HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >



Our group will be a Skirball for a ceremony on a Friday in June and want to head to a happy hour on the the Westside around 4pm.
I need suggestions on the Westside but not too far from the 405. Many people come from south of LAX so keeping it central without hitting too much traffic on a Friday afternoon would be a plus. Also needed is good prices on food, drinks and most important-- a private area (doesn't have to be a room) for us to mingle. We will be celebrating and we can be a bit boisterous. A variety of ages, but economy is the key.
The group wanted to go to the Marina, but that drive will take nearly 45 min at that hour.
Can you suggest somewhere that's reasonable, easy access and easy parking?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Check with the Bel Air Bar + Grill http://www.belairbarandgrill.com/ and see what they can do for you.

    1. There are a number of pretty fun happy hours in Westwood Village. I like The Glendon, personally, that's where my co-workers go to celebrate the completion of a project. They have a "mezzanine" section -- sort of like a loft -- where they can host a private group.


      1. West at the Hotel Angelino is just next door and has great views and open space. Could be fun.

        1. Bel Air B & G is probably not large enough for your group but close and worth a shot.
          SF Saloon or Upper West, both on Pico, would likely work out.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Ciao Bob

            re: SF saloon
            although i haven't been there in years, unless you've made some special accomodation, i don't see a group of 40 descending on them a friday night without warning as being a very good idea.

            with a group of 40, on a friday night, it would be a good idea to make reservations/accomodations almost anywhere you go.
            also, don't be shocked if many places are not willing to extend happy hour prices to a group such as yours on a friday night.

            1. re: westsidegal

              At 4 in the afternoon, even on a Friday, they would have SF Saloon to themselves in all likelihood.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  Maybe not, but they can take over the whole west end of the place and it's first come, first served there so once they have their tables they can occupy them as long as they want.

            1. re: mc michael

              Vibrato is great and not too far, but NOT inexpensive or a place to be boisterous.

            2. You can book a private room at the Westside Tavern.

              1 Reply
              1. re: wienermobile

                and another advantage of westside tavern is the easy availability of parking for all.

                dunno if they have a formal "happy hour" but the free self parking should offset this.

              2. Most of the good happy hours in Westwood Village are defunct, especially with the loss of Acapulco and their discount margaritas. Palomino is good but popular, crowded, and probably won't work.

                Wilshire has a very good happy hour menu, from the looks of things. Food from bites at $5 to substantial snacks at $7, and $7 drink specials as well. On Wilshire at 25th in Santa Monica, on the south side, but easily accessible from the 405 heading west. They have valet parking, but street parking isn't impossible, and i don't know if the parking just east behind the Shack, now also gone, might be available. They have a separate bar area to the right in front as you enter that your group could pretty much take over if your group got there around 4 and not as late as 5.


                3 Replies
                1. re: nosh

                  wow nosh, it looks like they are offering alagash black for happy hour. GOOD FIND!
                  thanks for posting.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    thanks, wsg. i didn't know what alagash black is... (it is a beer.)

                2. So far they're great suggestions, but too pricey. West had a $3500 minimum! That is far to spendy for our school budget!
                  I'm so sad that there's no place in the Village anymore. That would have been perfect. Sigh... Bel Air Bar & Grill will likely be too pricey as well and SF Saloon isn't really nice enough.
                  What about ideas down the hill in Sherman Oaks or Encino. Suggestions?

                  20 Replies
                  1. re: compucook

                    Directly behind the Whole Foods is Blue Dog Tavern http://www.bluedogbeertavern.com/ which would be worth checking out.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Blue Dog Tavern is fun, makes good burgers, and has parking. But it is beer only, and is very casual, even funky. And gosh, I wouldn't want to negotiate the 405 north from Skirball (Mulholland) to Ventura Blvd. then back south on a Friday evening.


                      If you are looking for something "nicer," the suggestions so far that I'd investigate are The Glendon and Wilshire.

                      1. re: nosh

                        "But it is beer only..."

