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Drinks for $3 or less: Some real cheapies at El Prado, Little Joy, more

May 4, 2009 | 12:38 pm


A recent visit to downtown restaurant Rivera for its late-night (after 10:30 p.m.) menu seemed like a real bargain. With cocktails priced at $8 or $9 (made with top-notch spirits and fresh ingredients), it was. The bartender made a bourbon sour the old-fashioned way, with Buffalo Trace bourbon, lemon juice, egg white and a few drops of Angostura bitters. Hitachino red rice ale was $4. And the spiffy behind-the-bar staff put on a good shake show. 

But for anyone looking to drink on the cheap (real cheap), just $3 can buy you a glass of wine or a mixed drink at a smattering of watering holes that dot Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park.

At El Prado bar, a glass of Capote Velho, a boxed Portuguese red table wine, is only $3. And down the street at City Sip, you might not find a $3 glass of wine on the menu, but on Sundays after 9 p.m., wines by the glass from any already-open bottles are half off.

A sandwich board in front of Little Joy -- along with a newly painted mural that seems incongruous with the bar's formerly under-the-radar vibe -- has recently decorated the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Portia Street: Happy hour. Beer (PBR) $2, well drinks $3. And happy hour lasts from 5 to 9 p.m. (By comparison, the Hungry Cat's happy hour, according to its website, starts at 3 p.m. and ends at 6. Nudge: This worker bee, maybe like some others, rarely leaves the office before 7 and doesn't often nurse a weekday drink before, um, 4:30.)  

The whiskey sour at Little Joy is made with Clan MacGregor (and sour mix), which doesn't go down as smoothly as Buffalo Trace. But few in the crowd seem to be complaining.

El Prado, 1805 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 484-6079; City Sip, 2510 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 483-9463; Little Joy, 1477 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 250-3417. 
See also Bar 360's $3.60 martini. What's an extra 60 cents?
-- Betty Hallock
Photo credit: Lee Celano / For The Times