When you’re traveling to Los Angeles, eating well isn’t hard to do. But if time doesn’t allow for a lengthy, formal dinner, hitting a high-end happy hour is the best way to casually experience cuisine and cocktails at some of the city’s top restaurants. Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, you won’t want to miss these luxury happy hours around L.A.
Sophistication meets steak in the heart of Beverly Hills at Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Wolfgang Puck‘s CUT Beverly Hills inside Four-Star Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel). If you can’t squeeze in a reservation to the popular eatery, Puck’s Sidebar is just across the hall and shares the same kitchen as the Four-Star restaurant. On weekdays from 5-7 p.m., you can nosh on such fare as dry age New York skewers with Argentinean salsa rosa, which pairs well with hand-cut French fries that are served with garlic “Béarnaise” aioli; or the persimmon bruschetta with French burrata and micro basil. Cocktails here are expertly crafted and span from the Pepino’s Revenge (Patrón Silver tequila, Japanese cucumber, basil and lime juice) to the Hello Kitty (passion fruit rum, Bacardi 151, passion fruit and orange juices, ginger and chili syrup).
Tucked inside Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Montage Beverly Hills, celebrity chef Scott Conant’s expansive happy hour at Four-Star Scarpetta lets you bask in a Mediterranean ambience while indulging in Italian fare. Get comfortable on one of the couches in the lounge while you gaze out onto the sublime Beverly Canon Gardens and kick off your evening with a cocktail such as the Sole (Buffalo Trace bourbon and muddled pineapple topped with sage and cracked black pepper). The lounge offers a variety of specials during the aptly named Happier Hour (4-8 p.m.); it’s up to you to decide whether the day calls for a duo of tartare (tuna and yellowtail) crowned with Osetra caviar; braised Tuscan kale toast with smoked shelling beans and a sunny side up hen egg on top; or the ever-indulgent pancetta-spiced porchetta served with smoked borlotti beans and broccoli rabe pesto.
Stepping into the tony West Hollywood hotspot is one amazing way to kick off your night in style. In fact, its perch on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Robertson Boulevard, makes for prime people watching. Though there may be more to gawk at during the evening, the menu for the Tuesday-Saturday happy hour (4-7 p.m.) has its way of turning heads, too. You’ll find tastes of the restaurant’s famed Italian fare in the way of meatballs with tomato sauce and basil, veal tonnato with caper berries, the black truffle burger with fontina cheese and a selection of classic cocktails (think negronis and bellinis), wine and draft Prosecco.
Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Thomas Keller sources the freshest ingredients and finesses his food with top techniques at Bouchon Beverly Hills. Just downstairs from the swanky establishment you can spend the afternoon soaking up the sun on the patio of Bar Bouchon. The weekday happy hour (4-7 p.m.) offers light bites such as a daily selection of oysters, an extremely addictive truffle popcorn and salmon tartare, in addition to a changing wine selection, cocktails and craft beer.
What better way to toast to a night spent downtown than with a reverse happy hour 24 floors up with 180-degree views of the glittering lights of L.A. Elegantly perched atop The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, Wolfgang Puck’s Nest will offer a Night Owl menu that commences on April 4, and will continue on Friday and Saturday nights after that from 10 p.m. until close. Graze on spicy chicken wings with a sweet and sour glaze; salt and pepper Monterey Bay calamari with a Thai red curry vinaigrette; Jidori chicken chili; Dan Dan dumplings; and Chinese doughnuts with dark Valrhona chocolate dipping sauce. Starting in May, Nest will also feature live DJ sets.
Photos Courtesy of Cecconi’s, Scarpetta and Bouchon