Whether you’ve been slaving away in a Financial District law firm or daydreaming about how to crowdsource your organic shoe company in the Arts District, one thing is true: after a long day of work, you’re thirsty. And now that DTLA is finally a place you want to hang out, the after-work drink scene is intense. Very intense. Most popular places will be at capacity by 4:30pm, and the people inside are there for one thing - happy hour.
Competition for the best drink and food specials is stronger here than anywhere else in the city, but that doesn't mean all bars with a $5 margarita are created equal. So whether you’re heading out to unwind with co-workers, biding time before a game at Staples, or simply looking for a cheap way to forget your life, here is our just-updated guide to the best spots for after-work drinks in DTLA.
Co-worker Linda’s feet hurt again, so she left early, and you got stuck with her sh*tty project again. Time to forget how much you hate that woman and go unwind on our favorite patio downtown - Everson Royce Bar. The craft beer and wine lists are seemingly endless, but its two-hour happy hour narrows it down: Select wine and cocktails at $7, and a pitcher of beer for $15. And no matter what, you aren’t leaving without their burger in your stomach.
Brack might be one of the newer spots on this list, but it doesn’t take long at this upscale sports bar to realize it fills a major void in the area. If you want to grab a drink and catch a little bit of the game after work, but not be submitted to the rowdy hoards over at the LA Live bars, Brack is your move. The vibe is fun but laid-back, with excellent cocktails, a great happy hour, and a Welsh Rare-Bit -- AKA rye bread covered in cheese and mustard. It’s phenomenal.
Not only is Simbal one of the best all-around restaurants you probably aren’t going to enough, it’s also home to one of the best happy hours too. Tuesday-Friday from 5:30pm-7pm, this modern Asian-fusion spot in Little Tokyo has craft beer for $5, house cocktails for $8, and all food options under $9. That steak tartare is already calling your name.
That’s right, West Hollywood’s favorite Irish pub is now downtown and it got one hell of an upgrade. Whatever claustrophobic muscle memory you have of the Sunset Strip location should be put to rest - this place is massive. There are two separate bars, a great outdoor patio, and a television everywhere you look. Oh, and those Irish nachos thankfully made the trip downtown as well.
For however disappointing Clifton’s food continues to be (hence that rating you see), its cocktail situation remains on par with the best downtown. Sure, its wilderness aesthetic makes Splash Mountain feel subtle, but sometimes that’s just the kind of escapism you need after another day of inhaling your boss's corpse breath. There's actually a few different bars within Clifton's, but the Monarch Bar is the one that does happy hour. And it's fantastic craft cocktail list will repair any and all olfactory damage.
The casual Argentinian cafe over by Staples has stayed fairly under the radar, but has proven to be one of the area’s best spots for a quick drink and a bite to eat. Their Apertif Hour runs daily from 5-7pm, and everything from the Campari cocktails to the shot and the beer to the snack trio is a flat $8. And that’s a nice break after mindlessly crunching numbers for the past seven hours.
The last few years have been kind to casual drinking crowd in downtown, and Pez Cantina might be the best addition of them all. The coastal Mexican restaurant has delicious, affordable food across the board, but it’s that four hour happy hour (and great patio) that separates this Bunker Hill spot from the pack. So what does the four hours of bliss entail? Everything from the craft beer, to the ceviche tostada, to house-made cocktails are all exactly $7. Easy math, easier buzz.
The classic Santa Monica standby opened in the heart of the Financial District a few years ago and basically became an after-work drinking magnet overnight. The 4pm-7pm happy hour has imported beer under $5 and pitchers running at a cool $16. And if you’re looking to grab some food, all tacos are $3.25. Not a bad way to cope with the fact your job has never made you happy.
You completely blanked that today was your annual evaluation and things did not go well. There's no better way to get away from it all than on one of the best patios in the city and an after-work drink situation that'll get you all kinds of wine drunk. Looking out over Pershing Square, Perch has a view you don’t get much of in LA, with the calming vibes (and live jazz music) to make you forget your boss told you he's very aware you nap at your desk each day.
Library Bar has been downtown drinking staple for awhile now, but it’s after-work scene is the best time to go. The kitschy library theme is definitely palpable, but not in the way that makes you sad to be there. The vibe is cool, low-key, and never so crowded that you can’t breathe. They have a strong beer and cocktail list ($5 margaritas), and an above-average bar food menu if you want to eat grilled cheese and never tell anyone about it.
