One good recent outcome of the economic downtown is the plethora of good-value happy hours around town. We’ve been doing our journalistic duty and trying them out; what follows are our current favorites. Note the late-night happy hours at a few places—great for visiting after a movie, play or concert.
Dish Bistro & Bar
Tuesday–Thursday 4–7 p.m. & 10 p.m.-midnight and Friday 4-7 p.m.
Our fave new Old Town restaurant is currently offering what they call the 3-4-5 happy hour: $3 bites and beers, $4 well cocktails and $5 small plates, including an onion and madeira soup gratinée, steamed P.E.I mussels, chilled grilled pears, and fried olives with roasted shallots, veal pancetta and ricotta. Well worth sampling.
53 E. Union St., Old Pasadena, 626.795.5546, dishbistroandbar.com
Dish Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Monday–Friday, 3–6 p.m.
They must start drinking early up in La Cañada, because this happy hour starts at 3 p.m., bringing the quit-work-early crowd half-priced beers, wine by the glass, well cocktails and appetizers, including barbecued pork quesadillas and calamari with spicy garlic mayo and ginger honey slaw. This is a roomy, homey bar that’s good for relaxed conversation, and the prices are modest to begin with, so half-price is a heck of a deal.
734 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada, 818.790.5355, dishbreakfastlunchanddinner.com
La Grande Orange
Monday–Friday 4–7 p.m.
The comfortable, friendly bar in this historic train-station-turned-restaurant has a classic after-work happy hour, with $3 beers, $4 wines and half-priced well drinks, including the house sangria and very good margaritas.
260 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, 626.356.4444, lgostationcafe.com
Monday 4:30 p.m.–closing, Tuesday–Friday 4:30–7:30 p.m., Sunday 7 p.m.–closing
Happy hour at this atmospheric former speakeasy hidden in the heart of South Lake’s shopping row brings a variety of deals: $2 to $3 off certain beers and glasses of wine, $7 margaritas and mojitos, 30% of menu items and other good-value offerings. Besides the happy hour, a few other bargains appear midweek from 8 to 11 p.m., including the $7 burger and fries on Tuesday, $5 all-you-can-eat mac ‘n cheese on Wednesday, and $7 pizza on Thursday.
492 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, 626.584.1126, magnoliaonlake.com
Sunday–Friday, 4:30–6:30 p.m.
Called the Aloha Hour, natch, this is a great happy hour for people headed for a movie at the Laemmle or a play at the Pasadena Playhouse, when it returns to life. A large list of cocktails, including the Hawaiian Martini and the dreamy Island Mai Tai, are just $5, as are glasses of featured wines and a few small-plate dishes. The lobster potstickers are on the puny side, but the two mini Wagyu beef sliders (with sweet potato fries) and crispy calamari are a great value for just $5. Check out the menu here.
641 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626.356.4066, roysrestaurant.com
Vertical Wine Bistro
Tuesday–Sunday 5–7 p.m.; Tuesday–Thursday late-night happy hour 10 p.m.–midnight
A great value for a chic evening in Old Town, Vertical’s happy hour includes 25% off food and discounted prices on specialty cocktails, beers and select wines by the glass. It also has a “Love for Locals” perk—just show an ID or business card with a San Gabriel Valley zip code and they’ll pour you a free glass of Prosecco with any food purchase. You’ll find the menu here.
70 N. Raymond Ave., Old Pasadena, 626.795.3999, verticalwinebistro.com
And one last unlikely addition: Gold Class Cinemas (42 Miller Alley, Old Pasadena, 626.639.2260, goldclasscinemas.com).
With the purchase of a movie ticket ($22 for members, $29 for nonmembers, so that’s no bargain), it has a Tuesday happy hour that brings half-priced menu items and tap beer and wines for $3. Full menu here.