E3 On A Budget: Food, Drinks And Chill Spots To Survive On
What’s Up, FanBros (and newcomers)? I could do the overdone “Let’s predict what’s going to happen at E3!” article that you’re all tired of reading. Or I could talk about the question that I am continually asked regarding the quality of life choices at the expo that don’t primarily consist of 45-minute hot dog lines that cost over $7. Or overpriced food trucks and restaurants that leave you disappointed and broke. or even just a place to be an introvert, sit, have a meal and then jump back into the fray(that isn’t a Subway or Chipotle with a line wrapped around the room).
With that in mind, I’ve built a list of the best deals and chill spots during and after the convention to save you a dollar or just have a fun drink in peace. The non-Yelp/Google spots you deserve after standing in line for 90 minutes to demo one game. Let’s get started:
CLOSE TO THE VENUE:
Price: $ (Happy Hour 3PM-6:30PM and All Day Tuesday)
Style: Mexican (Great For Large Parties)
If you’ve been told about the Hooters with the line around the block, I recommend going to my #1 pick on the OPPOSITE side of the block, El Cholo. The prices are low, the venue is well-hidden, the food is satisfying, and the location can house multiple big parties at once. Also, if the option is needed, they will happily deliver.
Price: $$ (FOR HAPPY HOUR 4PM – 6PM on Weekdays)
Style: Mexican (with good vegan options)
I can honestly only recommend this during the happy hours listed above. Otherwise, this reverts back to the usual tourist/LA Live prices that every other venue will press upon you. But, with $5 beers and tons of pretty cheap food — what would normally cost you $15 is offered for around $8.
Price: $$ (Happy Hour 2:40PM – 7:02PM; 2nd Happy Hour 9:42PM – 10:47PM)
Style: Trendy Bar, American Eats, Vegan Options, Live Band
Notice the weird Hapy Hour times. Yeah… That’s real. I don’t understand it either. But, the food and drinks here are amazing. It has an upscale look, but with a friendly crowd and staff. And the location is just hidden enough for you to relax for a full meal in peace. This is one of my favorite spots in L.A., and feels like a secret I won’t be able to keep for long.
Price: $$ (Happy Hour 5PM – 8PM)
Style: Sushi. Bar.
This is another one I can recommend during Happy Hour. But, to be honest, the quality is so amazing that it’s worth paying full-price. It’s walking distance and hidden so well, you won’t find it on Google. But, if you’re walking towards Prank Bar, you won’t miss it. And you shouldn’t.
Price: $$ (Happy Hour/Recess 3PM – 7PM [including weekends] and Late Night)
Style: American School Themed
Easy, quick meals with a funny theme like brown bags and PB & J burgers. It’s a bit further than the other venues by a walkable three or four blocks, but the drink specials are great and it’s a nice escape from the crowd.
SHORT $6 UBER RIDE (BUT, WORTH IT!):
For more options, take a short ride out to the Little Tokyo/Art District. They’re great if you have an hour to kill and you’re in that “I earned this” state of mind:
My favorite Ramen in the city. It may be a bit of a wait later in the day, but I couldn’t recommend it more. It has an exciting atmosphere with a vibrant staff, the noodles and broth are made to your design, and it’s fun if you like your meals more custom-tailored and kinetic.
Cheap, fast and hidden. Inside of the Little Tokyo plaza, ascend a few flights of stairs and you won’t be disappointed.
I may have picked on the expensive prices of hot dogs by the stadium, but have you ever had a Rattlesnake & Rabbit brat? Brought a friend who’s vegan? They’re covered too. It’s worth a visit for something kinda weird and fun in a cool neighborhood.
Style: Asian/American Fusion
This may be my favorite menu in the city. Whether you’re going for something light, heavy, healthy, vegan, greasy or just a good drink: This restaurant has the best of it all while sitting in my favorite location in Los Angeles.
I NEED A DRINK (and maybe a party):
If it’s after-hours, you’re still coming down from the show and you just aren’t digging the prices of the hotel bar, I can make a few suggestions:
Style: Whiskey Bar
Close to the Convention Center and a great place to chill. If you’ve been to E3 before, you most likely know this place from more than a few meetings. And to be honest, it’s only increased it’s SpeakEasy charm.
Yeah, it’s the obvious choice. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad one. A barcade with rotating DJs and food trucks. Always a poppin’ retro hang. It’s usually as crowded as–
Probably the most “Instagrammed” place in Downtown LA, so I won’t go too deep into it. It’s vibrant, fun, the drinks are good and it’s a dope place to meet people. Being one block away from EightyTwo helps it’s case as well.
Style: Karaoke, EDM/Hip-Hop Ramen Bar
NOW, we’re talking. A unique spot hidden in the Little Tokyo Mall. This is regularly one of my favorite locations for a weird, late-night party. Bring friends, order a drink, a whole meal and sing karaoke with a microphone while still sitting at the bar! The music is strange and the dancing is ridiculous. But, nobody cares. It’s the exact kinda place that should exist above a Gundam Model Kit shop.
Either way, IT’S E3! Enjoy yourself and if you’ve found some venues or parties you want to let us know about, feel free to let us know in the comments below or @FanBrosShow!