Koreatown's Best Happy Hours
Koreatown is a great neighborhood, known for its abundance of soju, craft beer and cocktail bars. But only a few spots achieve peak happy hour — the trifecta of good drinks, good food and good deal$. These are the best of them.
Pro Tip: Since finding parking here in Koreatown, one of Los Angeles's most densely developed neighborhoods, is a competitive sport, take the Metro or snag a rideshare.
Here's Looking at You
One of the best places in K-town for dinner and a drink just launched a brand-new happy hour this month. Since the restaurant is usually buzzing as soon as it opens at 6 p.m. (on weekdays) through dinner time, Here's Looking At You offers its food and drink specials after 9 p.m., when things usually quiet down. Sure, it's late but the deal, which is more dinner than bar bites, is irresistible: $25 for a cocktail and a dish. (Cocktails are usually $16-$17 and menu items are $15-$19.) You can pick from a handful of dishes including a gem salad, beef tartare or bone marrow but we recommend the burger. This is the only time (and way) it is served: a double cheeseburger of two dry-aged beef patties, two slices of white American cheese and housemade Thousand Island dressing on a potato roll. The three cocktail offerings may change but currently there's an Old Fashioned variation, a sour and something sparkly.
- Happy Hour: Daily 9 p.m. - close
- 3901 W. 6th St., Koreatown. 213-568-3573.
Although the Koreatown establishment loved by everyone from locals to the James Beard reviewers doesn't have an official happy hour, Guelaguetza's "especiales," offered during certain hours of the day (2-6 p.m. on weekdays), are some of the best in the area. With ample seating, office entourages can roll in and go family style on the Oaxacan offerings like quesadilla fritas ($4.50), chapulines a la Mexicana ($7.50) and Festival de Moles shredded chicken breast sampler platter ($12, regularly $29). All draft beer is also half off during these times. For more liquid variety, margaritas cost only $7 Tuesdays, you get Ancient Peak wines for only $7 on Wednesdays and 2-for-1 Tecate Micheladas onFridays. The restaurant is wheelchair accessible with a ramp, and valet parking is available.
- "Happy Hour": Monday-Friday 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
- 3014 W. Olympic Blvd., Koreatown. 213-427-0608.
Since opening four years ago, Normandie Club has dominated Ktown's craft cocktail scene. In September, it finally debuted a new happy hour. It features a short menu of classics — Old Fashioneds, Vespers, Moscow Mules — made by high-caliber bartenders for a mere $8. (They normally cost $14.) For something simpler, order the shot or beer of the day for $5. Although the venue is handicap accessible, seating is primarily booths and banquettes as well as the stools around the bar. The venue can get packed. Street parking on this block is notoriously scarce, and the valet stand for the Hotel Normandie is located around the corner on Normandie.
- Happy Hour: Daily 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
- 3612 W. 6th St., Koreatown. 213-263-2709.
Score one of the best burgers in L.A. during happy hour at Cassell's. The irresistible daily special gets you a burger, fries and a craft beer for $15. (The burger along usually costs $10.95.) Keep the party going with a $7 Moscow Mule, Gold Rush or Margarita or an $8 Old Fashioned. For beer lovers, all brews are $1 off. The restaurant offers ample seating and room to move between each two-top. Since Cassell's is part of the Hotel Normandie, they shares a valet parking stand, located in front of the hotel entrance around the corner from the restaurant. With validation, it's only $3 to park for two hours.
- Happy Hour: Daily 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
- 3600 W. 6th St., Koreatown. 213-387-5502.
For a sophisticated dining destination/karaoke hotspot, The Venue presents an array of tasty and affordable Korean-esque bar bites during its happy hour. How about $7 karaage wings or fried chicken with a kimchi waffle, $9 nachos with grilled chicken and avocado or an $11 charcuterie plate? Nervous would-be singers are in luck. Liquid courage is cheap and varied ‚ $5 beer, $6 well liquor, $7 house wine and an $8 Old Fashioned. Specialty cocktails, such as the Whiskey Houston with Irish whisky, clover honey, mandarin, lemon and bitters, are $5 off (normally $13-16). In addition to the bar area, which has a communal high-top and lounge seating with winged-back chairs, there's a dining room with a variety of two-tops. The subterranean restaurant is wheelchair accessible and also provides validated parking at a nearby parking structure, if you spend at least $30 at the Venue.
- Happy Hour: Monday - Thursday 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
- 3470 Wilshire Blvd., B-1, Koreatown. 213-221-1251.
Escala, a Colombian Korean restaurant and bar, has one of those dinner-ruining happy hours. The food specials — street corn ($3), carne asada beef sliders ($3 each, two for $5), beef or kimchi rice empanadas (two for $5) — are limited but they're filling. Sip $4 pints of Hite or Stella Artois or $6 glasses of red or white wine, shots of well liquor or a shot of Jameson, or a "slow & low" Old Fashioned on tap. The restaurant's entrance is wheelchair accessible and a few tables near the front can accommodate a wheelchair, but the tight spacing in the crowded restaurant may make it tough to maneuver. Valet parking is available out back for $5.
- Happy Hour: Daily 4 p.m. - 7 p.m., Sunday - Thursday 11 p.m. - 1 a.m.
- 3451 West 6th St., Koreatown. 213-387-1113.
Hae Ha Heng Thai Bistro
Come for the $1 gyozas, egg rolls and fried wontons, stay for the $23 tower of draft beer (regularly $32). This Thai restaurant, located on the second floor of a strip mall, has a crazy cheap happy hour and you definitely want to hit it with a crew. Shareable bar bites include $3 edamame, $6 Cajun wings, $7 chicken or beef satay skewers and a $7 stack of calamari rings. The broad selection of drink specials includes $5 craft beer, $4-6 hot sake, $6 house red wine, white wine or sangria, $6 soju cocktails and $12 soju smoothies. Grab a seat indoors near the cute VW bus counter or out on the dog-friendly patio. The mall has valet parking ($2.50 with validation), a subterranean garage and one handicap parking spot next to the elevator.
- Happy hour: Daily 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
- 301 S. Western Ave., Ste 209, Koreatown. 213-388-2407.
For those poor souls stuck in the office past 7 p.m., Mama Lion's got you. Not only does its happy hour pick up where most end, at 7 p.m., but it also offers a late night one. With high-end food and drink selections on the cheap, it's not one to miss. Feast like kings on a half dozen oysters for $12, a little gem salad for $6 and crisp chicken sliders or dry rubbed chicken wings for $8. The late-night menu has heartier bites such as $12 smothered tater tots with short rib chili and $14 steak sliders. Classic cocktails such as Daiquiris and East Sides are $6 while the Margarita and Old Fashioned are $8. Designated drivers get free soft drinks, and not just during happy hour.
- Happy Hour: Tuesday - Friday 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., late night Tuesday - Saturday 11 p.m. to close
- 601 S. Western Ave., Koreatown. 213-700-2754.
Seafood-loving night owls will benefit more from EMC's late-night happy hour than 9-to-5ers looking for a post-work watering hole. The nighttime food specials menu far more extensive with $5 fish tacos, $8 yellowtail ceviche, $9 soft shell crab sliders and $1.50 oysters. The only food deal during the early evening happy hour is $1 oysters. Regardless of which happy hour you choose, draft beer, sake, sangria and house wine are only $6 each.
- Happy Hour: Daily 3 p.m. - 7 p.m., Sunday-Thursday from 10pm-close, and Friday-Saturday from 11pm-close
- 3500 W. 6th St. #101, Koreatown. 213-351-9988.