                        They have wine also. Traffic going to Sherman Oaks at around 4 PM from the Skirball wouldn't be bad, and with all the construction finally finished even the homeward bound trip will probably be fairly legit.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          I love Blue Dog--but I'm not sure they could accommodate 40. I was just there, and unless they have it hidden somewhere ,I don't think they have a private room.
                          What about Palomino in Westwood? Or BruHaus on Wilshire? I can't vouch for them, but it looks like they have a good happy hour menu.

                          1. re: amylovesla

                            "I love Blue Dog--but I'm not sure they could accommodate 40."

                            That's why I would encourage the OP to call them and inquire. They do have a patio, although I don't know the seating capacity. Probably worth checking based on proximity and happy hour offerings.

                            1. re: Servorg

                              The patio has like five tables, tops. No way 40 could fit there comfortably. Love their burgers and brews though...

                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                Then maybe split the group between inside and outside. With that size group people will be circulating anyway in order to speak to others in the group, so having them sitting in two areas won't be that big of a deal.

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  Yes, but there's not even a whole lot of room for circulating.....

                        2. re: nosh

                          Mulholland to Ventura is literally one exit, so probably not more than 20-25 minutes that way and it's a reverse commute leaving the valley. I'm a big fan of Blue Dog and think it is VASTLY superior to everything in Westwood and most in West LA, especially if you get happy hour pricing. It won't be a private area, but with 40 people you'll be the dominant group for sure.

                          If the westside is a must, the triumvirate of Q's/Bruhaus/Cabo Cantina are all enormous and could easily take in 40 people, though you have to deal with Wilshire in rush hour and they are much frattier in vibe. There is also Bar Food, which is a little more relaxed (and has free hot dogs!), or Barney's Beanery in Westwood, which is similar to Q's and I believe has an upstairs that can be rented out.

                          1. re: Tyus4pt8

                            It is indeed a reverse commute leaving the valley, but isn't Mulholland to Ventura heading *into* the valley?

                            To the OP, hoping that you won't hit "too much traffic" heading in *any* direction on a Friday at 4PM w/ 40 people in tow (I sincerely hope you're carpooling) is kind of... unrealistic. And I agree w/ westsidegal that you should call in advance b/c bringing 40 people unannounced is... well...

                            I honestly think you're best bet is to head to Westwood or to Brentwood or to head to Blue Dog (good luck finding parking) since that's not too far from the Skirball.

                            Traffic normally loads up on the 405 South as you approach the 10, so exiting on Sunset or Wilshire might help to avoid the worst of it. And I hope you don't mind using valet, but you'll be hard-pressed to find parking for just a few cars in the area, let alone 40.

                            The westside bars you've listed are indeed large, but they're also packed to gills on Thursday and Friday evening, w/ people hanging off the patios. They might be able to accommodate your group in the mid-afternoon, but I'd still call several days ahead to ask.

                            The food at Bar Food is, ironically enough, mediocre, but it also isn't horribly crowded and might work well for your party. And you could also grab something from Amandine next door, if you wanted pastries or a sandwich.

                            Café Rockenwagner at Barrington and Wilshire also has a happy hr (which I think starts at 5PM). I assume you'll have to use valet parking.

                            1. re: ilysla

                              Edit: You could try Napa Valley Grille in Westwood, but I assume that will exceed your budget....

                              1. re: ilysla

                                What would work though is Frida in Westwood. They have a very good happy hour and very inexpensive. I forgot they have the Westwood branch.

                                1. re: Thor123

                                  Oh, I've never heard of the place. Based on the website, it certainly looks like it could work....

                                  1. re: ilysla

                                    Its a higher end Mexican. The food is good. Especially the short ribs and pork dishes. However, they have an active happy hour with great prices on both food and booze. I go to the one in BH all the time, but assume the Westwood branch is much the same.

                              2. re: ilysla

                                Rockenwagner at Barrington sucks. Horrible service, horrible parking and no bar. Other than that its great. Frida Westwood is the OP's huckleberry.

