Thursday, April 28, 2005

Trying To Find Happiness At Happy Hour: The Cat and Fiddle

I think that there are two reasons Los Angeles establishments call happy hour "happy hour":
First, happy hours are usually held at ridiculous times, like say 4-6. If you are actually able to get to happy hour while happy hour is still going on, it means you are one of the lucky sons-of- bitches that leaves work at a decent hour, making you, therefore, happy. Secondly, if you are not able to make it to happy hour while happy hour is going on and arrive to the restaurant/bar after happy hour ends, you will not be happy, but the owners of the restaurant/bar will be because they'll be able to make more money off of you paying full price for food and drink.

I miss those days when I worked in San Francisco at my now defunct dot-com, when I'd be able to easily meet up with my coworkers or other friends who worked in the city to seek cheap liquid satisfaction after work. We'd have our choice of 3 or 4 places within a short distance, so we'd still be able to take advantage of happy hour after leaving the office; there was no need to find parking or spend 5 bucks on the valet. When it was time to go home, we'd simply hop on the Muni or Bart to go home, no worries.

Seriously, though, I have been trying to find a decent happy hour in LA to attend for a while now. It's hard when you work in North Hollywood, leave work at 5:30-6-ish, and live in downtown LA. So today, I set out on a quest to find a decent happy hour, not only to try to unwind with some cheap eats and drinks, but also to try and make Sarah-From-The-Delicious-Life's deadline for her blogging event, Bar Fly. After brainstorming for awhile, eliminating places that held happy hour from 3-6 (???), we came up with The Cat and Fiddle Pub and Restaurant, a British joint, on Sunset in Hollywood. Would this place that held happy hour until 7pm and that was in a central location for all of us Hollywood-Downtown-Glendale-ites indeed make us happy? Read on...

We arrvived at the Cat and Fiddle around 6pm excited to still be able to take advantage of almost an hour's worth of happy hour happiness, sitting outdoors, sipping ale and enjoying good conversation. Entering through their very cool French Quarter-esque outdoor patio, we decided to approach a hostess and ask for a table outside. "Um, we're here for happy hour," we told her. Little did we know there were rules...

The Cat And Fiddle's Cool Outdoor Patio

-The Cat and Fiddle's definition of happy hour is a small buffet setup consisting of a chafing dish with bangers (sausages) and some cheese and crackers. Free with purchase of a drink.
-You are only allowed to enjoy this happy hour food in the bar area which only has like 10 seats.
-The tables outside are reserved for people who are ordering dinner. If you're only planning to have drinks and are sitting at a table outside, you might be asked to give up your table to someone who is ordering dinner. (Mind you, there is a full dining room inside which is, yes, reserved for people ordering dinner)

Awww man, this is not gonna be too happy, is it?

Nevertheless, we were determined to make our happy hour happy! We weren't gonna let any silly rules get in the way of having fun, right? So we decided to go the dinner route and grab a table on the patio. We perused the menu which consisted mainly of English pub grub plus some conventional bar & grill-type food such as burgers, sandwiches, and wings. British food it was--a couple orders of fish n'chips, some bangers n'mash (sausages and mashed potatoes), and a shephard's pie. Tasting the food, it seemed like the Cat and Fiddle needed a little brushing up on their cooking. The batter on the fish n'chips was too thick and well done. The shephard's pie looked alot better than it tasted--the filling was ground beef and some really gamey lamb. The bangers were a bit tasteless. They did, however, seem to know how to do potatoes as the chips (or fries) were crispy and the mashed potatoes were both fluffy and lumpy, just how I like 'em. Still not so happy, huh?

Fish N'Chips

Gamey Tasting Shephard's Pie

The happiness actually came from being able to wash down all that mediocre pub grub with some ice cold Newcastle on tap. Cold, dark, and smooth--reminiscent of my holiday in England a few years back. We ordered a pitcher and then some, sat back puffing on our cigarettes, and unwound. We all cracked up trying to teach our one non-smoking friend how to smoke. Hell, my friend, the Mustard Whore, who has become somewhat of a celebrity on this blog, even gave us free entertainment by attempting to drink his split pea soup with a glob of tabasco on top. So yeah, I guess we did end up finding happiness in this happy hour, although it stemmed not so much from the Cat and Fiddle with all its silly rules and mediocre food, but from our own determination.

Can't Go Wrong With Newcastle

Tonight's Free Entertainment

Then it was time to get the car from the valet and get back into traffic to go home. Happy hour gone. Crabby hour back.

The Cat and Fiddle
6530 Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 468-3800

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the Cat and Fiddle because it is casual and staff is accomodating - also there is no other place in Hollywood to get English food. For us Brits its home away from home. I've been going there for 15 years and its still the best place for a Newcastle and little sun tanning.

It looks like you got a table on the patio after all:) they are very accomodating if your only having drinks and there are tables open they will let you sit there until they need it for dinner.