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Cheers! Get Happier With These 14 Great Happy Hours

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Summer’s officially over, and the long slog towards the fall and winter holidays has begun. So what’s left to look forward to at the end of each day? Happy Hour, of course! Those glimmering hours replete with cheap booze and bite-sized eats can provide incentive to make it through a long day, and Los Angeles is rife with great options. Whether it’s $3 beer and wings in a sports bar, fancy bar food with a martini in an elegant lounge, or something in between, happy hour is all about getting a deal and winding down from the day, or winding up for the evening. And perhaps most importantly, happy hours are a chance to eat and drink well in this city on a limited budget.

As the food and booze revolution in Los Angeles continues, happy hours are getting better and better. Sure, you can still get post-work nachos and a cheap G&T in a variety of places (and, yes, that is still a gift), but far more exciting things are happening out there during the hours of 5-7 (and beyond). So here are 14 great happy hours (or, in some cases, happy hour empires) to visit as the sun sets ever earlier.

Of course, it’s impossible to end there, so here are a few runners-up: All of the 213 Group Bars have terrific happy hours, each reflecting the character of its establishment. A favorite is Cole’s Red Car Bar, with Happy hour drinks Mon-Fri. 3-7p.m. and all day Tuesday with $5 half dips and fries, but check out Las Perlas across the street for your tequila and mezcal needs.

At the other end of the spectrum, is Ammo which is elegant, sophisticated, and features locally sourced food. It recently launched a terrific, and unexpected, happy hour with an array of selections from its appetizers, including French radishes with butter, a delectable little grilled cheese, and a truly superb gin and tonic. They have different special offers at different times, so check out their website, or follow them on Twitter for more info.

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And finally, The Association. In addition to a nice charcuterie and cheese plate option during happy hour, this love child of a 70s fern bar and an 80s coke den offers excellent craft cocktails and a welcoming atmosphere. Relax on the little black leather settees, sip delicious, affordable cocktails, and enjoy downtown before things get rowdy and out of sorts.

The above list is heavy on the crafted cocktail, delicious eats and an atmosphere that encourages conversation. I’m not a fan of the buzzy, post-office chatter, or televisions in public places, but since many people are, those options remain readily available. Check your neighborhood bar (or Rush Street , much as I hate to say it. This bastion of dependable happy hourness in Culver City is consistent, noisy, vigorous and dependable. It’s just so crowded. So very very crowded). Lola’s still has giant martinis at great happy hour prices and dependable bar food, but the noise level is a burn-out.)

So chime in with your favorite happy hour location, and tell us what you love about it. Particularly if you have reccs from the Valley. And remember, all Happy Hours are subject to the whims and needs of their establishments. Call ahead or look on the website to confirm.