Happy Hour: $
Bar Clacson- Cocktail Bar
351 S Broadway
Everyday: 5:00 - 7:00 P.M.
If you’re a DTLA local, it’s probably hard to admit it, but we all know that the bar scene on Broadway is… scarce. Usually, we only stumble upon a string of bars and variety a little closer to Spring or around Grand. That’s not to say there are bad bars or no bars on Broadway, there certainly are, they’re just few and far between. But that’s okay, because potential bar owners have noticed this too, and new businesses have now opened up on Broadway. One of them has been there for a year now, from the 213 hospitality group, Bar Clacson.
From the outside, Bar Clacson’s doors advertise a number of things including cocktails, coffee, and another bar called The Slipper Clutch. Broadway and 3rd is just far away enough from Broadway and 5th to have allowed Bar Clacson to have a front patio seating area. Ironically enough, this is where you’ll find the biggest table in the whole joint. So if you have a group larger than 4, we recommend grabbing this when you first walk in.
The intimate low lighting of the place and the two games (Pool & Petanque) that are to the left when you step in, are just more things to love about Bar Clacson. Their Happy Hour is the perfect opportunity to sample the number one thing Happy Hour City loved when we visited- their huge French/Italian fusion menu. It's filled with craft cocktails, beer, wine, coffee, and food!
Happy Hour at Bar Clacson goes on daily from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM. But if you go on Sundays you also have access to their Bad Ass Sundays special menu, which changes every so often, but includes, “Break Even Prices.” As for their staple Happy Hour menu, you can get a selection of cocktails that don't appear on their main menu, beer that’s foreign or local, a solid selection of wines, and if you’re craving the bubbly stuff they have red or white for your pleasure.
One thing you won’t get to try on the Happy Hour menu is the food, which they only serve Tuesdays-Sundays beginning at 5:00 PM - Midnight. The prices are still really low though, so if you get hungry, don’t worry about it putting a hole in your pocket. That being said, here’s what the team ordered on our visit.
Bar Clacson’s owners are French and Italian, you will know this right away as the two countries’ flags are hung over the bar. Plus they have proudly integrated their native languages into the menu in a fun way. Which is a great reassurance considering, the Italians know their coffee, and the French know their liquors. Definitely a place that attracts a lot of locals, probably because of the option of coffee and food advertised. It’s not a place you gotta dress up for, those coming in straight from work are well welcomed at the bar. And if you’re like Mariana, and have no experience as a bartender, you may wonder why the bottles are numbered.
Those are the prices for a single shot of any of the liquors they offer. They don’t have a spirit book, but the visual display sure makes it a lot easier if you’re drinking on a budget. Get it straight or in a cocktail- either way Clacson has your back.
According to Josh, the bartender on duty during our visit, Bar Clacson prides themselves in their cocktails, lots of patrons that come during Happy Hour order the $5 Old Fashioned, simply because it’s a great deal. Tuesdays are a great day to come by if you want to enjoy a smaller crowd, the food and the drinks. Fridays it gets a little busier and with the limited space in tables, it can be hard to sit and enjoy a drink. But if you don’t mind to stand while drinking, enjoy either game! Okay, now onto what we ordered!
Mariana ordered the Campari Cooler
This cocktail attracted Mariana the most because of the ingredients. Mariana is a fan of citrus and sugary tastes. She finds it to be a good balance between the tastes of bitter and sweet cocktails, which when one is more apparent than the other- it can overpower and sometimes even ruin a drink,
It’s ironic because, according to bartender Josh, this is the drink that gets ordered the least during HH- due to the fact most people don’t know what Campari is. To tell you a small bit about it, and don’t worry- we will educate you on it you on in a future post: Campari is an alcoholic berry liqueur which is categorized as an aperitif.
Given the advertised menu, it’s bitter/medicine like taste is not a false advertisement, Mariana had higher hopes for the other ingredients to mellow the bitterness thus making the drink a bit more cohesive. But the thing is, given the other advertised ingredients, even if Campari is overly bitter, anyone unfamiliar with the name would assume the fresh OJ and almond syrup would balance it out. This was not the case...
