DTLA: Happy Hour at El Cholo
El Cholo is beloved by many Angelenos. It opened in in the late 1920s and has been going strong ever since. Known for their green corn tamales which are only available May through October, they serve other crowd pleasers as well. The location on Western is particularly popular with USC students and stories of their margaritas are legendary. El Cholo opened the Downtown location probably with hopes of drawing the ‘SC crowd and since LA Live and Staples Center are nearby, they’re popular as a pre or post game spots. I found it somewhat funny as El Cholo is directly across from Rivera. It’s like looking at two sides of the same coin- one more “traditional” if somewhat kitschy and the other slick with modern sensibilities.
We came for happy hour which is limited to the bar. After looking over the list, it didn’t seem like such happy prices on the booze. Their signature margarita is barely discounted ($2 off) but this is the place you want to stick to beer — at least for happy hour. I got a pint of Pacifico for only $4.
We had something to nosh on. The bar food menu was plenty appealing and hard to choose. We finally decided on crab taquitos and beef tacos. Fried goodness and downright decent tacos. The food did its job and had me wishing for more suds to wash down our snack. We also got guacamole though not the table-side version. Perhaps if we were sitting at an actual table and not the bar.
Although this location is closer, I wished we had gone to the original location. The party atmosphere is fun and real. El Cholo DTLA may look like El Cholo and serve the same great food but the vibe just wasn’t the same. Or perhaps it was because their happy hour closed so early (4-6PM!).
In any case, I probably would be back for lunch.