Happy Hour: Mom's Bar in West L.A.
The Place: Mom's Bar, 12238 Santa Monica Blvd, West LA, 310-820-MOMS
The Hours: 7 days a week, from 4 to 8 p.m.
The Deals: $1 off everything, and free chips.
Turn the page to find out what we thought...
The Digs: Mom's Bar would love for you to think it's a dive, but don't take them at their word. The interior is casual, yes, but it smells fine, all the lights work, there are plenty of big HDTVs, the upholstery is largely intact, and no one inside or immediately outside was puking. The pool table is also mostly level and dominated more by casual competitors than by hardened sharks, and the bar is dark wood without many noticeable blemishes. In short, it's pretty nice. Who knows what will happen to this bar as it matures (it opened in December after pulling the rug out from under Del's Saloon early last year), but for now it's a laid-back little place where anyone hoping to wait out traffic will be comfortable.
The Verdict: First, it should be noted that Mom's has no food other than little plastic bowls of spiced potato chips. However, those chips are made at Mom's sister bar (your aunt?) The Backstage Bar in Culver City, and they are absolutely delicious, spicy and fresh. They also claim to bring "LA's best food trucks," though we've seen no evidence of that in the late afternoons we've spent there.
As for the drinks, at first $1 off does not seem like a whole lot, and the website's promise of $2 beer and $3 drinks seems unlikely to be fulfilled. Take one look at the menu, though, and that perception changes. Mom's drinks are cheap to begin with, and $1 off makes them a really solid deal. The selection of beer is fine if not exemplary, and they have a couple of nice things like Racer 5 on tap and Flying Dog's Raging Bitch and Spaten's Optimator in bottles. The mixed drinks certainly don't use locally-grown farmers market fresh herbs (or any herbs at all, really), but there are a couple interesting choices (the sweet tea vodka and lemonade Mom's Arnold Palmer was pretty good) and you can expect a stiff pour.
If $1 off a decent beer or strong drink still doesn't seem significant to you, consider the difference between getting 5 drinks for $20 and 5 drinks for $15, and then imagine taking that fiver you saved across the street to Campos Tacos or around the corner to Taco Plus and getting a burrito. Yes, the food will be pretty generic, but you won't be in any shape to care and you'll definitely need it if you just had 5 drinks at 4 p.m. with only chips in your stomach, a situation which is entirely too easy to stumble into and more fun than it has any right to be at a bar called Mom's.
Overall Grade: A-