For years it seemed like the only late-night dining options in Los Angeles involved a Formica counter top and a grilled cheese. While we all love a good griddle-cooked sandwich, sometimes you have a hankering for something a little more Friday-night heels-worthy. Here are a few of our favorites; let us know of any others in your neighborhood.
Border Grill has been serving up great late-night discounted bites and house margaritas to Santa Monica moviegoers for years. At $3 a pop, you can afford to sample a few appetizers. The Border tacos (house-made corn tortillas filled with braised pork and chipotle salsa) and the roasted potato rajas with chile peppers, queso and pickled onion taste even better with a $4 margarita. Plenty of reason to hold off on that overpriced Coke and popcorn during Julie and Julia.
Happy hour: Friday and Saturday, 10 p.m. until closing. $3 and $4 appetizers, $4 house margaritas.
Border Grill, 1445 4th St., Santa Monica, 310.451.1655, bordergrill.com
The Beverly Hills branch of this mini-chain of East-meets-West brasseries offers “Industry Hours,” basically a fancy name for happy hour (it’s Beverly Hills). But here the happy hour runs in the bar and lounge as long as the dining room is open. And after that, the “Petite Chaya” menu is served until midnight. The rotating menu may include chicken liver mousse and pommes frites, both $5, and calamari with jalapeÃ±o aioli or goat cheese with honey-lavender gelee, both $7.
Happy hour: Industry hours nightly from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (11 on weekends, 10 on Sundays); the Petite Chaya menu ($3 to $13) is served in the bar, lounge and patio from 5 p.m. until midnight every night.
Chaya Brasserie, 8741 Alden Dr., Beverly Hills, 310.859.8833, thechaya.com
This might be the most comprehensive new late-night happy hour around, with a flat 30% discount on the regular menu’s around-the-world offerings (the bar is in the Le Merigot Hotel, so no surprise there). Tuna tartare, crab quesadillas and steak au poivre (French-style steak with peppercorn cream sauce) are all here. Unfortunately, the Bordeaux to go with that steak is still full price. The cocktails are half off, but with their rather food-averse names â€” like Colada Me Coco and Honey Lips Martini â€”you might want to Â pony up for a bottle of wine.
Happy hour: Monday through Friday, 8 to 10 p.m., 30% off the regular menu and 50% off well drinks (excludes beer and wine).
Le Troquet Bar at Le Merigot, 1740 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, 310.395.9700, lemerigothotel.com
Riva has been offering a late-night happy hour in the bar since it opened, and it’s now a happening hangout for well-heeled locals and the occasional Promenade passerby. After a menu overhaul this summer, the pizza was largely replaced by small plates (serving sizes are definitely smaller). But there are still plenty of deals to be had, like a seasonal veal cheek tart, mozzarella-stuffed squash blossoms, or whatever executive chef Jason Travi is testing out for possible inclusion on the main menu. The best deal is still the top-quality rotating beer on tap, which is slashed to $3 during happy hour, and the interesting $4 Italian wines by the glass (usually one red, one white) that typically sell for more than twice that amount.
Happy hour: Nightly 10 p.m. to midnight. $3 to $10 bar snacks, $3 draft beer, $4 wine by the glass, $4 cocktails.
Riva, 312 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310.451.7482, rivarestaurantla.com
John Sedlar’s sleek new Downtown restaurant and bar has a late-night menu on offer Thursday through Saturday, so folks coming out of a Club Nokia concert or Staples Center game have a place to get a Pisco Sour and huevoes verdes at 11 p.m. Prices aren’t happy-hour bargain-basement, but they are discounted, and the cocktails are perhaps the best in this neighborhood.
Happy hour: Thursday to Saturday 10:30 p.m. to midnight. Bar dishes $6 to $10, cocktails $8 to $9.
Rivera, 1050 S. Flower St., South Park/Downtown, 213.749.1460, riverarestaurant.com
Wilshire recently launched a new late-night menu in its expansive bar, although you’ll have to check the calendar before you swing by â€” it’s on Thursdays only. The $8 menu includes several sharable bites, such as pizza with burrata cheese and roasted tomatoes, a grilled artichoke with aioli, and prosciutto-wrapped figs with Point Reyes blue cheese and balsamic vinegar. Such heartier dishes as beer-marinated skirt steak with fries come with a heftier $13 happy-hour price tag.
Happy hour: Thursdays 10 p.m. to midnight. $8 to $13 bar snacks, $5 beer, $6 wine by the glass, $7 cocktails.
Wilshire, 2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310.586.1707, wilshirerestaurant.com