Pasadena, CA 91105-1902
Parking: $7 Valet Parking or Colorado Blvd. parking lots
Times: Sunday-Thursday: 4pm-Close; Friday & Saturday: 4-7pm
Drink Deals: $2.75 Beers (Coors, Bud Light, Blue Moon); $4 glasses of Sangria ($20 pitchers); $5 Wines by the glass, Well Drinks, and Specialty Cocktails (Lemon Drop Martini, Orange Martini, Southern Comfort Martini, Apple Martini, Strawberry Martini, or Mojito)Food Deals: Tapas & Small plates from $3-5
After over a year and a half in the Happy Hour biz, I’ve come to realize that my favorite Happy Hours are those where you can make a nice meal, complete with drinks, for around $20/25 or under. It’s easy to see why a tapas bar would easily fit that bill; depending on where you go – even at regular prices you can usually forge a tasty little meal. So, when Happy Hours offer even cheaper tapas prices, you can definitely get a nice selection of good eats and drinks well within a working-class Angeleno budget.
Wrong bar (but pretty!) - this is the restaurant's bar
Right Bar (still pretty) - this is the bar-bar :)
In the tradition of my West Side Spanish tapas favorite, Bar Pintxo, I proudly present Bar Celona, a cool bar/restaurant along Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena – with its tasty tapas selection AND $4 sangria! Booze and I were off on a mini-Happy Hour Tour one fine Sunday and we started our afternoon at Bar Celona. Well, we started at the restaurant side of Bar Celona; we got confused and entered the restaurant side. See, the restaurant and bar are separated in the front by a music store, but they connect through a hallway in the back. If you’re just headed to the bar from the front on Colorado Blvd., enter under the sign furthest west (or to the right).
White & Red Sangria - $4 eachOnce we figured out where we needed to be, we set about sampling the sangrias in generous samples. Booze preferred the sweeter white sangria while I went for the red; the actual serving size was just as generous as the sample – a nice tall glass for only $4 during Happy Hour. For our food selection, we ordered the $3 Spanish Flatbread (with basil and mint, and manchego), the $5 Fried Calamari (with garlic aioli), the $3 Patatas Bravas, and the $4 Sweet Potato Empanadas.
Clockwise from top-left:
$3 Spanish Flatbread, $3 Patatas Bravas, $5 Calamari, $4 Sweet Potato Empanadas
Everything tasted wonderful; we were surprised when the flatbread was delivered with what turned out to be grapes, which turned out to be AWESOME! I think my favorite tapas item to order is Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes with a zingy tomato sauce); I always like to see how the different restaurants prepare them – Bar Celona didn’t disappoint. Theirs were quite crispy and had a little more sauce than I’m used to; this sauce was a nice vinegar-y/mustard-y blend and was quite tasty. Also, the empanadas were as good as they sounded while the calamari was a) yum and b) quite a nice serving size for $5.
Besides good food and drink, the bar housed a healthy Sunday-afternoon crowd at the bar, the table seating in the front, and the lounge-y area in the back where several big-screen TV’s projected the day’s games. Our bartender lady was super-helpful with drink and food suggestions (she’s a vegan so was able to help pick some tasty veggie bites for me).
All in all, a terrific Happy Hour to visit – and get this – 2 sangrias and all those goodies ran us about $20 apiece w/ tip!
Rating: 5 Martinis