Checkers Downtown

535 Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Parking: $6 Valet with validation
Every Thursday, 4-8pm, Four cocktails & Four plates for $4 each

Sometimes, you get what your pay for. In the case of Checkers Downtown Four Happy Hour, when I paid nothing for food & drink, I got nothing for service.

I had wanted to check out Checkers Downtown happy hour for some time now. Perhaps, the fact that it is a one-week occurrence on Thursday nights, I thought it would be that much more special. Every Thursday, from 4-8pm, Checkers offers 4 cocktails & 4 appetizers at $4 each. The Menu changes weekly, which also adds to the intrigue.

I met downtown happy hour partner,
The Minty, at Checkers, but not before waiting for the valet for nearly 10 minutes. I was actually pleasantly surprised to find out that they offer valet, which I guess is pretty natural since it is attached to a Hilton hotel. However, when I pulled up, there was no valet out front by the sign. I waited outside for a while when I noticed that other people were waiting as well. I finally followed suit of another driver and went to the front desk with my keys. The staff acted surprised that we were left waiting for a MIA valet, but quickly got us tickets and took our keys.

Once inside, I settled in for a drink with The Minty and her PR pal who happens to do PR for Checkers. We waited and waited and waited before someone gave me a menu, let alone took my drink order. I was pretty surprised considering I was with someone who does work for the bar. While I waited for someone to take my order, staff members came over twice to remove empty glasses and spray down the tables. They seemed to be way more serious about cleaning tables then taking orders because when spraying down the tables, I managed to get sprayed with mysterious blue cleaner – twice!!

Finally, we were able to order drinks – my first, their second – and I gotta be honest, the staff didn’t seem too happy about serving us. I don’t know if they don’t like bloggers or just don’t like happy hour. A couple of other bloggers had joined us so maybe they felt they didn't stand a chance? The only one who seemed friendly was the bar manager, but he was busy with other things, so it was clear that he didn’t notice who had drinks and who did not. The crazy part is the bar is not that big or that crowded. Unless, the staff was busy making drinks for room service, I have no idea why there was such a hold up. We were also sitting
thisclose to the bar so it’s not as if you could miss us.

For this particular Happy Hour, the liquor of the night was gin. I had the Bronx cocktail,which was made of gin, sweet and dry vermouth, and a splash of orange juice. It was pretty damn tasty, just a shame that it took so long to receive. I sampled the Gin Gin too, a cocktail with gin & Ginger beer, which tasted like a refreshing mojitio. For food, I ordered the spinach salad with cherries, pine nuts, & feta cheese. The salad was pretty tasty

along with other dishes I spotted. The dishes were of a just right size - not too small, not too big. However, if looking to fill up at happy hour, you may want to order more than one dish.

It was a good thing that I wasn’t looking to order anything else because the staff sure wasn’t in a hurry to serve us. Before leaving, I asked for parking validation and a server told me that he had to ask for “authorization” even though the website and the valet will tell you that parking is $6 with validation. We decided to move onto the art walk and check out new food trucks, which I can promise were all friendlier than the group at Checkers.

Thanks to PR Pal Eddie for the drink & food! However, I gotta wonder if this is how Checkers treats a guest of the company, how do regular customers stand a chance?
Rating: 2 Martinis

Checkers Downtown on Urbanspoon

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