Here’s a way to have a sophisticated happy hour – on the rooftop of a hotel no less – and spend less than or about $40 for two lushes, I mean, people. At the Kyoto Grand Hotel in Little Tokyo, it’s all about eating well on a budget.

As soon as you step through the sliding doors, you’re immediately greeted with an inviting bar full of various traditional and unusual spirits and liquors. I suggest you bypass this spot and head to the golden elevators. Press the PH button and get ready to walk through an authentic rooftop Japanese garden.

There are two restaurants atop Kyoto Grand, but the only one open for happy hour (5 p.m.-8 p.m. daily) is the one we’re concerned with, Genji Bar. Genji is stylishly lit with blue mood lighting and art installments on the walls. There are semi-private booths to sit and enjoy the libations you’re about to have, so grab one and get ready.

Right off the bat, the martinis here are delicious. They are $5 and served strong.

I ordered the watermelon, while my friend had the lychee. Thankfully both were not too sweet and were great choices for the seasonal weather.

While I sipped my drink and looked at the menu, a few things immediately caught my attention. Fried chicken and black cod! We ordered those with glee, along with seaweed in vinegar (for palate cleansing).

The fried chicken was golden brown and not greasy. If you’ve ever had black cod, you know that it’s one of the richest tasting fishes in the sea. I always imagine that it’s been swimming in butter instead of water. Once you eat it, it melts in your mouth, but it’s not overpowering or displeasing. It’s absolutely wonderful.

Genji also serves a great happy hour sushi selection, with 1/2 off prices. You could make repeat visits to Genji, order different dishes than what I’ve suggested and still stay within your budget.

That would be a great challenge … how many different ways to eat happy hour on a $40 budget. Stay tuned, we may just start one.



For more information, call (213) 253-9255 or (213) 687-0200.