The Arsenal

12012 Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Parking: Street Parking & $4 ValetDays: Monday-Saturday
Times: 5-8pm (M-F); 11pm-1am (Mon.); 6-9 (Sat.)Drink Deals: $3 Well Drinks & House Wine, $5 Daily Cocktail Special, $2 off all beerFood Deals: $3-6 on fries, wings, sliders, etc.

When I heard the news of The Arsenal’s makeover back in late 2010, I couldn’t wait to check it out. I was a fan of this bar when I used to frequent it during my days of working in West LA, but I thought it if it wasn’t broke, why fix it? Every time their tweets reminded of the makeover, I was always busy with, well, another happy hour. Cut to months later, and I finally got around to checking it out.

The outside still looks the same (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but the interior is definitely a bit sleeker with its modern design black & white wallpaper and floral upholstery & leather seating. The interior is definitely different from the original dark wood, but I liked the old bar just fine. Other than that, I didn’t notice too much of a difference in the food & drink choices or prices.

The cocktail menu seemed a bit more detailed than I remember but since none of the specialty cocktails were on happy hour special, I didn’t pay them much attention. Maybe I’ll save that for a non-happy hour night out. However, each day, there is a $5 specialty cocktail of the day during happy hour. I immediately decided to go for that to see if there was some change in bartender’s specialties, but I ended up skipping it. See, the specialty cocktail of the night was a scotch concoction that included mint & some other (assumed) goodness, but when I perked up at the description, our waitress told us that “most people send it back” so we probably wouldn’t like it.

I then inquired about the house wines, which turned out to be merlot and chardonnay. Not exactly my favorites so I went with the old staple: well vodka & cranberry ($3). My friend, June, settled on a well tequila drink (also $3), but it took her equally as long to order after a debate of what qualified as a well drink. The drinks were so strong that if we had known that in the first place, we may not have tried to order anything else.

For food, we ordered chicken sliders (for June - $5) and beef sliders (for me - $5). I used to order the beef sliders all the time circa 2008 because I loved that the order came with the 3 sliders with 3 different toppings. The toppings include swiss, avocado & mushrooms; bacon & cheese; cheese, tomato, & onion. Just like the old days, I got the same order and was very happy with it. I don’t recall chicken sliders being on the menu before, but I may try them next time since I always order them when at happy hour at
The Hudson.

$5 Beef Slider Trio

In between drinks & bites, we noticed that the happy hour crowd was made of almost all couples, and not just any couples, but older, cuddly couples that all sat on the same side of the booth… in a row. It was such a phenomenon, that as reality television producers, we joked that we must be on hidden camera. I might be single, but even my happy hour pal June, who’s in a long-term relationship, thought it was weird. If my friend & frequent happy hour partner, Carrie, were ever to guest blog here, she would tell readers how odd we think it is for couples to sit on the same side. If you want a place where you can cuddle up, try one of the circle booths at The Well or the couches at Bodega Wine Bar. Sitting on the same side when there are open seats opposite you is just weird. Imagine it all in a row. It just looks uncomfortable.

When I used to go to The Arsenal, it had a diverse crowd of people: late 20s/30s, all races, all styles, couples, singles, coworkers, friends. How it turned into Valentine’s Day pre-fix dinner in January, I don’t know. Towards the end of happy hour, 4 seemingly single guys arrived, but June had dinner plans to make. And because I loved The Arsenal so much back in the day, I figured I might save my dollar bills for another night when the crowd may be a bit more mixed and I could befriend a bartender so that I might not want to send a cocktail back.

If anyone has a tip on the best night to check out The Arsenal, please let me know!
Rating: 3 Martinis

Arsenal on Urbanspoon

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