Xena and others of the HHC team would agree, it tasted more or less like there was grapefruit juice in it, instead of OJ. And, according to the menu, the drink includes lemon, but it was not placed as a garnish. So, that left us wondering, did they add freshly squeezed lemon to the cocktail? Or did they simply replace the garnish with an orange- and haven’t updated the menu?
The overload of bitterness made this drink hard to enjoy but it wasn’t necessarily hard to drink. It just made Mariana want to try something else next.
Alex ordered the Old Fashioned
This Old Fashioned is very reflective of what Bar Clacson deems to be their unique quality, aperitifs, lots of liqueurs and cheap cocktails. It’s made with Jim Beam Rye whiskey, Amaro liqueur, and Citrus Oil. Their very own twist on the classic neat drink.
Alex and the team agreed the flavor was nice but compared to a regular Old Fashioned, it was extremely sweet given the fact it is made with Amaro. Amaro is an herbal liqueur categorized as an after-dinner digestif, which we will also educate you on in a future post.
Amaro is quite literally the Italian word for bitter, but its taste is very herbal, and Bar Clacson knows this considering it uses in not one but two HH menu cocktails. Given this ingredient + the amount of sugar added, the Old Fashioned was refreshingly sweet.
Not something Alex expected, probably not something a seasoned veteran of Old Fashioneds would go for, but definitely something you can sip on and enjoy that won’t leave you feeling like you’re taking a straight shot on each and every sip. An Old Fashioned made for the likes of Mariana, who cannot stomach neat drinks.
The oil added a touch of a rose flavor, once again adding to the Amaro’s herbal taste, so if you stepped into an imaginary garden where whiskey grows on plants- this is the drink you’d find there.
The ice that they use is a staple throughout most 213 Hospitality Group bars in the area, as one block, it sort of seems like a trick of the eye. It makes it look like there’s more drink in there than there actually is, but don't worry the exact measurements are used.
That all being said, for $5 the drink is more than damn well worth it.
Rynn ordered the ADBC Traction IPA
Our beer expert on the scene Rynn ordered the IPA, given the 2 options of the HH menu, she was attracted to it immediately because it’s local.
The ADBC Traction comes from the Arts District Brewing Company, so not only is it LA but it is DTLA, and you can never go wrong with ADBC.
However, the beer they chose from the incredibly successful brewing company, Traction, was not as hoppy as most IPAs. Rynn agreed that the actual hop had a nice, clean, and citrus taste, but it was very “tame.”
As for the other beer on the menu the Reissdorf, according to bartender Josh, this one gets ordered the most. Fans of Stella Artois will enjoy this similar pilsner that has a smooth, grain finish.
For $5 this is a great deal for local fans of ADBC’s Traction IPA.
Xena ordered the Aperitivo Mule
Being a fan of any sort of Mule, Xena was immediately intrigued by the Aperitivo Mule. Made with the same Amaro as the Old Fashioned, this was a surprise because usually a Mule isn’t exactly for either before nor after dinner. But Clacson has that liqueur factor as one of their staples so, it made sense.
Mules have all sorts of variations, you can have it with the traditional vodka, or make it an Irish with whiskey, Japanese with Sake, and so on and so forth. This Mule contained NO LIQUOR. Just the Amaro LIQUEUR.
The traditional liquor + the ginger soda combo is a familiar taste for Xena. So the Amaro sort of threw her off because it tasted bitter and also not so soda-ish. We later found out that Bar Clacson actually makes their own ginger syrup/soda water recipe that they have put in their Mule instead of ginger soda. Despite how well they managed to stick to their theme here- Xena nor anyone from the HHC team could really taste the liquor- which is something you want in a traditional Mule.
