A good happy hour special is worth a dozen bars. The Los Angeles bar scene is rife with them, mostly the ubiquitous half off drink specials you find during the early dinner hours of the evening on non-weekend nights.
The Public House at 1739 North Vermont Avenue takes a different approach to happy hour: except for a few selections, the vast majority of its beers (more than 70 on draft alone) remain "regular price" but with the purchase of a regular priced beer, you get a free pizza. The happy hour is scheduled everyday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., so if you're in the neighborhood for a late lunch or early dinner with a couple of good drinks, the Public House should make your list for consideration.
If skepticism arises at the mention of free pizza, doubts can be laid to rest. The pizza can come with a single topping for free, and while it isn't up to the standard of the legendary Casa Bianca pizza pie, even the New York pizza enthusiast in me has to admit it's a very decent pie. Dinner plate sized so it can be shared for two easily, it gets the basics done: good cheese, flavorful enough tomato sauce. With some pepper flakes and a dash of parmesan it becomes a very tasty dish.
What to order to drink with this pie though? The Public House weeds out a certain rabble by not offering any Budweiser, Coors or Miller beers, so those looking for something familiar may be intimidated by the vast selection. Sierra Nevada is available for the less adventurous, and the Sierra beers (especially the pale ale) are always a reliable choice.
For the more adventurous though, there are a few beers worth your palette's audacity. Dundee Honey Blonde may be a step into the beer world for those people who "don't like the taste of beer" and compliment's the pizza's sauce well enough (but not spectacularly). The one concern this beer carries with it for seasoned beer drinkers is that the honey flavor is a bit on the heavy side, and can actually make you double check the head to make sure you're not drinking a flat beer, but there's a reassuring kick of flavor as you finish your sip in the aftertaste.
While it may not work well with the pizza at all, a welcome discovery was the Franziskaner, a Belgian beer that tastes as classic as it claims to be. This is a tavern beer, it's full bodied, has a uniquely nutty flavor that completely drowned the pizza's flavor and demanded attention all its own. Another beer that stands well on its own two feet but refused to share taste buds with the pizza was the Chambly Blanche. This one carried a distinctly fruity spice to it, and is the kind of complex flavor in a beer those who appreciate Stone beers would welcome.
The true discovery is in a Hawaiian beer that took me completely by surprise. Primo Lager, when coupled with the pizza's peppers makes for a wonderful dynamic of lager kick complementing the cheese and sauce while melding with the italian spices and seasonings to bring both beer and pizza to another level in your mouth as you enjoy the game on the large TV screens and plough through your personal pie.
A book could be written going down the extensive drink selection available at the Public House. Even without the lesser known imports, there are still plenty of familiar options- like Blue Moon, Heineken, Amstel Light, New Castle and Dos Equis- to make this bar more than worth your attention for a late lunch drink, or an early start to an evening.
For more info: The Public House 1739 N. Vermont Ave. 323.669.1739