You Too Can Conquer DTLA Happy Hour for $20.00

Looking for quality Food and Drinks for Happy Hour on a Budget? Look no further than Public School 213's Recess.

Prices in DTLA continue to increase on just about everything.  Downtowners are no strangers to expensive rents, meal prices, parking, etc.  The list goes on and on.  Although many Dowtowners may be on a strict budget, we all still want to partake in things that are quintessential to the DTLA Lifestyle. Case in point: Happy Hour.


Happy Hour is a time when you can unwind with co-workers or meet up friends or dates after work.  Usually, drinks and food are cheaper than normal and for the most part you can leave Happy Hour without any financial regrets.  There have been quite a few changes with Happy Hours around DTLA in the past year or two. Many Restaurants and Bars (I won’t name names) have increased prices due to the ever growing popularity of DTLA.  It is pretty difficult now to find places that offer reasonable Happy Hour prices with quality food and drinks.




Thinking about the increase in prices inspired me to find a great Happy Hour and walk out of that restaurant or bar with a bill that maxed out at $20.00.  So, the Mission was clear: Find a Happy Hour where I could get a couple of adult beverages and a food item for $20.00.  I know, I know, it sounds impossible but I was up for the challenge.  I started by doing a little bit of research online and on Social Media.  The great thing about following the DTLA bars and restaurants on Social Media is that you are going to get up to date information about what is going on at their business.  That often includes Happy Hour Specials. As I was thinking back about restaurants and bars that I had already been to for Happy Hour, Public School came to mind.Public10
Public School is located in the Financial District in the mixed-used General Petroleum Building aka The Mobil Oil Building and presently known as the Pegasus Building.  This DTLA high-rise was built in 1949 designed by Becket and Wurdeman and P.J. Walker in the Modern Architecture Style.  In 2004 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places based on architectural criteria.


Public School itself was actually recently renovated within the past year. When Public School 612 (named for its address on Flower Street) initially opened its doors in 2013, the intention was to “educate patrons in the art of food and beer.”  Really it was just a small bar that offered great drinks, a variety of craft beers and bar snacks.  As its popularity grew, it eventually began to take over the adjacent Daily Grill. Public School 612 closed its doors for several months in 2015 to officially takeover the Daily Grill and emerged as Public School 213 (to represent the Los Angeles area code) at the end of Summer 2015 as a larger space with more seating and a more extensive food menu.  The over all look was Industrial Chic with pendant lamps hanging from the ceiling, chalkboards adorning the space over the bar and accents of wood and metal all over.  They also have an area for patrons to play Darts and Life Size Jenga if you are up for a game or two.  And Public School 213 kept their overall classroom theme that is prevalent in just about everything from their napkins that resemble notebook paper to the name of their Happy Hour- Recess.


Recess begins every day at 4:00 p.m. in the bar area and ends at 6:30 p.m. for Food and 7:00 p.m. for drinks.  Their Drink Specials range from $4.00 and $5.00 Craft Beer Pints to $5.00 Well Drinks and $10.00 to $15.00 Wine Liter Specials.  Their food specials range from $4.00 to $7.00.  The Happy Hour Food Menu features  yummy plates like Chorizo Mac & Cheese, Crispy Naked Wings, Crispy Cauliflower and Parmesan Truffle Fries.



Since my budget was only $20.00, I decided I would order the Crispy Naked Wings ($6.00.)  Unfortunately, they did not have them available the day that I went in.  I was disappointed because I have tried the wings before and they are delectable.  So, I ended up ordering the American Sidekicks (Sliders, $6.00) along with a White Rascal Belgian White pint of beer made by Avery Brewing Company ($4.00.)  The sliders were really tasty and they were a decent size for Happy Hour.  The White Rascal was also really good.  If you like Belgian Whites, you will like this beer.  I also ended up ordering a Well Cape Cod ($5.00 + $0.50 cents for Cranberry Juice) which is Vodka and Cranberry Juice.   This well drink is pretty straight forward and the bartender was not skimpy with the Vodka, which was nice.


After placing my order I was confident that i would be able to accomplish my goal of keeping my bill at no more than $20.00.  When I ended up receiving my check, I realized that they charged me $0.50 extra for the Cranberry Juice in the Cape Cod.  Not that fifty cents is a huge deal but that fifty cents almost kept me from accomplishing my goal.  Also, no where on the menu do they inform you that juice is extra.  I think this is kind of a silly charge and for public satisfaction purposes it may be worth it for Public School to simply include juice in the $5.00 Well Happy Hour price.  All other places assume that juices are a part of Happy Hour Wells, why doesn’t Public School?  Regardless, my total came out to $15.50 for Sliders, a Pint of Beer and a Well Cocktail.  With a 20% tip of $3.10 and $1.40 for tax my Grand Total came out to exactly $20.00!



I too was initially skeptical about being able to enjoy Happy Hour and leave with a bill of no more than $20.00 and I was so satisfied when I was able to do it!  This challenge has inspired me to find more great places to share with you.  This was a testament to still being able to find a reasonably priced Happy Hour with quality Food and Drinks in DTLA.  Cheers!

Public School 213-  612 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90017 (213) 622-4500

Recess (Happy Hour) Monday through Friday Food 4:00-6:30 p.m. Drinks 4:00-7:00 p.m.

Instagram: @publicschool213 Facebook:

Crystal is a Southern California native who grew up in "the other" valley- San Gabriel. An almost 5 year DTLA resident, she is a Finance Gal by day and a Happening in DTLA Blogger and Urban Adventurer by night. Her entire life revolves around Downtown: work, home and play. Follow her on her adventures in DTLA and beyond. EMAIL: [email protected] INSTAGRAM: @queenofsmarts