B.S. Taqueria might be the casual older brother to the more upscale Broken Spanish, but it should never be looked at as an option B. This bright little taco joint is just as good as its revered sibling, with the festive vibes that make it the ideal after-work drinks spot. The food is incredible and the cocktail game is just as strong. And during its 5:30pm-7pm happy hour, you can get it all for $6 a drink. Or $2 Tecate, if it’s been one of those of days.
Cole’s is probably most well-known for being the “other” home of the original French Dip sandwich, but come weekday happy hour, it houses something much more important - $1.50 tots. That’s right, a heaping pile of God’s most blessed food for only 150 pennies. The $6 beer list and French Dip sliders don’t hurt and neither does the all day happy hour on Tuesdays.
If the after-work plan involves watching the Lakers lose, there’s no better move than Yard House. The LA Live sports bar mega-chain is a qualified sh*tshow, but whether you’re going to watch the game on TV or in person later at Staples across the street, Yard House is where it all begins. The food isn’t great (and will set you back a day’s worth of caloric intake), but the 100+ beer taps speaks for themselves. Just eat beforehand and don’t get mad when you can’t find a seat.
Spring St. Bar might not look like much from the outside, but this Historic Core drinking hole is one of our favorites. They have a massive happy hour (3pm-7pm) with all their 26 beer taps running somewhere around $5. There are no happy hour specials on the food, but spending $9 on one of their fantastic sandwiches is a move we endorse. And despite its central location, Spring St. has a very mixed crowd, lessening your chance of running into Ellen from accounting and her bone-crushing coffee breath.
Over in the Arts District, Cerveteca has thrown its hat into the after-work drinking scene with a happy hour situation that rivals anyone's. Think $1 oysters & LA street dogs, $6 sangria, and everything else that makes humans joyful after a full day of staring blankly into a computer screen. If you’re over the briefcase and bro crowd, Cerveteca is your move.
Yes, that Fleming’s. The upscale steakhouse chain might not exactly win your heart over with local flavor, but you can’t deny its downtown location as an after-work juggernaut. Why? The Five-Six-Seven menu. Every day from 5pm-7pm (get it?) Flemings puts out a happy hour food menu that might be the best in DTLA. The beer situation is a little dire, but if you’re in the mood for wine or cocktail, you’ll be fine. And seriously, nothing beats that $8 cheeseburger.
It’s Thursday, you haven't been able to differentiate workweeks since 2012, and you need whiskey. A lot of whiskey. There’s no better spot in downtown for accomplishing just that than at Seven Grand. The dark, sexy bar is a whiskey-drinkers heaven, with $5 happy hour cocktails (from open till 8pm) and $6 personal pizzas to soak it all up with.
It seems some people aren’t totally aware that one of LA’s best casual restaurants, Plan Check, has a downtown location now. Well you do now, and that means their first-rate beer list and excellent bar food is ready your after-work needs. And come happy hour, you can shave off $2 from any of the draft beers and a $9 jidori chicken sandwich that's easily our favorite in town.
If you want to still watch the game, but aren’t in the mood to deal with the bro barrage at LA Live, Bottle Rock is your answer. Still only a few blocks from Staples, Bottle Rock has a fantastic nightly happy hour and an extended one during game nights. Their tap list is good, but the move is to pull from their to-go fridge and pay the small corkage fee. That might sound a bit ridiculous, but drinking Pliny on a Tuesday night for $10 does not.
Deep in the heart of the Arts District is a tiny wine bar that’s one of those places you walk into and wonder why it’s taken you so long to get there. The industrial space is stark, but welcoming, with one of the best happy hours not just in downtown, but all of LA. $5 across the board for sangria, beer, and all the red, white, and sparkling wine you can handle. All food is $5 as well, including an oxtail taco that has no business being as good as it is.
PS 213 benefits greatly from having one of the most central locations (6th and Flower) in downtown. But the popular mini-chain continues to bring the crowds in with their surprisingly good food menu and a decent beer stock. Their 4-7pm happy hour (excuse us, “Recess”) keeps all food and beverage below the $7 mark and that’s a recipe for success any day of the week.
No one is doing any calorie counts at The Black Sheep, but if you’re in the mood to get sloppy with some burgers and carne asada tots, you’ve found your Holy Grail. The Black Sheep is technically Asian-fusion which means you shouldn’t be surprised to find a Thai chicken sandwich next to your Smokey Western Burger. The vibe inside is fun and perhaps a tad rowdy, but with $4 Soju bombs during happy hour, no one is wondering why.