                        3. re: compucook

                          How bout Qs in Brentwood? Im sure that would work. Or Plan Check Sawtelle.

                          1. re: Thor123

                            Much as I love PC, can you imagine finding parking at 4 pm on sawtelle for 20+ cars?

                            1. re: Thor123

                              Q's is a good suggestion. It's nothing fancy, but we've had a few group functions there and it worked really well. There are a couple different size private spaces upstairs and they have good happy hour prices.

                              1. re: cookie monster

                                Yes but Dirty is right about the parking. Frida Westwood a really good call here.

                            2. Take a look at Blvd 16 in Westwood (Hotel Palomar on Wilshire). It has a good bar menu with a few $3.00 glasses of wine, $4.00 beers and some $5.00 drinks. There is also a private room which might be available.

                              1. Shakey's, anywhere. Buy a bunch of pitchers and take up the back room. Good mojo potatoes to soak up the cheap beer. Lots of free parking too.

                                Economy + Private + Friday are usually mutually exclusive.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ns1

                                  Not to mention, the selected location, which is unavoidable, is so difficult in terms of transit, traffic and selection of venues.

                                2. Ok. I've mentioned this before. And been ridiculed. And I'm going to mention it again. Because despite the ridicule, I truly believe this to be a good deal. And good food. And nice people. Matteo's on Westwood has a reputation for hosting the rat pack (which they did) and having an older clientele (which is partially true.) But they have a very good happy hour. I used to live within walking distance and stumbled upon it one late afternoon after a play at the Geffen. They have a lovely menu (posted online) and a killer fish taco with filet of sole. ( i know it's not italian....but it is so fresh and good)
                                  Lots of choices....reduced cocktails (somewhat watered down, i'll admit) but a very decent white and red wine for $5 a glass. (pinot grigio and montelpulciano) they have a private room off the bar....don't know if you could do that for a happy hour group. but i'll bet if they're not booked, they'd be happy to accomodate. call and ask for kevin. it's old school. it's retro. but the food is really very good. i swear.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: perk

                                    I think you are in the distinct minority in your appreciation for Matteo's. Certainly, its not a lively place, most of the patrons are 70 plus. I know a group that went there recently despite my warnings and came back and reported that it was awful. Certainly not a place for a fun, boisterous happy hour, maybe good for a group nap.

                                    1. re: Thor123

                                      I've seen a mix of ages in the bar. And I'm guessing a group of 40 would make their own "boisterous fun." But I know other people say they've had disappointing food experiences there. Mine has been totally different than that. I don't eat in the dining room however....just the bar. But I'm happy to be in the minority if I can keep having the chopped salad and fish taco.

                                  2. Here's an idea RockSugar at Century City Mall. Will solve parking problem.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: wienermobile

                                      that is a really good suggestion, wienermobile.
                                      rocksugar is so large that i think they'd be ok making room for 40 people.
                                      of course, i still would NOTIFY them in advance--would not just walk in.
                                      parking fees at that mall are reasonable, iirc.

                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                        Pleading ignorance here: is the drive between the 405 and the CC Mall tolerable for the Friday afternoon/evening commute hours? How much time would the OP want to budget for it? (I haven't been to that mall in ages...it's possible it's perfectly reasonable, time-wise.)

                                        1. re: spoonlicker

                                          it's a short drive.
                                          imho, there is NO drive on a friday afternoon during commute hours that is tolerable

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            The worst part of eastbound Santa Monica Blvd. on the westside is from about Bundy through Sepulveda. I often use Ohio to avoid that crush. Getting off the S/B 405 at SMB and making the left E/B gets you past almost all of that. If it is still very slow after that, you can jog right onto Little SMB after Westwood Blvd. or Overland.

                                            1. re: nosh

                                              we're beginning to talk like THE CALIFORNIANS on saturday night live.

                                    2. Baja cantina not far from 405.