weekdays. Get the bison burger.
For some inexplicable reason, High Rooftop is one of the only rooftop bars on the Westside. It’s even more confusing that most days of the week this place is entirely easy to get into. Open from 3pm to 10pm on weekdays, High is the perfect spot to pull up to a couch, grab a cocktail, and watch the sunset in peace and quiet. Are the cocktails more expensive than other places in the area? Of course. But you’re paying for those ocean views as well.
The Culver Hotel is one of the better-kept secrets in downtown Culver City and its ground-floor bar is open all day, every day. Located down the street from the old MGM Studios (now Sony Studios), this place has movie history coming from every direction - case in point: the Wizard of Oz-themed cocktails. (Fact: the cast stayed here during filming in the 1930’s). Happy Hour runs from 4pm to 7pm every day, and involves $6 wine, $9 cocktails, and bar bites.
Anybody who’s tried to drive down Venice Blvd. in Culver City at 4pm knows it’s a death march. So pull over, grab a glass of wine at Stanley’s, and let everybody else rip their hair out. The new spot right along Venice is more of a wine shop than anything else, but the tiny bar off to the right is the perfect place to post up with a glass of Chardonnay and not be bothered by anyone. Happy Hour runs from 5 to 7pm on weekdays and gets you $6 draft beer, $8 glasses of wine, and $5 house cocktails.
After an hour of walking around downtown Santa Monica trying unsuccessfully to find a place the whole group wanted to grab a drink at, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Go start your own party at Cha Cha Chicken. The Jamaican jerk shack a block from the beach is completely BYOB, meaning you can roll in with your favorite six-pack or bottle of wine, grab a few cups from the ordering window, and have yourself an afternoon on their fantastic patio.