Happy hour hunt: Squeaky Bean

Sometimes the universe puts you right where you need to be, and if you're lucky, that place has a killer happy hour, a menu you can slowly eat your way through and a staff that makes you feel like you've all been kickin' it for years. The universe told me to go to Squeaky Bean, the Highland restaurant at 3301 Tejon Street.

The happiest of hours at Squeaky Bean happens Tuesday through Saturday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. -- you know, for the days when you want to be tipped and in bed by seven. They have a list of creatively crafted cocktails ($5), wines by the glass ($4), beers ($3), and they've also got martinis that go down very easily ($6). The awesomeness pictured above is the Rip-Hippie -- Grey Goose Pear shaken with St. Germain Elderflower and Rothman Crème de Violette liqueur. I was both terrified and enamored by it's lavender color (purple haze, if you will), but this martini is neither syrupy nor sweet; the pear flavor is very subtle and herbaceousness, refreshing. And if you're having a redneck kind of day, they have Coors banquet cans for two bucks--and those are available even when it isn't happy hour.

The menu offers bistro-style small plates and sandwiches, but if you're in the mood for a full blown dinner you can go right ahead. The chicken liver mousse comes with housemade apple butter and grilled bread, and it tastes like a heavenly version of peanut butter and jelly toast. The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable, and they'll make you feel right at home and happy.

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