A Mule is sort of like an energy drink, something that you can drink all night and it won’t make you feel tired or slowed down, but much better and mature than a Vodka/Redbull. This is thanks to the ginger, which is meant to boost our systems up. The Aperitivo Mule was not that.
We always salute places that take the time to make any, if not all, of their own in house mixes. It is a lot of hard work and dedication that deserves to be recognized, but a Mule is a Mule. It’s a simple creation that could have easily contained Budenberg ginger soda, which is inexpensive and easy to use, and if Clacson absolutely had to throw their spin on it- well they can keep the Amaro in the recipe.
We asked what the mix was and Josh kindly told us it’s actually Cold Pressed Ginger Juice, which explains for the concentrated Ginger taste, it also includes sugar and homemade lime juice. Which sounds delicious and healthy! By itself.
Mariana described it as a Plant Based Mule, as a joke, for anyone who may be able to relate.
Shannon ordered the Cucumber Fix
The Cucumber Fix sounded like a refreshing idea to Shannon, our guest attendee, and she loved the balance between sweet and syrup taste of the cocktail.
This drink was not too overpowering on the alcohol taste/content- which may be due to the amount of ice in it. The Cucumber Fix, unlike the Old Fashioned, contains crushed ice that sort of overflows from the top of the cup making it look like a snow cone.
The amount used also makes it easy to finish, so if you’re a fast drinker like Mariana, we recommend you skip on this because next thing you know you’ll be on your 4th Cucumber Fix, $20 poorer, and barely buzzing.
The ice used here, as well as the rectangular prism in the Old Fashioned, makes one wonder if there’s less drink in their cup than what they paid for. And really, it’s not a scam. The same measurements are used throughout- but… Overall, we all agreed that, in the case of the Cucumber Fix, it is still simply a lot of ice.
The HHC team visited Clacson in the winter, so the Cucumber Fix is not to blame for the weather, but it is most definitely more of a drink to enjoy during summer months.
For $5 this is a good starter if you don’t want any surprises in your cocktail, unlike the Aperitivo Mule, and if you don’t care for much else on the menu- you can drink these down quick and cheap. So depending on your tolerance, this could be the drink for you.
The HHC Team shared the Espresso Martini
Given that the HH menu offers 5 cocktails, 2 beers, and 2 wines, trying all the cocktails was an obvious choice. And what we tried last was absolutely our favorite drink of the night.
The whole team agreed, the Espresso Martini will have you coming back to Bar Clacson. It’s made with Lamill Coffee, which is ground locally from Silverlake, Volstead Vodka, Amaro, and a mint garnish.
We couldn’t really taste the Amaro, which was great because we did feel it overpowered the other cocktails, but it fit perfectly into this one. Not one ingredient was more easily detected than the other- the perfect balance.
The mint used as a garnish vs. muddled was the cherry on top of the ice cream. The scent it gives along with the coffee is reminiscent of a peppermint mocha but it gets you drunk! So, cool! This is what a great winter cocktail is made of, this is what you want to order when it gets dark at 5:00 P.M.
The Overall Experience
The HHC team all agreed- The Espresso Martini is it. It’s that perfect after work drink and also good for starting off the night to keep you up if you’re tired. Order this if the other stuff confuses you. Bartender Josh was also particularly proud of this concoction because the concept was a team effort, and we can taste that.
The atmosphere is cool, relaxed, and fun with the addition of the games on the side of the bar. Just remember if you’re a large group, you will only find comfortable sitting outside. Which in LA is never a bad thing since it rarely gets too chilly.
Come by for HH to the Clacson and take advantage of the $5 cocktails, a price that’s hard to beat, stay and try their food menu, and don’t forget to swing by on the weekend for the Bad Ass Sunday menu deals.
Overall Score: 4/5
Happy Hour Score: 3.6/5
We would like to thank Josh for the incredible service to our team, his interview, and attention to detail when crafting his cocktails.
We hope this review has given you, the audience, plenty of insight on Bar Clacson, thanks for reading and as always...